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Letters from Rapunzel Hardcover – February 20, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Ages 8-12 OR Grades 4-8 edition (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060780738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060780739
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—"In the real world, you can only understand your life backwards," writes Cadence Brogan to #5667, the unknown post-office-box holder with whom she begins a one-sided correspondence. After finding the number on a mysterious torn piece of a letter written in her father's hand, she feels somehow that this is the key to unlocking the secrets surrounding her. Cadence sees her life as a modern-day fairy tale in which she is Rapunzel, alone, abandoned, and waiting for answers. Her father's clinical depression she terms the Evil Spell; the teacher at the after-school Homework Center is dubbed the Wicked Witch. Through a series of journal-like writings to the elusive #5667, she comes to terms with her life and begins to understand her father's illness. Although the plot loses momentum at times, Holmes carries the story to a satisfying ending through realistic, insightful dialogue and her ability to develop a bright, capable character in Cadence. Reluctant readers will be drawn to the short chapters. The novel could be therapeutic for those children who must deal with the far-reaching effects of a parent's illness while experiencing the universal angst of adolescence. Cadence leaves readers with the wisdom that one must rescue oneself before rescuing others.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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“Letters from Rapunzel proves that [Sara Holmes] is a hot rookie prospect” (Morning Star Wilmington (NC))

“A bright , capable character leaves readers with the wisdom that one must rescue oneself before rescuing others.” (School Library Journal)

“Wildly funny. Endearing, Holmes does a good job bringing [her character] to life.” (KLIATT)

“A moving debut novel with many poignant passages. Will keep thoughtful readers involved.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A fantastic book. Poignant and powerful.” (Detroit Free Press)

“Delicately layered grace and springiness. An original story.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

More About the Author

Sara Lewis Holmes is the author of the middle-grade novel, Operation Yes, which ALA's Booklist called "purest stagecraft: quick, funny, sad, full of heart, and irresistibly absorbing." It was named as one of Booklist's Top Ten Arts Books for Kids 2009. Operation Yes was a Cybils finalist in the Middle Grade Fiction category and the audio version won a 2010 Audie award for the best audiobook for kids, ages 8-12.

Sara is also the author of Letters From Rapunzel (HarperCollins) which won the Ursula Nordstrom Fiction prize. She has lived in eleven states and three countries.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Meanwhile, she pleads for help from P.O. Box #5667.
My daughter and I both read the book and we can't say enough good things about it.
L. DeFazio
While well told, the book feels like a novel found in an author's early career.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie Danielson on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is Sara Lewis Holmes' debut novel, winner of the first annual Ursula Nordstrom Fiction Contest. An epistolary novel (that quickly becomes tantamount to reading a young girl's diary), it centers around twelve-year-old Cadence who calls herself Rapunzel. Cadence is extremely close to her father, a poet, who is suddenly hospital-bound with clinical depression. Soon after his hospitalization, Cadence finds an intimate and cryptic (but incomplete) letter he had written to someone nameless, addressed to a post office box. In the hopes that the recipient of the letters will help her save her father, she composes letters and sends them to this particular post office box, #5667. However, she finds herself writing so much more -- re-writings of fairy tales with her own plucky spin (one of her protagonist princesses decides not to marry the prince after all and not to sleep on any more piles of mattresses: She will no longer "take teeny-tiny steps. Instead, I opened my own detective agency, and lived happily ever after, asking lots and lots of questions. THE END"); creative responses to homework assignments and math problems; and letters to the editor when she hears about the imminent destruction of one of the last authentic swing bridges in her area, a place holding special significance for her father and a place, she learns the hard way, that was the backdrop for a devastating turning point in her father's illness. All the while, no one, including her mother, is talking to her honestly about his depression. She imagines herself a modern fairy tale heroine, mostly "just a victim in a tower," she writes to the nameless letter recipient: Her particular prison tower being the afterschool Homework Club, and the evil spell that has afflicted her father, his depression.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Gail Carson Levine has a lot to answer for.

When Our Lady of Ella Enchanted proved that biggie awards could go to fairy tale-inspired fantasies, this knowledge launched an unprecedented variety of fairy tale freakouts . As we speak we are still in the midst of a kind of folktale maelstrom, so you'll forgive me if my initial sideways glance at "Letters from Rapunzel," appeared to produce just more of the same. The winner of the 2004 Ursula Nordstrom Fiction Contest (run by Harper Collins for those first-time never-before-published types), Ms. Sara Lewis Holmes won it fair and square and this here book is the result. Despite its cover and title, the book is not, in fact, one of the fairytale ilk. Using the Rapunzel motif, Holmes paints a picture of a family whose patriarch is suffering from chronic depression. Balancing out its painful subject matter with its heroine's wit, whimsy, and disconnect from reality, "Letters from Rapunzel" manages a delicate balancing act that comes to a happy end for both character and reader.

She's been sending letters to an unknown post office box ever since her father disappeared from her life. For Rapunzel (the name she chooses to give herself) life was fine until her dad went through a new bout of crippling depression and had to be taken away to recover. What does that mean for our heroine? It means trying to put up with teachers and principals who think that just because you aced some test they gave out, you're a genius. A genius, mind you, who'd rather write letters to a stranger than end up in some lousy class for smart kids where Andrew, the boy she hates, is waiting to torment her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on April 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Cadence Brogan aka Rapunzel may have found someone to help her with her problems. That someone is P.O. Box # 5667.

Cadence's father has battled clinical depression most of his life. His recent bout has required treatment in the hospital to regulate his medication. Shortly after her father's hospitalization, Cadence discovers a torn piece from a letter her father had written to someone with the address P.O. Box #5667. Not knowing this person, but hoping whoever it is can help shed more light on her father's condition; Cadence begins writing her own letters.

The problems Cadence hopes to get help with include her father's rapid recovery and return home, a busy, hard-working mother, an annoying classmate named Andrew, and mandatory attendance in the GT (Gifted and Talented) program.

A great lover of fairy tales, Cadence focuses on the similarities between herself and the imprisoned Rapunzel. Many of her letters describe her hope to escape and her search to find a cure for the Evil Spell holding her father "prisoner." As she searches for answers, some of what she discovers is not pleasant. In an effort to protect her, Cadence learns that her mother, who refers to her husband's condition as C.D., has not been completely honest about the extent of the depression. Not being able to share her thoughts with her father, more and more of Cadence's feelings pour out in her letters to #5667.

Sara Lewis Holmes cleverly creates Cadence's story through these letters. She has Cadence holding out hope that her letters will be answered, but even as that hope fades, Holmes portrays a positive, up-beat Cadence. Any reader will identify with the struggle to overcome adversity, but this book is sure to hit home with readers who have experience with friends or family members suffering from clinical depression.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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