Recently, I was inspired by Anna at Diary of an Eccentric to start to read some YA fiction with my daughter, Emma, and let her hone her writing and analysis skills in a co-post with me. (Anna does this occasionally with her daughter as well). What a great way to bond with your kids and share the love of reading with them! YA is not necessarily my genre, but there are so many bloggers out there reviewing these types of books, I knew we could easily find something entertaining to both of us. Gossamer was one of those books on which I'd seen several glowing reviews. I ordered the book for Emma and the audio book for me from the library. Emma finished the book in two days, and I'd started listening to the audio in the car on the way to school and back (the Outlander Series has to wait until the kiddies are NOT in the car). Emma loved the book so much, she wanted to listen to the audio with me, and surprisingly my very boyish 9 year old boy became enraptured as well. Wonders never cease!
Gossamer is a magical tale about little creatures (like little butterflies or fairies in my mind's eye) that bestow dreams to humans. With a light, feathery touch they extract memory fragments from items in the humans' homes, and use them to transfer these memories back into the subsonscious as dreams while the humans sleep. My son Ryan commented that he thinks they come from God (which of course made me cry.) Adversely, there are also Sinisteeds, which are dark, snorting, aggressive horse-like creatures that attack the human psyche with nightmares.
Littlest One is a dream-giver-in-training, and is a lively, curious sweetheart. She is also very talented at bestowing dreams, and at her gentle "Gossamer" touch in gathering fragments. She and her mentor, Thin Elderly, become aware of a disturbing situation occuring at one of their "clients". A lonely, elderly woman is fostering an angry little boy who has been grossly abused by his father. Because the little boy is vulnerable, the Sinisteeds attempt to permanently damage the boy with vicious nightmares. A battle ensues between the dream-givers and the Sinisteeds for the boy's soul.
The definition of Gossamer is something fragile and delicate. Everything about this book is fragile and delicate, and is perfectly named. It is filled with a magical, twinkling, child-like wonder. It is beautiful and pure in its example of hope, and I don't think I've read anything quite like it. Despite everything I have said so far, however, I must warn you that the scenes of abuse imposed on the boy are troubling and heartbreaking. But patience and love prevails, as it should. I cried at the end. I would recommend it to young and old.
Emma's take: I really enjoyed Gossamer, although it was a little confusing for me at points. One thing I did like is all of the imagination used to write the book. It made me feel like I was really there. I thought that John's (the angry boy) behaviour was really mean, and it made me feel both angry and sad inside. I loved the character Littlest One. The way she is always talking and curious is so cute. This story made me want to read more from the same author. (Note from mom: The Giver is next.) I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.