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Newbery or Not: A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

Book Blurb: “Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.”

Pub Stub: Philomel, ISBN-10 0399255176, February 2013

Author Tidbits: Graff, Lisa. Former Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers associate editor. Writes YA under pseudonym Isla Neal.

Newbery or Not: Although reminiscent of Ingrid Law’s Savvy for its system of magic and Everything on a Waffle for its inclusion of cake recipes, this tangle of knots ties up far too conveniently in the end and leaves a few characters less fleshed out than one might like. As a fun, sweet adventure, it works, and as a mystery, it will work on readers who haven’t been around the block enough to see the twists coming. Gently magical, it makes a great recommendation but doesn’t quite bring the gravitas you expect in a winner.

Weigh in: What’s your favorite cake?

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