The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. (Grades 7+) G.P Putnam's Sons, July? 2010. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.
Do you believe in magic?
Elizabeth does not have your average after-school job. She works at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library containing all sorts of objects, some commonplace and some very rare. The rarest of all are housed in the special collections, including the Grimm Collection, a collection of magical objects from Grimm fairy tales. Seven league boots, magic mirrors, enchanted cooking pots... Elizabeth, already a fan of the Grimm fairy tales, finds it almost too good to be true! But when Elizabeth discovers that objects from the collection are disappearing and losing their magic, she's got to try to find them before it's too late and these precious items are lost forever!
This is a delightful book! In fact, I picked it up right after I got it, intending to just read the first few pages, and I found myself not putting it down until I was done. I got caught up in this magical world and didn't want to let it go.
Polly Shulman builds a fascinating world inside the Repository and she makes it seem so realistic that I actually Googled it when I finished the book to see if such a thing really existed. (It doesn't - at least as far as my brief Google search could tell me.) Ms. Shulman also builds a believable and relatable set of characters. I appreciate the fact that Elizabeth's new friends come from different cultures (Anjali is East Indian-American, Marc is African-American, Aaron is Jewish...), especially since they're in New York City where it's logical that Elizabeth would meet people from different backgrounds. I also appreciated that the cultures played a role in the story (but not the central role in the story). It's not just mentioned once that Anjali is of Indian descent - Elizabeth visits her house and eats an Indian meal with her family, etc.
Definitely hand The Grimm Legacy to fans of Sarah Beth Durst's Into the Wild, and it's sure to please any fan of fairy tale retellings. The ending leaves the way open for sequels and I'm hoping that we'll see more of Elizabeth's adventures in the Repository!
Good Reads has the pub date listed as July 8, but I've also seen a May pub date. So, fairy tale fans, put it on your TBR list and look for it this spring/summer!