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review 2017-01-29 05:18
A Gothic Tour
The Poe Estate - Polly Shulman

This is an homage to Gothic fiction lovers aimed at younger readers. I loved that about this book. It's metafiction that takes it even deeper. There is story within a story within a story. I read The Wells Bequest first, which is the science fiction volume of this series. I liked it, but I liked this more because I love Gothic/Classic horror. It's apparent that Shulman does as well. I made a note of all the books she alluded to. Many I had read, but I got ideas for others to look up and read.

The overall concept was well done, and some elements were quite serious for a MG level book. This book deals with death in a very matter-of-fact way. Suki's sister died and her ghost is her protector. Except Kitty is getting to be problematic in her protectiveness, leading to Suki's reputation as being weird, and Suki needs to let her go. Her parents have to move in with a great, great-aunt into a house that is part of her family's strange and tragic history. As Suki gets drawn into an adventure related to her ancestor's tie to the house and interacts with employees from the New York Circulating Repository, she learns that it's important to accept her sister's death and try to move on.

I couldn't give this book higher than 3.5 stars because it is written in too lightweight a fashion. Some serious topics are put out there and there are deeper levels that don't get delved into with this book. I feel that there was a longer book inside of this one that didn't get written. I understand that some things had to be pared down due to format, but I would have liked to see that other book that this book shows potential for turned out. On the good side, I love how multicultural it is, and the fact that all families aren't the same, and that hardworking people experience financial difficulties and lose their homes and jobs. Not because they are lazy, but because of things outside their control. Suki is a strong young girl to go through all of this and keep on going. I had mad respect for her and her family. I cried about her sister and some of the tragic events from her family's past.

I love the metafiction concept. I could read about that for days. I could have spent hours more delving into this interest world that Shulman created. I wish I had 100 more pages of this gem. I will always be a cheerleader for middle grade fiction. While I was somewhat disappointed with this book, I would still recommend it to readers who love classic and Gothic horror.

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review 2016-08-20 07:01
Spooky but not Scary: The Poe Estate | Review
The Poe Estate - Polly Shulman,Jorjeana Marie

An MG Contemporary Fantasy that wasn't too much for this non-horror fan.

 

Sukie's been lonely since the death of her big sister, Kitty - but Kitty's ghost is still with her. At first that was comforting, but now Kitty's terrifying anyone who gets too close. Things get even weirder when Sukie moves into her family's ancestral home, and an older, less familiar ghost challenges her to find a treasure. Her classmate, Cole, is also experiencing apparitions. Fortunately an antique broom's at hand to fly Sukie and Cole to the New York Circulating Material Repository's spooky Poe Annex. As they search for clues and untangle ancient secrets, they discover their histories intertwine and are as full of stories of love, revenge, and pirate hijinks as some of the most famous fiction.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Poe Estate by Polly Shulman, read by Jorjeana Marie, published by Listening Library (2015) / Length: 6 hrs 46 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is book #3 in the "The Grimm Legacy" trilogy (also known as "The Repository" series). The books can be read as standalones, but some characters do carry over. The author is not currently planning to write any additional books in this series.

 

SUMMARY:

I almost didn't read this book, which would have been a shame. I hadn't liked the previous book in this series and am decidedly not a horror fan; but I did like the first one, and was able to get this one from the library, so I gave it a chance. Turns out that it's my favorite one of the three.

 

While there are some spooky parts, and they learn about the murder of  a young child in the past, the book didn't strike me as scary at all (and I'm a wimp).

 

Aside from the story itself, I love the whole cast of characters. We get some from the first book and some great new ones.

 

 

CHARACTERS:

Sukie: A seemingly typical bookish middle schooler, openly set apart by her grief at the death of her sister and further isolated by the felt, but not understood, presence of the sister's ghost watching over her.

 

Her family has had to move in with an elderly cousin due to financial difficulties after her sister's long illness and a downturn in the economy. She understands that her parents are doing their best, but still just wants to go home. Her family is close, and although her parents don't know about the ghosts and other strange stuff, the cousin does and is a great support for Sukie & Cole.

 

Cole: In the past, he teased Elizabeth; but now he's being helpful. Too bad, Kitty's not big on forgiveness.

 

Elizabeth (the main character from Book #1) is now all grown up and working at The Repository full time. And Andre (Mark's little brother) is now a page. They make a great working pair, and it is fun that he still calls her Libbet (he couldn't pronounce her name when he met her as a small child).

 

WORLDBUILDING:

This series posits a world where the lines between fiction & reality are seriously blurred. There is fiction written about real magical objects and real objects whose origins are in fiction. This particular book focuses on the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edger Allen Poe, and other classic horror writers. There are haunted houses, ghosts, witches brooms, etc.

 

PLOT:

The beginning skillfully introduced Sukie & her family and the changes that have taken place in their lives.

 

The ending was emotionally satisfying regarding the current book. Knowing it was the final book in the series, however, I would have liked to know about more about some of the other previous characters.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • The scene where Sukie first meets Andre & Elizabeth.
  • I like the concept that Sukie is continuing to grow & change but Kitty isn't, so Sukie is outgrowing her.
  • The resolution of Sukie & Kitty's relationship.

 

NARRATION:

Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents good = no one seemed to have one, not even the New Yorkers - although they were in Manhattan so maybe they weren't supposed to / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = Slow. I listened on 1.5 speed, rather than my usual 1.25, and it  was just a touch fast

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Poe Estate (The Grimm Legacy #3) by Polly Shulman, read by Jorjeana Marie, published by Listening Library (2015) / Length: 6 hrs 46 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

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review 2016-06-11 17:18
Fairy Tale Objects in Modern Manhattan: The Grimm Legacy | Review + Author Interview
The Grimm Legacy - Julia Whelan,Polly Shulman

A fun YA Contemporary Fantasy that incorporates Fairy Tales without being a straight forward retelling.

 

Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository - a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too - for in the repository's basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother's fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman, read by Julia Whelan, published by Random House Audio (2012) / Length: 9 hrs 40 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 3 in the "Grimm Legacy" series. All 3 are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

I've read a lot of modern fairy tale retellings, this isn't strictly one of those. Although Elizabeth's life has elements of Cinderella (she even ends up with a single shoe on at one point), this isn't a Cinderella story. Instead it is a book that asks, "What if the magical objects from fairy tales were real and you could borrow them?"

 

Elizabeth is a genuinely kind person who wants to do what's right but isn't always sure what that is.

 

I am marking this with a Diversity tag, even though Elizabeth is white, since Mark is African American and Anjali's Indian (the South Asian kind).

 

Note: Audible has this categorized as a middle grade, which is incorrect; it is YA.

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review 2015-10-02 06:46
THE GRIMM LEGACY BY Polly Shulman
The Grimm Legacy - Polly Shulman

THE GRIMM LEGACY

Polly Sulman

Paperback, Available for distribution only through the school market., 325 pages
Published January 2012 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published January 1st 2010)
ISBN13  9780545436526

 

The Grimm Legacy is a fun young adult mystery to read. Some fantasy, some fairy tales, a big library, and a few teens who may be seen as nerdy. This book
is story is about Elizabeth and her new job at a materials circulation library. Not a typical library, as Elizabeth finds out, but she finds it a job that she enjoys. She gets the "key" to a special collections, and with her friends, gets pulled into a mystery of who is "stealing" items form the library.
The story did keep my interest. Even some of the adult characters were interesting. I would definitely recommend this to a preteen or teen who likes references to various fairy tales and a little mystery too.
The Grimm Legacy is the first of a series.

Source: www.pollyshulman.com
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review 2015-09-27 00:00
The Poe Estate
The Poe Estate - Polly Shulman A rather tame kiddies book with an interesting idea.
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