A Face Like Glass
A Face Like Glass

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Annotation: When Neverfell, who has no memory, arrives in Caverna, her facial expressions make her very dangerous to the people who live with blank faces or pay dearly to learn to simulate emotions.
Catalog Number: #161550
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 487 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-72484-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1379-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-72484-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1379-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016037692
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Caverna, an underground city, thrives through production of magical consciousness-influencing luxuries--mind-altering cheeses, wines that erase memories--perhaps making up for the inhabitants' shared disability: they're incapable of making facial expressions naturally. Into Caverna's artificial court lands apprentice cheese-maker Neverfell, whose unique facial mobility and transparent feelings are so dangerous she must wear a mask. Hardinge's imagination here is--as ever--ebullient, lavish, and original.
Kirkus Reviews
A new-old book from Hardinge (published in the U.K. in 2012 but only now arriving stateside) balanci
Publishers Weekly
An amnesiac girl named Neverfell is thrust into court politics she can-t begin to understand in this complex, claustrophobic, and deeply compelling novel, originally published in the U.K. in 2012. The citizens of the mazelike underground city of Caverna have turned the production of food and other goods into decadent art, with -wines that rewrote the subtle book of memory, cheeses that brought visions... perfumes that ensnared the mind, and balms that slowed ageing to a crawl.- Additionally, no one born in Caverna has the ability to show natural facial expressions, so Facesmiths teach citizens artificial ones with names like -In Contemplation of Verdigris- or -An Ode to Peppermint.- Neverfell-s face, however, reveals true, unguarded emotion-something terrifyingly alien in Caverna. Hardinge (The Lie Tree) has created a world of great affectation and pretense, as well as visceral danger; poisonings and blithely ordered executions are persistent threats. Hardinge-s characteristically lush and sophisticated language will entrance readers, and she makes wonderful use of her singular setting and wildly eccentric cast to pose haunting questions about reality, artifice, and the things we attempt to conceal. Ages 14-up. (May)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5 Up&12;Neverfell didn't mean to cause a stir when she left Cheesemaster Grandible's tunnels for the first time, nor could she have known that she would become a darling of the court, the target of assassins, a captive of the Kleptomancer, a pawn of the powerbrokers, or a leader of an uprising. She is just a girl trying to figure out who she is and where she came from. Neverfell is an outsider with no memories of her past, living in the underground city of Caverna, which includes an extensive labyrinth of tunnels and is overseen by a decadent and rotting 500-year-old Grand Steward and an equally corrupt and conniving group of ruling families who make up his court. They are led by master craftsmen who supply the upper crust and the outside world with exotic, expensive, and sometimes explosive delicacies. Why would anyone look twice at a young, guileless cheese-maker's apprentice? In a world where nothing is taken at face value and everything is for sale, including facial expressions that various courtiers pay top dollar to acquire, Neverfell's dynamic and always shifting gaze stops people in their tracks and makes her more than an oddity but rather a force to be reckoned with. Hardinge is at the top of her game with this entrancing and action-packed adventure. Her voluptuous prose is full of sensory details and wildly imaginative descriptions, yet the world-building is controlled and gradually revealed. Readers will learn about this caustic and claustrophobic society right along with the protagonist and be highly invested in her struggle. VERDICT A compelling and triumphant follow-up to The Lie Tree for those who love to become immersed in a good story.&12;Luann Toth, School Library Journal
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A new-old book from Hardinge (published in the U.K. in 2012 but only now arriving stateside) balancing wit and wonder with a dose of big thoughts. In an underground world where wines control memories and perfumes ensnare minds, babies don't smile. Expressions are taught; for drudges, only a few Faces, none angry; for members of the Court, hundreds, designed to convey nuanced emotions and hide the truth, taught by celebrated Facesmiths. But 12-year-old Neverfell, white, freckled, red-haired, and taller than almost everyone, is different: her titular face shows her every emotion, uncontrollably, meaning she alone cannot lie. When she runs away from Cheesemaster Grandible, she becomes the pawn of various schemers among the Court and eventually the face of a revolution. Hardinge excels at wordplay and worldbuilding; witty but not trite, her utterly original setting and chaotic, fidgety protagonist anchor a cracking good story that raises important ideas surrounding the nature of friendship, the value of honesty, and the danger of too much, whether luxury, ambition, power, or desire. Each character, however minor, however exaggerated and absurd, leaps fully realized from the page (witness the Kleptomancer, whose thievery is part of a plan he has hidden even from himself). Madcap, mysterious, magical, and meaty: like Grandible's cheeses, this may cause visions—or just make your head explode (with delight). Don't miss it. (Fantasy. 10-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Published in Britain in 2012, this makes its American debut on the heels of Hardinge's acclaimed The Lie Tree (2016). Eschewing the horror-tinged darkness of the latter, this story embraces fantasy, whimsical detail, political intrigue of epic proportions, and cheese s, cheese. Twelve-year-old Neverfell has been the apprentice of Cheesemaster Grandible since he found her hiding in his tunnels seven years ago. Paranoid from his years at court, he's sealed their home off from the rest of Caverna, the underground city where they dwell. When Neverfell stumbles upon a passage out of her master's tunnels, she's plunged into a mad world where facial expressions are crafted and sold, and families are locked in a high-stakes game of politics and power, constantly scheming to gain the upper hand, whether through deceit or assassination. Neverfell, whose face shows her every emotion, is immediately marked as an outsider and swept into the deadly machinations of Caverna's elite. Though wide-eyed, she's a fast learner who refuses to be their pawn; and as Neverfell devises her escape, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her past and Caverna itself. Using beautiful prose, Hardinge builds a richly imagined world that twists as much as the carefully orchestrated plot. Readers will eagerly follow noble Neverfell through its tunnels, marveling at the extraordinary sights and catching their breath at her daring escapades.
Voice of Youth Advocates
People in the underground city of Caverna are born without the ability to express emotions with their faces, except for Neverfell, a sheltered orphan who has a face that shows all of her thoughts and feelings. She escapes the confines of being raised by a skilled craftsman in one of the city’s secluded tunnels and ventures into Caverna proper, where mishaps force her into relationships with both the Grand Steward and his wealthy courtiers, including a Facesmith who creates expressions for those who serve the Grand Steward. She also encounters the most famous criminal, the Kleptomancer, and befriends the Drudges who keep the city running. Neverfell’s own guilelessness and trusting nature set in motion a variety of schemes that include treason, betrayal, and ultimately, a revolution to overthrow the power structure of the society.
Word Count: 139,656
Reading Level: 6.6
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.6 / points: 23.0 / quiz: 188896 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:31.0 / quiz:Q70749
Lexile: 920L

In the underground city of Caverna, the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare--wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear--at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell's expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .


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