The Folk Keeper
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The Folk Keeper

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,677 ratings  ·  193 reviews
She is never cold, she always knows exactly what time it is, and her hair grows two inches while she sleeps. Fifteen-year-old Corinna Stonewall--the only Folk Keeper in the city of Rhysbridge--sits hour after hour with the Folk in the dark, chilly cellar, "drawing off their anger as a lightning rod draws off lightning." The Folk are the fierce, wet-mouthed, cave-dwelling g...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 1999)
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Nandakishore Varma
I usually don't read YA: just picked up this book at a garage sale without knowing what it was, read two pages and abandoned it. I went back to it only because I wanted a slim volume to keep up my book count for the reading challenge... but now I am glad that I did. Good for goodreads!

I am in two minds about this book. The premise and story are superb, and the characters are drawn with a few deft brush-strokes. But this book is too thin, almost an outline for a novel than a novel itself. The beg...more
Nikki
The Folk Keeper is like a prototype for Chime. Something about the narration, the tone, the characters. I still liked it, though, even if not as much as Chime -- it's shorter, lighter, and it does have details all its own: Corinna has her own lovely-strange powers, her own story.

If you liked Chime, The Folk Keeper may seem like an easier, shorter version, but it's still very good. I read it all in one go, and apparently my train stopped in Cheltenham without me even noticing...
Karen
The Folk Keeper is set sometime in the past when we travelled by horse and coach and villages grew and raised their own food … and people had to worry about controlling ‘The Folk’. Corinna, the main character, cuts off her beautiful long hair, wears trousers and masquerades as male adolescent, Corin. Only males can be Folk Keepers and this is what Corinna, now known as Corin, wants to do with her life. She’s secretly listened into the conversations of other Folk Keepers, bribed secret lessons fr...more
Emmy
Once I started reading I couldn't put this book down. It was storming outside my window and I was huddled by my lamp devouring Billingsley's words. I stayed up the entire night reading and when I finished I was left wishing for more. I can probably credit this book for making me realize that writing doesn't have to be a boring and daunting activity. If I could find the right words I could make the exciting stories in my head come to life on paper for other people to enjoy.

I still get a little t...more
Sarah Mayor Cox
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nafiza
Franny Billingsley has magic in her fingers. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she has magic in her mind. There are conventional ways to create characters and then there's the Franny B. way. Her protagonists (I've read three of her books so I know what I'm talking about) have this certain quality of otherness. This, how do I say it, unearthliness to them that make all of them just so fascinating to read.

Corinna is no different. The story is told in the first person and from the v...more
jo mo
Very, very unusual book. It would have been a great advantage being more fluent in English, because I'm not sure I understood all of it. Don't get me wrong, the story as a whole was easy enough to understand, but being doomed to failure, because of the little things? I have this feeling, I could have enjoyed it a little more, without this hindrance.

Corin/na is brave, vengeful, patient, stubborn and very, very smart. She's afraid that people will constrain her freedom, take away her rights once t...more
Jackie
Corin/Corinna is the ‘folk keeper’ at Rhysbridge. She controls and tends to them, so that they will not create havoc on the people of the village. They have been known to sour the milk, kill the crops and harm the animals. So they must be appeased. Corinna knows that only boys can be folk keepers. She disguises herself. She is called to a new village to become the folk keeper of Lord Merton’s people. Lord Merton mysteriously knows her secret and eventually Corinna learns of other secrets, too. H...more
Millenia
Jun 16, 2014 Millenia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!! I mean it. EVERYONE!!!
There is so much to love about THE FOLK KEEPER, but if I had to say one thing about it, I would say that it is a perfect example of the Iceberg Theory.

In case you don't know, the Iceberg Theory describes the writing style of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway thought that if the writer was skillfull enough, she could give the reader minimal information in the narrative, a surface story if you will, but write in such a way that the underlying story "shines through" (as Wikipedia puts it), even if none o...more
Alpa Dedhia
It is a day of yellow fog, and the Folk are hungry. They ate the lamb I brought them, picking the bones clean and leaving them outside the Folk Door.


writes Corin(na), The Folk Keeper of Rhysbridge in his journal, Folk Record (this novel).Dear readers, The Folk Keeper as a book, as a novel, is a personal journal of Corin Stonewall.So please bear with me as i refer to the book, this story, as the Folk Record henceforth in this review.



Corinna Stonewall is a 15 year old orphan who changes herself to...more
Nina
Corinna Stonewall deigned avoid her fate as a servant girl, and knowing that boys have it better, she dons boy's clothing, cuts off her hair everyday (her hair grows two inches every night), and learns the trade of the Folk Keeper. The folk keeper tends to the feared Folk, who lives underground constantly angry and ravenous, spoils the milk, rots eggs and meat, and ruins crops. But when she is summoned to Merton Hall to be its new Folk Keeper, she discovers haunting, dangerous, and liberating se...more
Sarah BT
Franny Billingsley has a new book coming out this month called Chime, which has everyone raving and already has six starred reviews. The kidlit world was buzzing with news of a new book by this author and I felt very out of loop-I had never heard of Franny Billingsley before! But then I realized it's been 11 years since her last book and I was in high school when it was released, so I felt a bit better about not knowing anything about it. While The Folk Keeper was critically acclaimed, it didn't...more
Minli
I read this because I loved Chime so much and raved about it to everyone. A friend said she had no idea Chime was coming out, but she had read The Folk Keeper many moons ago and enjoyed it, and did I want to borrow her copy?

The answer was obviously yes. Reading The Folk Keeper illuminates my reading of Chime a bit more--the similarities are striking, both in tone and plotting. But as I collect more people's reactions of Chime, I have to acknowledge that it does maybe start slowly. Billingsley's...more
Lainy
Blurb from the back cover

Corinna Stonewall is fifteen years old and an orphan. She is also Rhysbridge Foundling Home's Folk Keeper - a difficult and dangerous job which consists of looking after and controlling 'the Folk' - spiteful, maverick, savage creatures who live in the cellar and will only be prevented from spoiling the milk, terrifying the livestock and other disruptions by gifts of cream, salt pork and similar luxuries. But there are many questions about Corinna. Who are her parents? Wh...more
Amy
I grabbed this off of the shelf of new books at my elementary school library. (Thanks Alice!) While it seems from the outside to be a young adult fantasy based on folk legends, the first few lines tell us immediately that this is another thing altogether. "It is a day of yellow fog, and the Folk are hungry. They ate the lamb I brought them, picking the bones clean and leaving them outside the /folk Door." These are not your everyday sprites, trolls, tree spirits, or mermaids from the fairy tales...more
Anne
Somehow, Mrs. Billingsley always write a love interest who is not necessarily a perfect Adonis and not handsome in the general sense of terms. But he still ends up being an endearing man who continues to entertain and tug at my heartstrings. This book has given me some sound advice: a guy need not be physically attractive to serve as an amazing lover. This love story though, was only a subplot compared to the viscous counterpart of the mystery of The Folk Keeper herself. The mysterious circumsta...more
Michelle
Corinna is a survivor. Not only was she able to transform herself into a boy named Corin to escape the drudgery of life as a female orphan but taught herself to become a Folk Keeper in the process. As a Folk Keeper, Corinna is responsible for watching over the elusive and sometimes dangerous Folk that live underground. Relatively happy with the control she now has over her life, Corinna suddenly finds herself at a loss after she is whisked off to Marblehaugh Park, a wealthy family's seaside mano...more
Mina
I intsantly loved the cover to The Folk Keeper. It was one of the main reasons I picked it up. It's so very different to other covers of YA books. It has somthing magical to it. And do you know what? The Folk Keeper it self was truly magical.

Corinnna Stonewell. Gotta love her name! She's fifteen years old and an orphan. Although, she remains strong and is one hell of a charcter. However, there's something about her that's lost. Corinna has many quaestions. And so obiously, she wants some answers...more
Beth
Hmmmm. I'm still compiling my thoughts on this one, mainly wondering if I would be more impressed if I'd read The Folk Keeper before the superior Chime. This book feels like the precursor to Chime, the I'm-still-working-things-out on the author's part - things like mood and the delicate balance of eerie and fey, like better-integrated descriptions and language. I realize that some might think Chime to be overly long or endlessly narrated, but its language was so nuanced and lovely that the The F...more
First Second Books
The language in this book is wonderful!

The other thing that I love most about this book is the vindictiveness of the main character. Corin (or Corinna, as the main character is a girl masquerading as a magical boy) is very clear about always having to reinforce his chosen position in the universe, generally by making unpleasant things happen to people who do not respect his position in the universe. Aside from this not being very nice (niceness being possibly an overrated quality anyways), it is...more
Brown


Insufferably full-of-herself Mary Sue alert.

And the funny thing is, I'm really not at all impressed with such a narcissistic, shallow, self-centered fool (who we're supposed to think is wise or something...?)

The over-dramatic prose will have you rolling your eyes as well.

"I was dragged and bounced up the path behind Finian, setting off waterfalls of stone from the cliffs, but mere rivers of blood from my knees."

Ooookay.

And who says "But not I" nonsarcastically?? *facepalm, facepalm, facepalm*

I...more
Janice (Janicu)
Young adult fantasy. Corinna is a folk keeper, someone who lives in the cellar and keeps evil spirits from escaping from below and entering the castle and world above. Disguised as a boy named Corin, she learns her craft and becomes very good and soothing the Folk, but one day she is offered a new job at Cliffsend by a dying man and dark secrets start to come to light..
Despite how dark Corrinna's job seems, this story is much more lyrical fantasy than horror. I found this story satisfying.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
a most unusual fantasy, set in a world somewhat orthogonal to (Victorian?) England (?). The fairy folk, selkies, a lost heiress...it's a bit like a classic melodrama mixed in with some folk-infused fantasy on one level, but the power, strangeness and evocativeness of the narrative kicks it into another level. A somewhat tidy ending for my tastes once again but I'm starting to realise that I possibly only like incredibly bleak endings or open endings.
Christine
Jan 21, 2009 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Avril!
I found myself wishing this book was longer - would have worked well as a longer book, I think, the fantasy world was certainly interesting enough. I absolutely loved the description of Corinna's first kiss - it was one of the most original metaphors (similes? bah) I've ever read.
Julia
I thought the book was well-written enough, but I really despised the protagonist. She was cruel and self-absorbed. The characters did not have much depth, likely due to the short length of the book.
Clara
This is a wonderful tween book, possibly too scary for younger children but with magic and wonder enough for grownups too, and the author was a child when she wrote the book.
Sarah
Listening to this story was fine... ok... adequate. I think I did not care very much about the main character, which is a problem in my mind.
Sarah Mayor Cox
Brilliant, shows how complex a 1st person narrative can be if written as brilliantly as Billingsley does
Andrea
I need to reread this, but I remember it absolutely sweeping me off of my feet when I was younger.
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While Billingsley's first novel, Well Wished (1997), was warmly received by critics, a year ago she was a virtual unknown within a publishing climate that regarded fantasy as a specialty genre. Today, her name is on the lips of booksellers and reviewers throughout the country.

Franny Billingsley was not always a writer. She graduated from Boston University law-school in 1979, and worked for 5 years...more
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Chime Well Wished Big Bad Bunny

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“It is true that I can trip over anything and nothing – a speck of dust, a patch of sunlight, an idea. I move through life like a person with one eye, through a landscape that looks flat, but is really tricked out with hidden depths and shallows. It didn’t use to be so, but no matter. I navigate the world well enough in my own way.” 18 likes
“Imagine a world without shadows. You cannot touch a shadow, but a world without them is a hard world, and flat.” 13 likes
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