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A Skinful of Shadows

By: Frances Hardinge

This is a dark YA historical fantasy set in the early part of the English Civil War.

ISBN: 9781419725722

JLG Release: Mar 2018


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language, Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Violence: Cruelty to Animals, Violence: Strong Violence, Violence: Death, Discrimination: Sexism
Topics: Spiritual possession , Supernatural , Ghosts , Families , Inheritance and succession , Identity , Great Britain , English Civil War, 1642–1649 , English Puritan Revolution, 1642–1660 , Aristocracy , Family secrets , Friendship , Fantasy and magic , Dark fantasy , Historical fantasy , Military and wars , Orphans

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Awards & Honors

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017, Young Adult
School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2017, Young Adult
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Teen Books
Shelf Awareness 2017 Best Books of the Year, Teen Books
2018 USBBY Outstanding International Books, Grades 9–12

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Makepeace is raised in a strict Puritanical environment by her single mother in 17th-century England at the brink of civil war. Right before her tragic death, the girl’s mother reveals information about her daughter’s parentage. In a quest to learn more about her ability to interact with spirits of the dead,
[STARRED REVIEW]
Makepeace is raised in a strict Puritanical environment by her single mother in 17th-century England at the brink of civil war. Right before her tragic death, the girl’s mother reveals information about her daughter’s parentage. In a quest to learn more about her ability to interact with spirits of the dead, Makepeace travels to Grizehayes, the home of the rich and sinister Fellmottes. There she befriends other Fellmotte illegitimate offspring, including one who becomes her best friend. The two constantly try to run away, but are always brought back because of their ability to be vessels for spirits. As the years pass, Makepeace is finally able to make her escape, but at a great expense. The sharp, intelligent protagonist is also keeping a secret of her own: she’s possessed by the ghost of a once-imprisoned bear, giving her preternatural abilities. The rich language, distinct and eerie world-building, and truly evil villains make this a layered, thought-provoking tale about power, friendship, survival, and love. Makepeace is caught between identities, religions, and loyalties. As she slips from one misadventure to another, meeting intriguing figures along the way, her fierceness and sheer will keep her alive and true to herself and those she protects. Hardinge continues to create multifaceted characters, well-researched historical settings, and laugh-out-loud dialogue that will enrapture strong readers of fantasy and complex historical fiction. VERDICT A book that only Hardinge could write; add this masterful and spooky historical fantasy to upper middle grade and YA shelves.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
Hardinge’s (The Lie Tree, rev. 5/16) latest tour de force is set during the reign of King Charles I against the backdrop of the 1600s English Civil War and is, as unlikely as it sounds, something of a mash-up of The Wizard of Oz and Get Out. When the orphan Makepeace is sent to live as a servan
[STARRED REVIEW]
Hardinge’s (The Lie Tree, rev. 5/16) latest tour de force is set during the reign of King Charles I against the backdrop of the 1600s English Civil War and is, as unlikely as it sounds, something of a mash-up of The Wizard of Oz and Get Out. When the orphan Makepeace is sent to live as a servant in the stronghold of the aristocratic Fellmotte family (she’s an illegitimate relation), she realizes that she shares the family’s ability to house the spirits of the dead—which the Fellmottes use to extend the lives and power of their Elders. Makepeace has already unwittingly absorbed the ghost of a young bear, whose “wild brute” behavior causes her difficulties at first. When her half-brother and only friend James runs away to join the regiment, taking the royal charter that grants permission for the nefarious Fellmotte “traditions” with him, and is then made an unwilling vessel for the Elders, Makepeace sets off to rescue him—and find the charter. On her fraught-with- perils journey, she collects more “passenger” ghost companions, from a doctor to a soldier to a mysterious and seemingly sinister noblewoman. Makepeace is a resourceful, brave, and intelligent protagonist, and readers will root for her and James’s triumph over the Fellmotte ghosts. The visceral immediacy of Hardinge’s prose (at times almost painful in its plethora of sensory details and its bleakness) can sometimes be unsettling, but the prose itself is always original and invigorating: “Lord Fellmotte was not a man. He was an ancient committee. A parliament of deathly rooks in a dying tree.” martha v. parravano

Book Details

ISBN

9781419725722

First Release

March 2018

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

416

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.9; Points: 17;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 6.3; Points: 25;

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Amulet

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language, Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Violence: Cruelty to Animals, Violence: Strong Violence, Violence: Death, Discrimination: Sexism

Topics

Spiritual possession, Supernatural, Ghosts, Families, Inheritance and succession, Identity, Great Britain, English Civil War, 1642–1649, English Puritan Revolution, 1642–1660, Aristocracy, Family secrets, Friendship, Fantasy and magic, Dark fantasy, Historical fantasy, Military and wars, Orphans,

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