Susan's Reviews > The Grimm Legacy

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
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's review
Dec 21, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: juvenile
Read in December, 2010

Elizabeth Rew is used to being overlooked, whether it's by her bossy stepmother and stepsisters, her busy father, or the kids at school. Except for the tragic twist in her backstory (she lost her mother) Her life isn't exactly the stuff of fairy tales until a paper on the Grimm stories lands her an unexpected job at a highly unusual library which only gets more unusual--and dangerous--the more she learns about it.

Having worked at Chicago's Newberry Library myself once, I can vouch that as far as the inner workings of special collections libraries go, Shulman nails this dead on. The weird hierarchies of access and protocol, the strange, silent world of closed stacks, the quirky patrons, the quirky's all true. What Shulman doesn't always totally nail is tween/teen banter. While she paints a magical and mysterious atmosphere, her characters occasionally come off as a little flat and stilted when they're actually talking. Still though, the concept is undeniably cool and she works in a fair amount of suspense and pursuit into this intriguing mystery/fantasy/adventure where the reader is kept guessing. The pleasing crush-triangle side plot that develops is pretty low-key and innocent enough for the book to remain appealing even to kids/tweens who like the mushiness kept to a minimum. What might be the coolest part of the book though, is the interest it's sure to drum up for more obscure fairy tales as well as the older roots of the Grimm's marchen that these days have been Disneyfied past almost all recognition.

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