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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Title: Another Faust
Author: Daniel and Dina Nayeri
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763637071

"On a single night, five children suddenly vanish from their homes in Paris, Glasgow, Rome, and London. Years later, five enigmatic teenagers make an impressive entrance at an exclusive New York holiday party with their strange but beautiful governess, Madame Vileroy. Rumor and intrigue follow the Faust children to the elite Manhattan Marlowe School, where their very presence brings unexplainable misfortune.

Using "gifts" given to them by Madame Vileroy, these mysterious teenagers rise to suspicious heights at Marlowe. Though at first their abilities seem almost childlike in their simplicity, they soon learn that their newfound talents for cheating, stealing, hiding, and lying are far more potent than they had ever imagined - and far more addictive.

Ignoring the side effects of pursuing their individual obsessions, bargaining with the very devil in their midst as they claw their way to the top, these five ambitious teens draw ever nearer to their goals... until two of them uncover a secret even more shocking than their own most unforgivable sins. Dialing up the ancient dilemma of indulgence versus redemption, this modern day retelling of the Faustian bargain story, set in a twenty-first-century Manhattan, provides a look into the cutthroat world of high school competition that is both bitingly funny and scorchingly wicked."

I really didn't know anything about this book when I checked it out - I tend to do that sometimes... base my decisions on book covers, first few words of the summary, or even just because it's new. It's a horrible way to be, but alas. Once I got into the story, my interest was really piqued.

While I was reading along, I couldn't help but think about how choppy things were. I felt like I was piecing the story together as I went - only getting a little clue here and there as to who people were, what they were, what they knew, and how they got where they are. It was just a really confusing beginning for me, and it took a while to get the pieces to fit together.

But in retrospect, this was a very interesting book. I had not really remembered the Faust story when I started this book - but it made me go back and look it up to get a sense of where this story may end up. The concept of retold stories (that aren't fairy tales) is very interesting to me. I've read plenty that were fairy tales retold, but the idea of making a story modern and complete in this age is a very original idea. I just wish it had been more clear throughout the book.

I would recommend this book to the older YA reader - just because the Faust story probably hasn't been studied in school before that. The whole concept of that might slip through the fingers of someone younger - not that they wouldn't enjoy the story... just not get the full impact.

But I probably will recommend this book around to those looking for more literary fiction. It's an interesting read and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters (even though the ending didn't feel like much of an ending).

The Authors' Website
Other Blog Reviews:

Pop Culture Junkie
Karin's Book Nook
The Story Siren
Book Chic
The Epic Rat
Reverie Book Reviews

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