By Kristin Cashore
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Reading Level: 5th grade
Interest Level: 10th-12th grade +
Awards: Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature (2009),School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2008), William C. Morris YA Debut Award Nominee (2009), Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee (2011), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2010), Sakura Medal Nominee for High School Book (2010), Florida Teens Read Nominee (2010), Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award (ALAN/NCTE) Nominee (2009), Iowa High School Book Award Nominee (2011), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2011),Cybils Award Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2008), Green Mountain Book Award (2011), Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee (2011)
Teaser: Katsa has been gifted at one thing all her life: killing. Now she has to decide how she’ll use her gift.
Summary: Graceling is set in a world where some individuals are born with a “grace.” These individuals are born with two different colored eyes designating their “graced” status. They are extremely gifted in one thing. The main character, Katsa, is a graced teenage girl who happens to be the niece of the king. The king takes advantage of Katsa’s unique grace: killing. She struggles to find the good in herself because she believes her grace reveals the truth about her nature. When she meets Po, a prince graced in combat, she does not realize how much her life will change. She and Po form a team to find out who kidnapped Po’s father, along the way they uncover some unsettling truths about a gifted king. They must work together to bring him down or die trying.
Information about the Authors: According to Cashore’s bio on Amazon, “Kristin Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside as the second of four daughters. She received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Graceling, her first book, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Fire is her second book.”
Critical Evaluation: The reason that I like this book so much is because of the way that Cashore develops the setting and her characters. The setting is described with vivid imagery as well as by the way the world smells, tastes, feels. Rather than being weighed down with words, Cashore does a good job of building a sweeping landscape without slowing down the plot. Cashore’s characters are the same way. She develops them so well that when she reveals something new about them it’s in such a non-chalant way that causes the reader to think, ‘Of course! That character would totally do something like that.’
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalk Ideas: If you could have any grace what grace would you choose? Write one paragraph.
Challenge Issues: Supernatural, Death, Violence
Challenge Resources: Rationale for choosing this book (see “Why Did I Pick This”), Engage students and parents in discussions about intellectual freedom, ALA Library Bill of Rights,Challenge Resources from the American Library Association
Why Did I Pick This: I picked this book because it is one of my favorites of all-time! I think Graceling had a unique approach to the fantasy genre and I think other teens will really enjoy it too. If not for the kickass heroine, then for the steamy love story between her and Prince Po.
Cashore, K. (2008). Graceling. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.