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Cobwebs Hardcover – October 12, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (October 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060297611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060297619
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,049,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up - Sixteen-year-old Nancy's family is odd. It's not that her mother is white and her father is black - she lives in New York, where biracial families are not uncommon. It's not even that her mother, a master weaver, is agoraphobic, or that her father moves out of their basement apartment every spring to live on a nearby rooftop. It's that her father produces sticky silk threads from his hands to help him travel Brooklyn by rooftop, and her mother comes from a line of powerful healers. So far, Nancy is neither spider nor healer, and she can't get her parents to tell her why. She meets strange, ghostly Dion as he balances on a high railing above the East River, and feels an obvious connection. Their families have more in common than they know, and the author unravels this web of connections one deliberate and deftly foreshadowed thread at a time. Young's prose is simple and graceful, and her depictions, including several freakishly authentic New York neighborhoods, are subtly drawn. Nancy's struggle with spider/human identity is as touching and real as any coming of age: thoughtful, earnest, and more innocent than her urban upbringing might suggest. To sustain mystery, Young drops otherworldly details into an otherwise realistic story, to the temporary confusion of readers and, often, to the protagonist as well. While this might frustrate those unwilling to suspend disbelief, adventurous readers will gladly put the pieces of family history and personal destiny together as Nancy does. - Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Brooklyn teenager Nancy has an unusual dilemma: "No spinnerets inside her, no silk." She descends from a "peculiar family" whose arachnid genes give rise to spidery specialties: her Scottish-Italian mother weaves; her Jamaican father applies his uncanny climbing abilities to a career in roofing; her maternal grandmother uses her cobweb silk to heal wounds. But not a hint of spiderness emerges from Nancy. Feeling suffocated by her hovering family, she becomes increasingly interested in Dion, a runaway whose knowing gaze is both disturbing and compelling. Young's novel forms a literal web of connections--from a blackmail scheme that involves both Nancy's and Dion's families to the evil-averting Angel of Brooklyn, a real-life superhero whose identity is an ongoing puzzle. Some readers may be mystified by the story strands' refusal to braid neatly together; others, especially teens of an artistic, assertively alternative stripe, will happily immerse themselves in the poetic, free-associative narrative, and the imaginative, comic book-inspired premise. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
Overall I think Cobwebs is a must-read book for people looking for a bildungsroman.
Vampire-Sama
Dion, the boy who haunts playgrounds and rooftops in Brooklyn and has a growing interest in Nancy, is also a beautifully developed character who intrigues the reader.
Jess
You have to ignore the fact that the book is a little bizarre, because that makes it all the more enjoyable.
Cadence

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jess on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Cobwebs randomly in B&N, being rushed out of the store by my mother, and I am too pleased that I happened to choose this book.

The protagonist, Nancy, is a wonderfully drawn character, the kind every teenage girl can identify with, despite her remarkably different problems than the average teenager.

Dion, the boy who haunts playgrounds and rooftops in Brooklyn and has a growing interest in Nancy, is also a beautifully developed character who intrigues the reader.

The plot is spun as tightly, seamlessly and intricately as the spider webs it revolves around, twisting real-life Brooklyn with fantasy, involving spiders and angels, journalists and healers, among much else.

Not only is the story captivating and the characters realistic and interesting, the prose is lovely, with a soft touch to it, dulling the edges, so to speak, and making the novel "feel" more like a fantasy novel even as it describes the rough-and-tough, teenager-confusing lives of Brooklynites Nancy and Dion, as well as their families.

Two days after gobbling this book in one gulp, I am still carrying it around and rereading passages--this book grabs you and doesn't let you go! Read it now, or you will be sorry!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alison James on September 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
An edgy 'coming into herself' story with a twist -- Cobwebs creates a parallel universe out of Brooklyn, a place of rooftops and water towers, of angels who protect strangers and romance between a tender-hearted skinhead and a dark, tangled girl who tromps the streets in her Doc Martins because she can't fly. This marvel of a book is magic realism at its best.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cadence on July 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was shocked to see how many poor customer reviews this book has recieved, then I actually read them, and I realized why.

Cobwebs is the curl-up-under-the-covers kind of book that only true readers can appreciate. You have to ignore the fact that the book is a little bizarre, because that makes it all the more enjoyable. If you're looking for something along the lines of "The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants" or "TTYL" don't even bother with this book. Its deep, poetic prose and mysterious plot leave a lot to the imagination. Sadly, not everyone is turned on to a book because of that.

Cobwebs has also been called "confusing" or "weird". It is neither. It is simply a book written by an author who saw another way around the generic "girly-girly" books that female readers seem so captivated by. Nancy and Dion's relationship is not what you would expect of two teenagers, and all the characters have an old-timey appeal which is completely beautiful.

Cobwebs made me cry, but it also made me think deeply, which is the sign of a great book. If you have an imagination and if you are open to something more than your average book, read Cobwebs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Treanor on July 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was an okay read, not something I'm really interested in rereading over and over again. The begining starts off interesting, but then slowly goes down hill. The middle started to lose my attention and the ending leaves you with a "blah" feeling.

It gets three stars from me (2.5 really) because of its originality and certain parts that leave you thinking after you've closed the cover. Other than that, borrow it from the library but don't waste your money buying it.
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