cover image Spindlefish and Stars

Spindlefish and Stars

Christiane M. Andrews. Little, Brown, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-49601-8

Drawing from Greek mythology, Andrews constructs a leisurely, lyrical debut exploring the nature of destiny and sacrifice. After her father, an art restorer and sometimes thief, is detained, young Clothilde, “wall-jumper, turnip-grower, corner-skulker,” takes his last gifts to her—his precious leather notebook, a stolen painting, a wheel of foul-smelling cheese—and follows his instructions. She arrives first at a mysterious ship on which he has booked her “half passage,” and then to an isolated gray island where an old woman, who addresses Clo as “rethguaddnarg,” takes her in. Fearful about her father’s fate, Clo refuses to settle in on the inscrutable island, with its perpetually gray sky and its inhabitants’ obsession with small silvery fish. Soon Clo learns that she’s expected to spin these fish into threads, which in turn become part of a magical tapestry that leads her to understand her family’s star-crossed history en route to rewriting her own destiny. Her only ally on the island is Cary, a boy her own age who came to the island after his own tragic experience. Though the narrative voice can occasionally seem distant, the timelessness it grants makes this enchanting story feel like an all-new myth built from classic material. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)