Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Lonely teen Elizabeth is feeling lost and out of sorts at a new school, and with a new step-family to contend with. When her essay on fairy tale history catches the eye of one of her teachers, he recommends that she apply for work at the New York Circulating Materials Repository, where she becomes a page, fetching items of historic value for patrons to check out.

But soon she becomes curious about some of the special collections, especially The Grimm Collection (and who wouldn't be intrigued, with a name like that?). When items start to go missing, she and her fellow pages start sleuthing.

I have to admit, the archivist in me was intrigued by this book from the first time I heard of it, and it didn't disappoint. I don't think the cataloging details would bog down a lay-reader, but I certainly enjoyed them so it's hard to say. The book is funny and quick, and I really enjoyed the way the character fell into and out of suspicion from Elizabeth's point of view.

Although this is not an adaptation, the magical references are plentiful and enjoyable. And oh my goodness, how I'd love to work there!

My one quibble was perhaps my own misunderstanding of Elizabeth's age. At first in the story she comes across as perhaps middle school, and then later she definitely seemed more like she was in her mid-teens, all within the course of a single year at school. Which is incidental, really.

I think there's some open-endedness, perhaps in preparation for a sequel and if Ms. Shulman produces one, I certainly enjoyed the first one enough to check out the second.

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