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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

The Thorn and the Blossom

This creative little book will make your teens stop and take notice. The publisher puts it best, “You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.” Except that I would say it is more of a short story or novella – at a little over 40 pages per “account” that is more accurate. Still, it is a satisfying story, and I liked both the characters and the setting. Cornwall by the sea – what’s not to like?

This video on Amazon does a good job of showing what the book looks like – it’s difficult to describe in words, easy to see in pictures. Fortunately, it comes in an attractive slipcover, which makes it library-friendly for shelving and labeling.

This is not, however, a book to read one-handed, a fact I learned while standing in a subway car suddenly watching the entire book unfurl to the floor. Oh yes, another wonderful New York City subway moment!

GOSS, Theodora. The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story. illus. by Scott McKowen. 82p. illus. Quirk. 2012. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59474-551-5. LC 2011933427.  The Thorn and the Blossom e1326563105972 The Thorn and the Blossom

Adult/High School–Evelyn and Brendan’s story is told twice, once from each perspective, in this intriguing production. After a semester abroad at Oxford, American Evelyn Morgan takes a vacation in the Cornwall fishing village of Clews. Brendan Thorne is a local, minding his father’s bookstore when she stops in. They hit it off immediately, and Brendan is inspired to show Evelyn the town’s one attraction, a circle of standing stones. “The Tale of the Green Knight,” a local legend, has it that Elowen, queen of Cornwall, came to King Arthur’s court looking for help against a group of giants led by an evil sorceress, Morva. Gawan volunteered. The circle marks the spot where Elowen and Gawan defeated the giants, but Morva, jealous of their love, cursed them to be separated for 1000 years. In the present, Evelyn has a history of seeing imaginary things, like fairies and trolls. Medication has always helped make them go away–until she kisses Brendan, has a vision, and flees without a word. More than 10 years later, they meet again, both medieval specialists whose writings are based on “The Tale of the Green Knight.” Their fates are clearly intertwined with this legend. Could they be the most recent incarnation of the cursed lovers? This simply told short story is enhanced by the physical design of the book–accordion style pages with hardbound covers. One cover is titled “Evelyn’s Story,” and the other is “Brendan’s Story.” Teens who enjoy a romantic tale will be enchanted by the clever packaging and the fanciful, touching story of young people thwarted in love.–Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

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Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.

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