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#BookReview: Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman

Grayling's SongGrayling’s Song by Karen Cushman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Coming June 2016!

middle grade fantasy

Grayling’s mother is a local wise woman that folks come to for ailments and problems. One day a mysterious magic roots her mother, and all of the other wise folk, to the ground, slowly turning them into a tree. And her grimorie, her book of spells and potions, has been taken. She sends Grayling to find it. But Grayling has no skills, powers, or real knowledge of her own. Or does she? She meets up with a band of powerful folk who haven’t been changed yet and they figure out how to save her mother, and all of the other wise folk. Grayling learns that perhaps she has some power after all… the most important of which is courage.

Though I wasn’t immediately grabbed by this one like some of her other titles, Cushman has done it again. It had a slow start and had some used themes, but in the end I really loved Grayling’s Song. This title set in an alternative medieval England, I always feel confident that the historical aspects of Cushman’s books are grounded in research . The mother-daughter relationship can be a difficult one and this does a great job of exploring it. Though Grayling doesn’t have a lot of confidence because her mother has called her feeble minded for many years, she ends up shining under pressure but not without much self-reflection and frustration. I also appreciate that, in the end, her mother treats her success as a matter of fact, saying that she knew we could handle herself, else why would she have sent her?

I think many mothers and daughters will be able to relate to this relationship. I would love to see this as part of a middle-grade Mother-Daughter book club reading. I think much discussion and personal growth would come from it.

Thanks to Edelweiss for this advanced readers copy!

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