Amber & Clay

Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Julia Iredale. Candlewick, $22.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0122-2
In a lyrical verse novel packed with ancient myths and well-defined characters, Schlitz (The Hired Girl) takes readers to ancient Greece to tell the saga of two children, virtual strangers, who form a bond extending beyond life. Wild and rebellious Melisto, “a rich man’s daughter, and a proper Greek,” is adored by her father but unloved by her mother. Enslaved, red-haired Rhaskos, who was separated from his mother at a young age, weathers torment until he is sold to Phaistus, a formerly enslaved potter who recognizes Rhaskos’ talent for drawing but apprentices him without hope of freedom. Both children are desperate to escape their predicaments, but how and when they cross paths remains a mystery until the final chapters. Featuring insightful narratives from philosopher Sokrates and several Greek gods (Artemis, Athena, Hephaistos, Hermes) as well as illustrations of archeological items by Iredale (Myths and Legends of the World), the book is as meticulously researched as Schlitz’s previous novels, as evidenced in detailed descriptions of settings and lifestyles. Her exploration of the human condition (“Nobody ever gets out of anything”) delves into both characters’ psyches through a pensive, contemporary-feeling narrative that easily propels readers along. Ages 10–14. Author’s agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator’s agent: Alexandra Gehringer, the Bright Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/28/2021
Release date: 03/09/2021
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 600 pages - 978-1-4328-8827-5
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