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White Crow Hardcover – July 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596435941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596435940
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,617,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Readers in search of an atmospheric horror/thriller with a high body count and a multilayered mystery—not to mention a good scare—will find plenty to like here." —BCCB

“Showing his customary skill with a gothic setting and morally troubled characters, Sedgwick keeps readers guessing to the very end.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“This book is one thing very few YA novels are: genuinely scary.” —Booklist

About the Author

MARCUS SEDGWICK is most recently the author of Revolver, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in the UK and received four starred reviews in the US. The author of eleven widely admired previous novels, he lives in Sussex, England.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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The characters are unique and finely drawn.
J. Prather
I was really hoping that somewhere down the line Ferelith was going to give her a big slap.
Dan Thompson
The switching in speakers and times alone would probably make most teens put it down.
Katharyn D. Daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Prather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are very few authors who can make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and cause me to gasp out loud. Marcus Sedgewick is one, and he does it again with White Crow. The pacing is rather slow as the author slips back and forth between present day and 1798, but the slow pacing is offset by the suspense that builds mercilessly as we learn of the Lovecraftian horrors that occurred in the small village of Winterfold in the 1700's. We meet the enigmatic Ferelith who befriends Rebecca and leads her on a present day parallel journey of discovery that ends in its own horrors.

This is a very dark read that takes a hard look at the nature of God and the devil. The dark, gothic atmosphere is intense and the images are sometimes graphic and always riveting. The characters are unique and finely drawn. The short chapters and the author's effective method of drawing readers in make this book a quick and powerful read. The ending was a total surprise and the author's afterword added a somewhat grisly dimension to the story that is likely to generate many late night discussions among readers as he ties his story to real life events. This is a perfect recommend for any fan of literary horror fiction. While marketed as a young adult title, I would say this is most appropriate for older teens and adults. As always, this author seems to be operating on a different level than most of his YA peers. A big recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brittney E. on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I found this book in the YA section of my library. As a 23 year old reader, YA fiction can be hit or miss for me, and this book was definitely a miss.
The conflict is that the CONTENT itself is adult content, because it's very philosophical and graphic, but the writing is something I would expect from a book written for middle school or less. Save the confusing diary entries from the priest which are convuluted, "old-fashioned" language and terms, the narration about the girls is simplistic. Too simplistic. And the narration doesn't just change from one person to another, but from first-person to third-person, which is jarring and choppy.
I always feel guilty when making a harsh critique, like it's a disservice to the author whom I know has invested loads of time and energy into his/her work. But I really struggled to make myself finish this book. Instead of getting involved in the suspense and story line, I just kept thinking, "where is this going, and can it get there faster?" I found the book unnecessarily tedious and inconclusive.
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Format: Hardcover
Are you in the mood for a frothy, lightweight, romantic comedy? If so, please continue on elsewhere. WHITE CROW is one spine-tingling creep-fest guaranteed to keep fans of gothic horror turning pages until the end.

The story is told from three perspectives. In the present-day, a girl named Rebecca reluctantly arrives in the seaside village of Winterfold to spend the summer with her father. She hates the town on sight and would much prefer to be home in London with her friends. Ferelith has always lived in Winterfold, which is sliding slowly into the ocean. She knows people describe her as a freak, and doesn't mind dressing and acting the part. She spots Rebecca, describes her as beautiful, and says that the moment she sees her she loves her and knows that Rebecca will grow to love her, too.

Aside from Rebecca and Ferelith's story, a rector living in Winterfold in 1798 also tells of a stranger coming to the village. The newcomer is from France, a physician named Dr. Barrieux. Barrieux lives in Winterfold Hall, where he is laying in supplies --- not only food and drink but also unknown "items of function." The rector and the doctor eventually discover that they share a fascination with the afterlife...and the doctor has a plan for how to investigate what happens after a person dies (this, according to the author's note, is based on historical fact).

Back in present-day Winterfold, Rebecca is bored. She is not getting along with her father, a policeman who has recently been disgraced. She reads book after book, then explores Winterfold. There's not much to see, although she's mildly intrigued by a pub called The Angel and The Devil. She wanders into the woods where she discovers a clearing near a sea cliff.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Figment Review on July 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
by Sydnee

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick isn't a book I would normally read - the horror genre has never been my forte because I have the intestinal fortitude of someone with the stomach flu - but the supernatural twist caught my attention. The blurb on the back calls the book "intensely scary" and Sedgwick tries extremely hard to build that scary tension in a way that's agonizingly and deliciously slow, but he doesn't do it effectively. The novel loses its all-important scary factor because of that, and what's more, it can be really tedious to read at times.

The story is told in three alternating point-of-views- Rebecca, a teenage girl who has moved to the remote village of Winterfold for the summer with her father; Ferelith, an eccentric Winterfold native who befriends Rebecca and introduces her to the village's deepest secrets; and finally, a priest, whose account is told in a centuries-old journal entries that help put all Rebecca and Ferelith's experiences into context. Winterfold is a seaside village that has slowly been eaten away by the current; by the time Rebecca arrives, the town has only a handful of buildings, and the church has already begun crumbling.

Ferelith is the polarizing character in White Crow, and for much of the read I didn't know what to make of her. Is she an innocent, lonely teenager or a spiteful, otherworldly she-devil? That question was probably a big factor in Sedgwick's plotting, but the tension it should create doesn't translate. So much of the novel is spent with Ferelith and Rebecca doing mundane things that seem to have nothing to do with advancing the plot... they sunbathe and go swimming and talk about absolutely nothing, and all the while Ferelith comes off as extremely unlikeable.
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