The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Danger! Forbidden romance! An outcast heroine! A mysterious hot guy!
Sound familiar? Yes, I know. It sounds like all the YA fantasy books out now. But wait, there's more.
A kick-ass heroine who doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself, but does something good (and that doesn't benefit her directly--wait, it's not possible!), and stands up for herself at least sometimes, is more worried about what's right than being a rebel, and is concerned about something other than snagging a supernatural hottie. Wait, you say, something's wrong with this picture.
Actually, something is refreshingly right with this picture. This book is NOT fantasy but historical fiction, but it has a lot of the same elements. However, the similarities stop there. Written in the 'old days,' when writers cared about writing good books and good stories and not just making a buck by copying everything else, this book is still one of my favorites. Of all time. I'd gladly take it over every YA fantasy out today bundled into a huge anthology of unoriginality. Yes, this one small book is worth more than all of those books put together.
The characters are actually developed beyond their feelings for each other. The family is more than filler between the love scenes. The guy has more going for him than the fact that he's hot. And most of all, the heroine is pretty much awesome. I don't remember her ever whining, although she has plenty of reason to. She definitely never stomps into her room, slams the door, and throws herself onto her bed in a grade-A temper tantrum (although she's tempted when they take away all her pretty clothes and make her dress like a Puritan). And she never treats her friends or family like they aren't worth speaking to, even when they are awful to her. Which, incidentally, is a good thing, because if she really had been awful to them, she probably wouldn't have been saved.
I don't speak for anyone but myself here, but I'm so ready for a change in the direction YA literature is going. Please bring back books with substance. This is my plea. I don't know how many more Twilight rip-offs I can handle.
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