Friday, January 19, 2018

YA Pick of the Week: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

The pitch: Have you ever wondered what might have happened were you to have simply made one different choice? 

Jane, an eighteen year old college freshman, lives a mostly ordinary life with her Aunt Magnolia, a talented wildlife photographer. Then, one day, Aunt Magnolia dies, and Jane is left adrift to deal with a promise that she made to her aunt before her death: to visit Tu Reviens (an extravagant island mansion) if she is ever invited. Unsurprisingly, she is invited. Surprisingly, this book gives you five different paths that you (and Jane) can take. In some, Jane goes to different worlds, while in others, she is in grave peril, and in all, she leads a somewhat remarkable life.

What I liked about this book: each ending builds upon the last, so you gain a more complete picture of the world of Tu Reviens each time. No matter what changes, certain things stay the same: I find it a delightful proposition that, no matter what you choose, no matter how extraordinary, you might be drawn to the same person, the same art, the same sort of life, and Kristin Cashore does a really good job of playing up the things that stay the same even with greatly diverging paths. Jane is an interesting and brave protagonist, and you stay invested throughout five completely different narratives.

It's a very strange and dreamy book, and it is like nothing that I have ever read before (and there is a very cute dog!).

Kristin Cashore also wrote the Graceling Trilogy, and while that series is nothing like this book, I would also highly recommend it.

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