So much to say and so little space to say it! I just realized how much I had going on at the original "From the Cheap Seats" and decided to start a little cousin blog. This blog will focus on book reviews and writings of a more creative nature.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Random House
404 Pages
Available at Amazon

"I feel the weight of her in me the weight of knowing I've no option of escaping her."

Imagine being secluded from the everyday world. Imagine being schooled in the medicinal qualities of plants and the lore of ancient languages. Imagine believing you are the product of a virgin birth. Imagine having a mother whose secrets cast a shadow on your life, on who you are. This is the world of the novel's protagonist Aslaug Hellig, a sixteen-year-old girl confined to a life of limits, seclusion, and secrets.

In her debut novel, Christina Meldrum introduces young Aslaug as she is about to be torn from the only existence she has ever known. After the mysterious death of her mother, Aslaug is forced to face a world she has never known; the world her mother kept at a distance. Staying with family she had never before met, Aslaug hopes to answer the questions about her life that have always gone unanswered. However, the mystery surrounding her life only deepens. Aslaug's story takes a dramatic turn as we find that she has been thrust into the harsh realities of the judicial system as she stands trial for murder.

Meldrum interweaves science, religion, and mysticism as she tells a tale of intrigue that encourages readers to examine their own identity in light of the world around them. Meldrum draws in readers with a compelling mystery by juxtaposing Aslaug's journey with trial transcripts.

Language and tone are powerful tools that Meldrum uses to shape Aslaug's story. With an almost timeless element, the poetic language Meldrum uses works to reveal the limited nature of Aslaug's experiences. The tone is almost otherworldly, not unlike the life that Aslaug herself lives.

Being a former high school English teacher, I have read countless young adults novels. I do believe that Madapple bridges the gap between YA lit and traditional literature in that it very well will appeal to a wider audience. However, I do find that the mystical aura that surrounds Madapple may limit its YA audience. This may very well work to Meldrum's advantage in that the audience this novel will appeal to tends to be fiercely loyal to the genre. I look forward to whatever tale Meldrum decides to spin for us next.

This book review has been brought to you by Blog Stop Book Tours.

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