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Crewel (Crewel World) Hardcover – October 16, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The halls of Coventry are dark and twisted places readers will want to visit. (The New York Times Book Review)

Albin has created a unique world that is as fascinating as it is frightening. Absolutely thrilling! (Josephine Angelini, bestselling author of Starcrossed)

I love how time in Crewel is a physical, shimmering line that can be touched and woven into a pocket of safety in a lethal world. Original, artistic, layered, and nimble, Albin's novel is a compelling read. (Caragh O'Brien, author of the Birthmarked trilogy)

Crewel is a book about romance, knowing who to trust, and destiny. (Seventeen.com)

The next big YA thing-to-come. (The Atlantic Wire)

An incredibly interesting mix. (Hypable.com)

Unusual, brilliant. (MTV's The FabLife.com)

If you liked The Hunger Games, try Crewel. (Redbook.com)

The next big dystopian blockbuster. (Booklist)

Captivating and intense, the right balance of mystery, romance, and drama. (Publishers Weekly)

Aspects of Crewel bring comparisons to The Hunger Games. (VOYA)

About the Author

Gennifer Albin holds a master's degree in English literature from the University of Missouri and founded the tremendously popular blog theconnectedmom.com. She lives in Lenexa, Kansas, with her husband and two children.

Q&A with Gennifer:
Would you describe the world of Arras?
Arras is a world of cocktails, beautiful women who hide deadly secrets behind their made-up faces and silk stockings, and men who fear women so much that women have been forced into powerless roles. No one is quite who they seem and in the middle of it all, sixteen-year-old Adelice has to navigate a tangled web of lies and conspiracy to unravel the truth about her world and her identity.

What inspired you to create such a world?
I wanted to create a world that wasn't anything you might expect from a story about girls weaving the fabric of life. Weaving, sewing, and other needlecraft have always been considered womanly arts, so I chose to build Arras into a glamorous, but very Mad-Menesque world. There I can explore how girls feel about traditional jobs and responsibilities as well as the temptation of luxury and fame. And let's face it, writing characters in fedoras and pin curls is fun.

Are you like any of the characters in the book?
Eventually a high school teacher of mine is going to expose that Adelice gets her penchant for challenging authority from me. I've always been a big fan of the comeback, but as I get older I'm learning to bite my tongue. I think Jost would be proud.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Series: Crewel World (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1 edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374316414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374316419
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,090,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Gennifer Albin holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri. A recovering academic, she turned to writing her own books. In her free time she sits on the National Novel Writing Month Advisory Board, laughs (and cries) with her mom writers group, and watches too much Doctor Who (if that's possible). Gennifer lives in Poulsbo, Washington with her family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Miss Bonnie on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
'No one knows why some girls have the gift. There are theories, of course. That it's passed down genetically. Or that girls with an open mind can see the weave of life around them at all times. Even that it's a gift only given to the pure-hearted. But I know better. It's a curse.'

In this world, everything is comprised of threads which can be altered, manipulated, or completely removed. Behavior modification can be done for unruly children or if they're deemed a lost cause can be removed completely. If that is done then everything is reworked in order to change the complete structure of everyone's thoughts and memories so that the child that was removed is not even remembered, even by his own parents. Even the most base things that would normally be natural: food cultivation, upcoming thunderstorms, these are all managed by the Spinsters. Only managed though.

'Crewel work is an act of pure creation. Crewelers do more than weave the fabric of Arras. They can capture the materials to create the weave. Only they can see the weave of the raw materials. (...) The Spinsters wouldn't have any matter to weave if it weren't for her special gift.'

Because this world wouldn't exist without the Creweler.

'Day by day, I am remade, into someone else. I'm sixteen now, and I will be almost flawless forever. That thought helps me fall asleep at night, secure in my place here, but it also wakes me up trembling with nightmares.'

Their beauty routines and the description of how these women look reminded me of geisha's. The only difference with the women in Arras is the access to renewal patches which allow them to heal wounds rapidly but also help to preserve their youth. These patches worked so well that you're virtually unable to tell people's true age anymore.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Leeanna Chetsko VINE VOICE on September 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Crewel" is a book I was highly anticipating. From the minute I read the summary, I wanted to get my hands on it. A book that has a cool premise, a dystopian society, inventive world building, and a twist on the Greek Fates? Yes, please.

I gobbled up the first half, even though it was slow going at times. The worldbuilding and the weave captured my attention, and kept me going. But when I put the book down for a week, with only 40 or so pages to go until the end, I knew something was wrong.

As I said, the worldbuilding in "Crewel" is quite inventive. When I found out where Arras came from, I thought it was pretty neat. Yeah, I saw influences from other dystopian novels, including "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood and "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, but I enjoyed the way Gennifer Albin twisted everything together.

The descriptions of the weave -- the force Spinsters manipulate to keep everything perfectly in line in Arras -- are gorgeous to read, and the cover is evocative of that. I applaud the publisher for not going with the "pretty girl in a dress" trend for the cover, and doing something abstract yet fitting.

My problems with "Crewel" started with Adelice, the main character. Her parents trained her to be clumsy, so she would never be picked to be a Spinster. I never understood why being clumsy would translate to being unable to see and touch the weave. When she's taken, Adelice discovers that she has more talent than any other Spinster, because she can manipulate the weave without a loom. Yet she uses her incredible talent to create a safe space to make out with the first boy she meets.

Yep, there's a love triangle here. I'm sorry, but I am sick of love triangles, and didn't think this one fit the book.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ellepaul on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Not only is the cover of Crewel beautiful and striking, but the story inside is as well. This is one of those wonderful YA books that as soon as your eyes hit the very first page you find it very difficult to put it down. In fact I didn't put it down and ended up falling asleep reading it and woke up to find my poor Kindle on the floor. Never fear, I keep a pillow on the floor beside my bed for times just like this.

Before I started reading I already knew what crewel is. Crewel is a form of embroidery, one I had tried when I was younger. It is not my favorite kind of needlework but it is never less a lovely one when completed. As far as I know and understand, crewel is not used when you are weaving on a loom. So I found it very interesting that while the name was used, the technique really wasn't.

From an early age Adelice's parents realized that she was special. That she has a gift for weaving. While many would have loved their daughters to have such a gift, Adelice's parents taught her to hide hers. During her testing she makes a mistake and reveals that she has the gift. That night they come for her and her parents try to get her away. Unfortunately they take her and kill her father. Now Adelice must try to figure out who to trust and do her best to stay alive in her new privileged and yet dangerous world.

Crewel is the first novel in a YA Dystopia/Matrix like series. While the story is fresh and creative there was one thing I didn't like, the proverbial love triangle. Crewel also left me with a lot of unanswered questions and a desire to read more in this wonderful series.
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