Friday, November 20, 2015

Blythewood - Carol Goodman

Blythewood, the first in a series by Carol Goodman, is a Young Adult fantasy novel that everyone will want to pick up and read, stat!  The book takes places at Blythewood Academy, a school for young ladies located in New York's Hudson Valley.  The main character, Avaline Hall, was raised by a single mother and never knew her father.  When Ava's mother dies from a laudanum overdose, Ava is forced to seek employment at Triangle Factory sewing clothes.  Whilst there, she starts seeing a man around town who is familiar to her.  (I'll just leave it at that.)  One day, after seeing him, there is an urgent situation that arises at the factory, and Ava barely gets out alive.  She is rescued by a friend of her grandmothers, and gets accepted to Blythewood academy, where she learns a number of mysterious and magical things. 

I don't want to give away too many things from this novel, so I'll keep the synopsis to what's above, and dive right into what I thought about the book.  I heard about this book a couple weeks ago when I was reading Survive the Night as part of the Penguin Wicked Reads Campaign.  I was curious about the other books that were part of the campaign, and when I stumbled across this one, I knew I had to read it right away.  I checked it out from the library, and from the very first page, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.  The descriptions of places, the people, the clothes they wear - all wonderful!  There is no lack of wondering how things in the book look - but have no fear: the author still leaves plenty to the readers imagination. 

The characters in the book are all very well done, and each of them stands out with their own distinct personality and flavor.  Never once did I find myself thinking the characters sounded too much alike.  When confronted with adversity or a nasty spirited person, it was great to see how Ava and her friends stood up for each other and defended their friends and fellow students. 

Their is a little love interest in the story, but unlike in some novels, it was not overwhelming, nor was it the primary focus of the novel.  That was nice, as I feel that some books let the love interest control the story. 

Overall, this is a solid 5 star read that people of any age are sure to enjoy!

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