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Another Faust Hardcover – August 25, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8–10—When five siblings enroll at Marlowe, an elite prep school in Manhattan, a secret advantage allows them to edge out the competition in sports, class offices, and the hearts of the most popular students. They have all—knowingly or unknowingly—exchanged their souls for supernatural gifts: mind-reading, athletic ability, great writing, control over time, and extreme beauty. However, their evil governess, Madame Vileroy, is not content with what she has already taken from her children. She gets great pleasure in pitting them against one another, regularly offering them more power or accolades in exchange for more of their essential selves. But how far does her power reach? And when is it too late to turn away from evil? With several well-timed twists and numerous allusions to Faustian bargains throughout history, this juicy story will appeal to teens who enjoy the power grabs and backstabbing of Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girls" (Little, Brown), as well as to fans of dark contemporary fantasy.—Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA END
About the Author
Daniel Nayeri has held many book-related jobs, including editor, literary agent, and children’s librarian. He is also a professional pastry chef and award-winning stuntman.
His sister, Dina Nayeri Viergutz, is a former teaching fellow in economics who holds both an MBA and a master’s of education from Harvard University. Both were born in Iran and now live in New York City and Amsterdam, respectively.
Top customer reviews
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Quick & Dirty: A paranormal twist on teen drama with a hard look at societal pressure, popularity, and coercion that leaves you questioning, how far would you go if you could to get what you want?
Opening Sentence: Victoria didn’t have time to play.
The premise of Another Faust somewhat assumes that the reader is familiar with the story of the Faust myth, and is still an excellent read without that familiarity, creating a curiosity to learn more just to understand Another Faust better. There were plenty of paranormal elements to make this book just creepy enough, but not scary. It is obvious that the authors, Daniel and Dina Nayeri, are extremely well-read, which is good and bad. On one hand, references throughout the book add layers to the story, but on the other hand, anyone less well-read constantly has a nagging feeling that they are missing out on something, almost like a private joke.
The big questions about self in this book are what really stay with the reader and keep us connected, rather than the characters. What would be worth selling your soul for? Many would think there is nothing that would be worth it, but as we look deep into that selfish part of ourselves we could probably all find something. And that’s where, even the characters that do not end up “selling their souls” in this book still end up selling a part of themselves with the right coercion. Basically Madame Vileroy creates a “perfect” abusive relationship, in which she magnifies her adopted children’s faults to a point where they feel so trapped in the lies that they live that they will do almost anything to keep living those lies. It become clear that what they are really searching for is acceptance, however, their selfishness is exactly what keeps them from achieving that, and Madame Vileroy of course knows that and uses it for all it’s worth.
Ideally, with five main characters, the reader would relate to one of them more than the others, and in my opinion, the main flaw of this book is that the teenage characters are too exaggerated to be as real or relatable as they need to be to make the reader really care what happens to them. Given Christian’s background as stated at the beginning, and his character throughout the book, most readers are probably most sympathetic to him, but still don’t develop much closeness to him beyond that. The other characters are so incredibly selfish that they kind of deserve what they get along the way. It is also somewhat odd that the book begins when these five characters are ten years old, rather than as actual teenagers, as if ten was some magical age of accountability.
Another point made throughout the story is the prospect of what selling your soul entails. It is apparently not just a one time act but a state of selfish addiction and greed, almost impossible to overcome. Perhaps the most interesting character is Madame Vileroy herself, she remains a mystery throughout the book, even to the end. Her mystery is accentuated by a short flashback at the beginning of each chapter that gives just enough of a snippet to be barely informational but mostly intriguing. She is just an older, more practiced version of the children, and she seems to have everything figured out, however, like most people who think they know everything, she doesn’t. Her motives are somewhat confusing at times.
As the first book in a series, I would rate this personally as my second favorite of the series. It is creative, new, and well-thought out, but needed more character development and more excitement. Maybe a little more romance to spice it up, or maybe more physical danger. The teenage drama, even with a great twist, was just a little bland. This was not a difficult read, or boring by any means, but it could have been better, especially given the originality of the plot base.
“This is my job. To watch over you.” Madame Vileroy whispered. “See who’s coming?”
Victoria noticed Lucy and her mother, each carrying trays full of Magnolia cupcakes.
“Don’t worry. I know about her campaign.”
Madame Vileroy rolled her eyes, a move that was disconcerting to Victoria, who couldn’t help but gaze into the governess’s strange left eye. “Yes, the election. But you can’t think of a single fun thing to do besides? With all that information?”
“What do you mean?” asked Victoria.
“You watched her for four hours last night.”
“Where’s the clever Victoria I used to know?” Vileroy goaded. “The girl that used to be my most talented, the one that could always give us a good laugh.”
Victoria picked up her pace and approached Lucy and her mother.
“Hi, Mrs. Spencer. How are you?” Victoria said with concern. “I’m so sorry to hear about the divorce settlement.”
FTC Advisory: Candlewick Press provided me with a copy of Another Faust. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
The writing style in Another Faust wasn't that great and could have been improved. Often times you could see them getting off point because there was no real point of view in this book, which was definitely an interesting aspect. I love the darkness of it but it is not to over the top.
With Another Faust I really enjoyed how each chapter started out with a brief sneak peek into Madame Vileroy's past and her many misadventures into stealing people's souls. I was often surprised at what people were sometimes brought up and also what had happened in her past. You also learn what she truly wants and even for her is unreachable.
When the characters get their gifts of course it comes with stipulations and Madame Vileroy is always there to coax them into tweaking things but with that you have to make more deals and it definitely starts to shake things up. I don't want to go too far into the gifts because that will spoil things.
All the characters play a significant role in this book and are so well written that it could have been a series about each person I think. They are so dynamic and I wanted to learn more about each one, well maybe not Victoria. The gifts that each character ask for, isn't really out there, you could see a average everyday Joe asking for the same thing and I think that is why it was so easy to relate to Another Faust and become easily engrossed in it.
One of the characters I absolutely adore and if anything was very heartfelt for was Christian. His gift was to steal and it is not the kind of stealing you will typically think of. All he wanted was to be good at everything and really I think to just be noticed and loved. Victoria could cheat and she would do it obsessively. I have to say I cannot stand her, in the book she was always trying to be Madame Vileroy's favorite and it was to the point of obnoxious. Of all the characters I really don't think she learned any lessons at all. Belle had the gift to play tricks. Her whole life she wanted to be beautiful and when she finally had the chance to, she did a very devastating and selfish thing. With all that beauty came loneliness for awhile and when she did finally get her final accomplishment she finally has to see how ugly she is on the inside. Bice is my favorite of them all and I can relate to her the most. She has her books as her friends and is very lonely. Her gift is to hide and it is a reader's dream or so she thinks. Belle and Bice are twins but they are not as close as they use to be and you really see the relationship effect Bice. Valentin is the last of the group and you could say that his gift is stealing as well but not the same stealing as christian. At first I liked Valentin but then honestly he just became so egotistical and arrogant it was off putting. I thought he was going to be that guy that acts bad but is a sweetheart but no he is just a dick.
Another Faust definitely is a book that makes you think about good versus evil. It makes you think about when is it so bad in life that you would do anything for it to be better, like selling your soul. And if you sell your soul, it really shows you that it isn't some cake walk. There are consequences, loved ones get hurt, and the side effects could make you keep bargaining with the devil till there is nothing left of you. In Another Faust you will catch glimpses of the teens struggling with what they have done and if they made the right choice. It was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone.
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