Cuckoo Song
Cuckoo Song
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Annotation: In post-World War I England, eleven-year-old Triss nearly drowns in a millpond known as "The Grimmer" and emerges with memory gaps, aware that something is terribly wrong, and to try to set things right, she must meet a twisted architect who has designs on her family.
Catalog Number: #97392
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition Date: 2015
Pages: 408 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-419-71480-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-419-71480-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2014045264
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5 Up Ever since her older brother died in World War I, things have been tense for Triss and her family. After Triss suffers a horrible accident, her memory is hindered and all of a sudden she feels a strange, insatiable hunger that can only be calmed by digesting unusual items. From here, events proceed in an unexpected way as magical promises are made, relationships are tested, and characters question what it means to be alive. Mysterious letters and dangerous strangers create a mood of suspicion and paranoia as pieces of the story fall into place at just the right moment. Many secondary characters make understandable but regrettable mistakes throughout, cementing themselves as realistic and complex individuals. The beautiful writing is full of rich language that is reminiscent of an old fairy tale. Fans of Hardinge will not be disappointed in this latest spine-chilling, creative work that offers a nuanced depiction of grief within the structure of a well-wrought fantasy. Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Few authors can evoke a twinned sense of terror and wonder better than Hardinge. After a perilous dunk in the river Grimmer that she can't recall, Triss is unsettled by the strangeness of familiar spaces and people. Triss remembers her life, but it doesn't feel quite . . . hers. Her room and possessions are like a dream. Her protective parents, who never fully recovered from her brother's death in WWI, seem fearful, while her adversarial younger sister, Pen, is blatantly hostile. Add to that a gnawing hunger only satiated by ingesting, impossibly, her most treasured objects, and Triss worries she's lost her mind. In her efforts to learn the truth, Triss uncovers a magical community of Besiders led by a malevolent figure called the Architect, and it's here that she learns of the hidden deals that have given her family wealth and success but prolonged their grief. In addition to her beautiful, enrapturing, and careful use of language, Hardinge's story is vivid, frightening, and inventive, with narrative twists and turns that feel both surprising and inevitable. Hardinge uses her characters to explore the destabilizing effect of war, both on a societal and personal level, but the novel's heart is the grippingly sympathetic Triss, prickly Pen, and their shared journey to save their family. A piercing, chilling page-turner.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Twelve-year-old Triss wakes up not recalling the last few hours. Her parents tell her that she fell in the river and that she is recovering well. Her younger sister, Pen, immediately turns hostile upon seeing her, however, and this level of hostility shocks Triss. Since the death of their older brother, Sebastian, during the First World War, her architect father and her stay-at-home mother have been distant. Now, Triss feels different, as if she were someone else. As she begins to discover clues about Pen's anger towards her and her ravenous hunger, Triss becomes enmeshed in the revenge plans of a mysterious man known as the Architect, who wishes nothing but their destruction. Running on borrowed time with the help of Violet, Sebastian's fiancee, and Pen, Triss must stop the Architect's grand vision from coming true before it is too late.Based in early 1920s England, this family has suffered a tragedy and is unable to cope with it. Every character is fleshed out and their motivations are clear, all except for Triss who, appropriately for the story, remains a work in progress as she discovers who, or what, she really is. Hardinge slowly and craftily builds a horrific yet spellbinding narrative that culminates in an unforgettable confrontation. There are only gradations between good and evil in this book, and each character performs acts they later regret. Triss and her family cannot escape the fact that their fate is intertwined. Fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Marina: A Gothic Tale (Little, Brown, 2014/VOYA August 2014) and those who like horror served with a side of hopeful frightfulness will thoroughly enjoy this book.Etienne Vallee.Cuckoo Song not only tempts reader forward with its creepy and unnatural twists, but also drags readers right into Triss's crazed mind, keeping them present with incredible detail. Triss stays as up-to-date with the mystery as readers do, for surprises are at every turn of the page. Readers will find themselves buried in the pages of this book, caught up in the puzzle that endangers a little girl's identity. 4Q, 3P.Emily Ulm, Teen Reviewer.This story continuously eggs the reader on with eerie tricks and surprises as Triss's crazy adventure of discovering who she really is unfurls. Cuckoo Song is enticing and heart-stopping with all of its unexpected and amazing moments. Readers will find that they are unable to voluntarily stop reading for even a second. 4Q, 3P.Brittney Delaney, Teen Reviewer.
Word Count: 116,890
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.0 / points: 19.0 / quiz: 176919 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.6 / points:27.0 / quiz:Q71747
Lexile: 860L

Read this thought-provoking, critically acclaimed novel from Frances Hardinge, winner of the Costa Book of the Year and Costa Children's Book Awards for The Lie Tree . When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry, her sister seems scared of her, and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest to find the truth she must travel into the terrifying underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family--before it's too late . . . Set in England after World War I, this is a brilliantly creepy but ultimately loving story of the relationship between two sisters who have to band together against a world where nothing is as it seems.

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