By: Eric Carle
If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?
Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.
Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.
Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. (Ages 14 and up)
Chosen by a Horse
By: Susan Richards
This is a heartbreaking and heartwarming memior about finding yourself and learning how to be open to love again. When some neglected horses need new homes, Richards answers the call. When the horse she picks won't load in the trailer, Richards takes the one who will, and so she ends up bringing Lay Me Down into her life. By telling the stories of Lay Me Down, and her other three horses, Richards lets the reader into her life and her journey to find herself again. This book is honest and humourous and it will leave you with tears in her eyes before it's over. Anyone who owns horses, or anyone who has a pet for a family member, will appreciate the relationships Richards has forged with her family, both 2 and 4 legged. This is an excellent read, that really shouldn't be passed by. Richards has also written a follow up book, Chosen Forever, which promises to relay even more stories of the lessons Lay Me Down taught.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
By: Sherman Alexie