The Reader

Traci Chee. Putnam, $18.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-399-17677-7
After 15-year-old orphan Sefia is separated from her aunt, she sets out on a rescue mission. Determined to learn the truth about her past and the rectangular object she’s spent her life hiding, Sefia eventually discovers that the item—bound paper covered in symbols—is a book. Books, reading, and writing are unheard of in the land of Kelanna, but Sefia is certain that this book holds the answers she seeks. She is joined in her quest by a mute, nameless boy, whom she rescues from a life of forced cage fighting. The book Sefia carries, which initially seems to be filled with stories and myths, becomes increasingly mysterious when she learns that the people and accounts detailed within are true. Chee’s debut is an intricate, multilayered reading experience, but the author avoids leading readers along too transparently, trusting them to puzzle together the pieces surrounding the mystery of Sefia’s past. An exploration of self-determination and the magic of the written word, Sefia’s story is an absorbing introduction to the Sea of Ink and Gold series. Ages 12–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/13/2016
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-752571-0
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-14-751805-7
Prebound-Glued - 464 pages - 978-0-606-40001-5
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