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Blythewood (A Blythewood Novel) Hardcover – October 8, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old Avaline Hall, alone in the world and not confident in her own sanity, is working at New York City's Triangle Waist factory to keep from starving. A devastating fire with links to her mother's mystery-shrouded death sets Ava on a path toward a life she never could have imagined. After a harrowing stay in Bellevue, where she is held captive, she is rescued by her estranged grandmother and sent to Blythewood, a boarding school full of secrets, magic, and danger. There she grapples to make sense of her mother's past and her own future. What are the bells only she can hear? Should she follow her heart and believe that a Darkling could be her friend, or listen to the Order who teach her that all faeries are evil? Who is she to believe as she comes into her own powers and uncovers pieces of the truth? The class struggles in this story set in the early 1900s are vividly depicted side by side with battles of magic and Faerie. Heavy in atmosphere with just enough romance, this novel is sure to find an appreciable following. Character development is strong as readers follow Ava in her search for answers to mysteries both external and internal. Fans will just have to hope that the rather abrupt ending means that a sequel is in the works.-Genevieve Feldman, San Francisco Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Goodman’s historical fantasy, rife with dark magic, ancestral secrets, and forbidden love, is a treat for lovers of the gothic. Avaline Hall is a chime child, able to hear phantom warning bells when danger is near. At 16, she hears them when addressed by a sinister man. Soon after, her mother commits suicide. Again she hears the bells when the man appears at the garment factory where she is a seamstress, and it burns to the ground. Rescued by a mysterious winged boy, she spends a brief but traumatic time in an insane asylum before her estranged grandmother sends her to Blythewood, the boarding school her mother attended. And that’s just the first 70 pages! There, the spellbinding story truly begins, as Ava investigates her mother’s past, is inducted into the demon-battling Order of the Bells, and falls for the winged boy despite warnings that evil lies at the heart of all faerie creatures. Occasional slow spots aside, readers should be charmed and thrilled by this darkly romantic, fantastical tale. Grades 8-11. --Krista Hutley

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: A Blythewood Novel
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670784761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670784769
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carol Goodman graduated from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin. After teaching Latin for several years, she studied for an MFA in Fiction. Her writing has been published in a number of literary magazines. She currently teaches writing and works as a writer-in-residence. She lives in Long Island, USA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense on June 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Review originally published on the blog A Kernel of Nonsense.

The year is 1911. With the passing of her mother, Avaline Hall is forced to fend for herself working as a seamstress at the Triangle Waist Factory for a meager wage. But Ava’s life is about to be altered irreparably when a man in an Inverness cape begins following her, the same man who pursued her mother before her death. As Ava attempts to flee him with the help of a strange boy, she finds herself trapped inside the factory when a mysterious fire breaks out.

Though she survives, Ava is haunted by the images of smoke-filled shadows and the evil she felt when her eyes beheld the man in the Inverness cape. Institutionalized and labeled mad, she has almost given up hope when her grandmother reappears in her life. Given a second chance at her mother’s alma mater, Blythewood Academy, Ava discovers her new school is home to secrets–dangerous secrets–including the truth about her mother’s death, the identity of the boy who saved her, and the real reason the man in the Inverness cape is so interested in her.

Ava has a strong spirit and sharpness at the beginning of this book that made me immediately like her. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but notice that this sass burnt out a bit as the novel progressed, but her determination and courage more than made up for it. The mysterious Raven was one of my favorite characters. He isn’t simply this irresistibly charming guy that enraptures Ava. He’s his own person and I liked the fact that the two of them weren’t always in sync with each other. He didn’t act like he owned Ava which is a characteristic all too common these days. He was driven by his feelings for her and showed a level of vulnerability that even Ava didn’t display.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heather Buckman on January 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I have read Carol Goodmans stuff before and know that she has long stories. This book was no different. The story was a really long one and it was only the first in a series. My only qualm for this book was that it lulled in the center fro about almost 200 pages. I really liked the use of real fey, the scary kind not the cute little fairies from Disney. I also liked the time line for the book and the touches of real historical events. All and all this was a good book and I am looking forward to where the story is going.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dark Faerie Tales on October 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: Great YA paranormal filled with mystery, romance, and magic. It had a slow start but once it gripped me I couldn't put it down.

Opening Sentence: I heard the bells that morning as I was entering Washington Square Park.

The Review:

Avaline Hall is 17 years old and getting ready to attend Blythewood, a very elite boarding school. Ava's mother attended Blythewood as a girl, but she was expelled her senior year for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Ava was raised by just her mother and she has never known the identity of her father. She grew up poor, but she was very happy. Then suddenly her mother started to drink heavily, and eventually it killed her. Ava was forced to find work in a factory so she could survive on her own. She was a seamstress, it was hard work but it paid the bills. Shortly after Ava started her new job a stranger seeks her out, and starts a terrible fire that kills almost all of the people she works with. Ava was rescued by a mysterious person with wings. Afterward she was taken to a hospital and deemed insane because of what she claimed had happened during the fire and her escape.

Ava is released from the asylum by her grandmother. Ava has never met her grandmother. Her grandmother disowned her mother when she got pregnant and has not spoken to her since. Ava's mother came from a very rich family and now that she is an orphan her grandmother feels an obligation to help take care of her. She decides to send her to Blythewood and hopes that she can become a well breed member of society. Upon arriving at Blythewood Ava realizes that it isn't just a school. It is full of secrets and magic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KVB99 on May 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is book 1 of a new series. The story begins with 17-year-old Avaline, who is orphaned and soon caught up in the infamous New York’s Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, which she barely survives thanks to a mysterious winged boy. Soon, Ava is rescued by her long lost grandmother and then hustled off to the mysterious academy, Blythewood. At Blythewood, Ava learns about special powers she has and discovers that she and the other students at Blythewood are being trained to fight evil monsters. Only, the creatures that the teachers at Blythewood say are evil don’t seem that way to Ava. In the end, Ava is forced into a showdown with the real evil that haunts Blythewood.

The magic system in this book involves fairies and angels and I found it to be just so-so, some original aspects, but mostly the same old tropes. And they’re not developed all that well. The romantic elements of the story are probably the strongest part of the book. The overall plot is decent, but there is one part that didn’t work at all IMO. After the grand climax, the book probably should have ended, but author appends on a few chapters about another historic event that seems to serve no purpose and feels way too contrived. So, goodbye Blythewood. I’m turning out the lights on this new series, and I’m moving on.
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