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Splendors and Glooms

CRITICS HAVE SAID

  • Newbery Medalist Schlitz delivers many pleasures–fully dimensional children, period details so ripe one can nearly smell them, and droll humor that leavens a few scenes of true horror. A highly original tale about children caught in a harrowing world of magic and misdeeds.
    Publisher
  • A brooding Dickensian novel with a touch of fantasy and a glimmer of hope. . . Vividly portrayed and complex, the characters are well defined individuals whose separate strands of story are colorful and compelling. Schlitz weaves them into an intricate tapestry that is as mysterious and timeless as a fairy tale.
    Booklist
  • Two orphans, a witch and a girl who laughs at death: Each shares the lens of protagonist in Newbery-winner Schlitz’s fully satisfying gothic novel…Schlitz’s prose is perfect in every stitch, and readers will savor each word.
    Kirkus Reviews
  • Victorian London could be a magical place: horse-drawn carriages, puppet shows, elaborate upper-class houses. Of course it could also be miserable: fog, filthy streets, shabby hovels where too many people live in too few rooms. Schlitz conjures both the magic and the mundane here. . . .Schlitz uses such evocative language that readers will practically smell dirty London and then be relieved by the crisp, cold air in the countryside around the witch’s crumbling mansion. The characters are recognizable tropes: the witch is rotting from the inside out; the orphans may be dirty and ill-bred, but they have spirit and pluck; the little rich girl is actually sad and lonely; the skinny puppeteer and the overly dramatic landlady are recognizably Dickensian. Yet, they are so well drawn that they are never caricatures, but people whom readers will cheer for, be terrified of, or grow to like. The plot is rich with supernatural and incredibly suspenseful elements. Fans of mystery, magic, and historical fiction will all relish this novel.
    School Library Journal

IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:

Applegate, Katherine. The One and Only Ivan. HarperCollins, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0061992254.

Oliver, Lauren. The Spindlers. HarperCollins, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0061978081.

Stead, Rebecca. Liar and Spy. Wendy Lamb Book, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0385737432