by Delia Sherman
Review by Gayle Surrette
Viking Juvenile Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0670059676
Date: 17 August, 2006 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
I've always wondered about changelings and their families. I remember reading about it as a child and wondering if the parents would notice and come search for their child or whether the child would find a way to get back to their parents. Well, Neef's happy where she is, even though the rules are different she's got the same problems any young girl approaching adolescents would have. Neef knows that a child was left to take her place but she's not very curious about her replacement.
But when Neef breaks the rules and attends the Solstice Dance, she learns that child or adult, breaking the rules can cost you your life. At this point Neef has to keep on her nimble mind on the prize. She's got her very own quest to complete, someone to protect, and along the way she learns the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice.
There are layers here as there are to most books that stay with you. There's the simple story, an adventure. And then there's how the adventure is lived. Most often our metal is tested under pressure -- it's what we do when our lives could be lost that shows our true selves. Neef, throughout her quest, is given easy outs but she makes her decisions based would allow her to keep her promises. There are no easy answers for Neef but she shines as she learns to trust those who are different and to be true to herself no matter what the cost. The fact that so much is packed into a ripping good quest story is icing on the cake.
This is a story to be read and enjoyed many times.