cover image The Storyteller

The Storyteller

Antonia Michaelis, trans. from the German by Miriam Debbage. Abrams/Amulet, $18.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0047-7

In the dreary winter of an East German town, a small girl is in danger and a teenage girl is in love. Seventeen-year-old Anna Leemann is a "little lamb," a good girl, teased by her friends for being distanced from reality, who longs to break through her "soap bubble." Something in the cold blue eyes of the schoolyard drug dealer, Abel Tannatek, slices through that bubble and draws Anna in. Abel wants nothing to do with her; his smiles are reserved for his six-year-old sister, Micha, whose mother has disappeared and whose nefarious father is known to be lurking. Kind and gentle Anna uncharacteristically stalks them, refusing to take no for an answer, enthralled by the whimsical yet dark fairy tale she overhears Abel telling Micha. Anna succeeds in forcing her way into their lives, her innocence blinding her to the truths in Abel's shadowed narrative until it's too late. Michaelis's prose gets a top-notch translation, its dreamy, introspective quality shining through in a story about difficult love that will appeal most to readers who, like Anna, are on the brink of adulthood. Ages 16%E2%80%93up. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg Associates. (Jan.)