Among Others, Jo Walton, TOR Books, 2010, 302 pp
Don't you love it when you unabashedly love a book? During a somewhat uninspiring reading spell, I picked up Among Others out of my TBR pile and read it in two sittings. This is probably mostly a book for females who like sci fi and fantasy. It has some usual tropes with added magic: boarding school, bad if not evil mother, first romance, twins, overcoming evil and fairies. The added magic for me were the first person voice of Mori (fourteen-year-old protagonist), a clear-eyed creation of the fairy characters, and an embedded reading list of science fiction and fantasy great books.
The setting is Wales. I must travel to Wales someday. Mori's twin has recently died in a horrific accident that left Mori crippled and unable to walk without a cane. She has run away from home but landed with the father she never knew, thanks to social services. Dad places her in a boarding school and everyone knows that is equivalent to hell for a young person who is already far from the norm.
The full story of Mori's mom, the reason for the accident, all the back story details are revealed slowly. In fact, the tantalizing slowness is the most delicious thing. Almost as delicious is everything else.
Mori resorts to reading since she is blessedly spared sports at school. She often reads two books a day. Her allies are the school librarian, the local librarians in town, the science fiction reading group she joins, and finally the ultra-cool Wim, local sixteen-year-old heartthrob with a sexual reputation.
I read a couple reviews (by male sci fi/fantasy bloggers) who claimed that "nothing really happens" in the novel. That has got to be a guy thing. Mor solves a huge family mystery, finds out her true powers and purpose in life, overpowers evil, and falls in love for the first time.
If this sounds good, just read it!
(Among Others is available in paperback on the shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)