Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Faust

Nayeri, Daniel and Dina. Another Faust. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2009.
[Book cover credit:]

Victoria doesn't win at everything. For this, her father is eternally disapointed in her. Christian's father has given up on life since the death of his wife. Everything is up to Christian now, finding shelter, stealing food, everything. Valentin's mother is a famous poet, and his father is a less famous drunk. He is well aware of what his father's lack of fame has cost him, even is his father is not. Belle knows she will never be as smart as her twin sister, so she irrationally hopes to become prettier. All that these four sad children have in common is their desperation, what they are willing to trade to get what they want and, more importantly, with whom.

This is a nice break from the current trend in paranormal/magic/otherworldly teen lit (or at least the stuff I've been reading). Instead of making a vampire or witch or werewolf into a good guy, Another Faust features four teens who actually make deals with the devil. And that's bad. None of them end up being good guys, though there are varying levels of bad. Two of them are saved from their hellish fate by the one teen in their group who never made the deal, a secret fifth. She was good in the beginning and she remains good through to the end.

Evil doesn't always look like evil, but once you realize who is evil in this book, they remain so. And they are really evil. I mean, these kids have traded their souls to the devil for beauty, fame, power, and wealth. The devil is their nanny. Living in high society New York, they call her their governess. Throughout the book, the teens are all doing their governess's bidding as she plans to bring powerful people into her grip through them. It never really becomes clear what the devil's big plan is, though it is clear that the plan is well thought out and complicated. Her plan is kind of abandoned as the teens break rank and try to regain their souls.

Even with some confusing moments and more than a few loose ends, I felt that this book ended in a satisfying way. I was completely sucked in to the story and glazed over the gaps and holes while reading. I would imagine that many others will do the same.

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