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"Spollen interweaves elemental, evocative images of what is formless and boundless―water, air, grief, death―with what is solid and limited-earth, objects, human love and forgiveness. This enchanting novel starts quietly, draws the reader in and weaves a seductive spell that holds until the last page."
--Kirkus (starred review)
"I had come to know silence well during those months after my mother died. When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, but with weight, exactly like water."
Magda's mother always said the world was full of strange and beautiful secrets only the two of them could see. But now she's gone and Magda's world is flooded with anxiety and loneliness―and maybe, madness. As an imaginary family of bickering fish begins to torment her, Magda's only outlet is starting beautiful but destructive fires in the marshes near her house.
The Shape of Water is a darkly lyrical and surprising tapestry of the mundane and the surreal, in which Magda begins to untangle her family's secrets and search for a stable place in the world.
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Anne Spollen is the mother of three children. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals and have been nominated for Pushcart prizes. The Shape of Water is her first novel for teenagers. It began as a short story in Orchid: a Literary Review. She lives in New York.
Grade 7 Up—As 15-year-old Magdalena tries to cope with her mother's suicide, reality and fantasy clash until she accepts the truth of what really happened. The beach was their favorite place, and they often swam and explored together. Now, the girl's companions are a family of fish that live in her imagination. At first this device is somewhat off-putting, but as the pain surrounding her loss becomes apparent, it becomes more acceptable. Her father tries to help her recover from the trauma she has suffered even while he must also adjust to his own grief. Hannah, her aunt, helps with practical things at home. She seems like a strong, focused woman but her background unfolds in surprising ways. Magda's father eventually marries a widow who tries to deny the troubles of her teenage son until he winds up in the hospital after a suicide attempt. Gradually, Magda begins to come to terms with reality, and, as she does, the fish companions begin to disappear. Though at times confusing, this story is riveting, and Spollen's incredibly descriptive prose creates images as clear and alive as those of a master painter. It demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and would be a fine companion to Alice Hoffman's Indigo (Scholastic, 2002), a brief tale of loss that also uses water as a healing device.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Book Description Flux, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0738711012
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