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A Clatter of Jars Paperback – May 2, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—When Liliana Vera arrives at Camp Atropos for Singular Talents, she does so with a heavy heart. Her brother Max should be with her, but three weeks before, she accidentally hurt him. No one knows it was her fault. Now Liliana is stuck dealing with the guilt, her secret about what really happened, and her annoyingly perky stepsister, Hannah. Camp Atropos is for kids with "Talents," abilities that are beyond what a human can normally accomplish. Lily can lift objects with her mind. Hannah makes drinks that evoke memories for people and bring them back to a moment clear as day. Not everyone has a Talent, though, and for many of the Fair, having a Talent is a lifelong dream. There is a black market of sorts, and the director of Camp Atropos is in over her head with dealing and stealing Talent rip-offs. If she's not careful, she may endanger her campers and change the Talented world forever. Readers may remember other Talented characters from A Tangle of Knots, but it's not necessary to have read it to keep up here. Camp director Jo is a complex and sympathetic villain, making an original story even more unique. The tale comes full circle sweetly, with a fun twist that connects lives from both books in an unexpected way. There is, perhaps, an overabundance of characters, each with his or her own special Talent, and a few too many plot lines, making the story a little hard to follow at times. Still, most readers who enjoy magical fantasy set in an otherwise realistic world will likely embrace these new characters. VERDICT Graff is a master of the magical realism genre, and this offering is worthy of a spot in any middle grade collection.—Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Praise for Lisa Graff's novels:
A Clatter of Jars:
"Graff is a master of the magical realism genre, and this offering is worthy of a spot in any middle grade collection."—School Library Journal
This highly satisfying sequel to A Tangle of Knots will not only sate the appetites of readers already familiar with Graff’s fantasy world, but it will also provide a fine entry point for new readers as well . . . Graff’s vivid character development and world building makes for tight plotting and nicely negotiable complexity. A great fit for fans of Louis Sachar’s Holes."--Booklist
"Each character struggles with truth, familial love, and acceptance, as Talents are lost and found, relinquished and stolen,borrowed and returned. And then there’s Fate, who also raises her head when leastexpected, reminding readers that it’s not the talents we’re given but what we makeof them that creates happiness."--The Horn Book
"Readers will love the inventiveness—and the sadness—of every storyline . . . this is a novel that rewards a second—or even a third—reading."--Kirkus Reviews
"[A] warmhearted companion to A Tangle of Knots . . . Graff brings the plot threads to a satisfying resolution."--Publishers Weekly
"Graff’s prose and plot construction is as pleasing as ever, and A Clatter of Jars will appeal to a wide range of readers."—Bookpage
Lost in the Sun
* "Graff writes with stunning insight into boyhood and humanity, allowing Trent to speak for himself in a pained, honest narration. Investing Trent with all the tragic frailty of Holden Caulfield, Graff tackles issues of loss, isolation, and rage without apology. Graff consistently demonstrates why character-driven novels can live from generation to generation, and here she offers a story that can survive for many school years to come."—Kirkus Reviews *STARRED*
* "Graff creates layered, vulnerable characters that are worth getting to know and routing for. Narrated by the moody, sarcastic Trent, the story never buckles beneath his troubles, and it finds wings once he can see beyond them. Pranks, The Sandlot reenactments, sports talk, and donuts are in plentiful supply, adding dashes of levity at the right moments. The book’s real magic is found in simple acts like watering plants and learning when to listen and when to just tip your head back and scream at the sky."—Booklist *STARRED*
* "In an ambitious and gracefully executed story, Graff covers a lot of emotional ground, empathically tracing Trent’s efforts to deal with a horrible, inexplicable accident and to heal the relationships that have become collateral damage along the way."—Publishers Weekly *STARRED*
* "Weighty matters deftly handled with humor and grace will give this book wide appeal."—School Library Journal *STARRED*
* "Characterization is thoughtful: Graff is highly sensitive to a sixth-grade boy’s limited emotional savvy and lack of tools to deal with this kind of pain, and Fallon is believably sympathetic."—BCCB *STARRED REVIEW*
“In Lost in the Sun, Trent decides that he will speak the truth: that pain and anger and loss are not the final words, that goodness can find us after all—even when we hide from it. This is a novel that speaks powerfully, honestly, almost shockingly about our human pain and our human redemption. This book will change you.”—Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor-winning author of The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
“Lisa Graff crafts a compelling story about a boy touched with tragedy and the world of people he cares about. And like all the best stories, it ends at a new beginning.”—Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago
A Tangle of Knots
“Lisa Graff has created a beautiful world of deliciously interconnected stories that draw you in.”—Abby West, Entertainment Weekly, A-
* “Subtle and intricate, rich with humor and insight, this quietly magical adventure delights.”—Kirkus Reviews *STARRED REVIEW*
* “Combining the literary sensibility of E. B. White with the insouciance of Louis Sachar, Graff has written a tangle that should satisfy readers for years to come.”—Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*
“Graff’s story has a warmth and gentle humor that, along with the premise, calls to mind Ingrid Law’s Savvy.”—Publishers Weekly
Lisa Graff's Awards:
Lisa Graff's books have been named to 30 state award lists, and A Tangle of Knots was long-listed for the National Book Award.
Top customer reviews
As the most remarkable children in the world gather at Camp Atropos for summer camp, little do they know that the camp’s director, Jo, has brought them together with her own purposes in mind. When a jar containing a mysterious talent is dropped in Lake Atropos, it sets off a series of events that will change the children’s and the camp director’s perspectives of their Talents forever.
A Clatter of Jars is a delightful fantastical tale weaving together the themes of family, forgiveness, jealousy, and self-acceptance. The story is told through the eyes of four characters (3 children and 1 adult), each of which is struggling with their own issues concerning their family. Children will likely be able to identify with the thoughts and emotions experienced by at least one of the characters, although the change in perspectives may be difficult for some children to follow. I also thought the inclusion of recipes for some yummy summertime drinks was an added bonus!
Also of note, I would recommend reading A Tangle of Knots prior to picking up A Clatter of Jars as I think it would have helped orient me to the story. The Prologue in particular was confusing for me and felt disconnected from the rest of the story. I also felt like it took a bit of time to get into the story, but once it got rolling, it was very enjoyable.
My Bottom Line: I recommend A Clatter of Jars to fans of magical realism looking for a fun adventure and a story with themes which are significant and meaningful to the target audience, 8 to 12 year old children.
* This book was provided to us by the publisher free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own.
This dealt with some of the lingering questions I had from the previous novel, while also maintaining the lyrical style.
A Clatter of Jars dealt with a lot of sibling issues as well as the complexity of relationships in blended families.
Lisa Graff creates amazing characters and such a vivid and beautiful world. The story had a little bit of everything-fantasy,magic, mystery, humor, and sadness. I highly recommend this book-particularly if you were a fan of a Tangle of Knots or if you enjoy a great middle grade fantasy. Overall, a very enjoyable read. Perfect for summer!