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The Onion Girl (Newford Book 11) (Newford #8)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,931 Ratings  ·  391 Reviews
In novel after novel, and story after story, Charles de Lint has brought an entire imaginary North American city to vivid life. Newford: where magic lights dark streets; where myths walk clothed in modern shapes; where a broad cast of extraordinary and affecting people work to keep the whole world turning.At the center of all the entwined lives of Newford stands a young ar ...more
Published December 1st 2008 (first published 2001)
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Archeia Muriel This book is not quite a stand alone book. You have to understand from the prior books as to what happened to Jilly and how she ended up where she…moreThis book is not quite a stand alone book. You have to understand from the prior books as to what happened to Jilly and how she ended up where she did. It is very complex. There is more to the background of Jilly hinted to in the prior books. Charles dips into many aspects of various folklores across the world in his books. I have read so many of them I have lost count. Would have to look in my bookcase.(less)
C. Scott Kippen All of De Lint's books can be read as stand-alone. This one, however, is better if you have at least read a good portion of the other Newford stories…moreAll of De Lint's books can be read as stand-alone. This one, however, is better if you have at least read a good portion of the other Newford stories (books or short stories). It is fine stand-alone, but the weight of the story is better if you have gotten to know the character of Jilly better before you read this one. Same goes for Widdershins, but that is because it really is a direct sequel and wraps up Jilly's story.(less)
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Arielle Walker
I've read a fair number of Charles de Lint's books now - eleven at last count - and have been very aware of the darkness at the edges of many of his stories. While this one doesn't quite meet Mulengro in terms of pure horror, or even Moonheart's more fantastical evil, The Onion Girl is probably the darkest yet, because it deals with an especially human brand of awful.

Finding out Jilly's backstory is bittersweet. We now know where she comes from, and can greater appreciate her strength of spirit
David Katzman
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of de Lint
This isn’t a fantasy novel because it takes place half on Earth and half in a Spirit World that exists as a backdrop to all of reality. This isn’t a fantasy novel because it features wolf-headed, shape-shifting original people and crow girls. No, this isn’t a fantasy novel because there are fairies and Native American Earth spirits who share their wisdom. This is a fantasy novel because most of the characters in the story give a shit about each other.

That’s right. Pretty far-fetched, huh? de Lin
This is the book where Charles de Lint delves into the history of everyones favorite character: Jilly Coppercorn. It goes into how she came to be the person she is, and the catalyst that forces her to come to terms with her past. We find "magical-so-open-minded-her-brain-may-fall-out" Jilly has an unfortunate past that is echoed in many womens lives. The book also weaves together the colorful collection of characters de Lint has created over the years in his Newford short stories.

I prefer de Li
Aug 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: idiots and those trapped in the realm of faerie
Shelves: abandoned
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time...
Once upon a time...

What a clunker. I heard from the rest of the bookclub ladies that it wasn't great, but I was willing to give it a chance. Mistake.

I made it to page 49 and refused to proceed any further after reading this dreck:

"I believe in a different kind of magic," Sophie said. "The kind we make between each other. The kind that comes from our art and how it can change us. The world doesn't need any more than that."

Ugh. Irritating FruitCakey Artistes w
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book that I did not want to let go of once I started the first paragraph. The story of Jilly, her incapacitating accident, healing old wounds, and adventures in the otherworld (or dreamland or whatever you prefer), of course. Unforgettable characters that question what it means to be bad or good and what causes those circumstances.

Be warned though that this book deals pretty heavily with sexual abuse/molestation and difficult backgrounds including homelessness, violence, and prostitut
Chantal Boudreau
As I’ve mentioned before, while I’m a fantasy fan, I am very much a selective fantasy fan. Mr. De Lint is one of those fantasy authors – in his case urban fantasy – whom I have read before and I will definitely read again. There is a solid dose of realism to his fantasy fiction, the type of gritty biting edge, in places, that I adore. His characters are far from perfect (as characters should be in order for me to be able to relate to them), they go through great struggles and pain and they don’t ...more
Stephanie Swint
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have never read anything by Charles De Lint prior to listening to The Onion Girl. It is a very good book. I was suprised at how well he mixed the faerie world into what would be considered our world. The book is dark and I saw in reviews that it was very depressing and hard to read. I would say while it is a book that deals with dark issues it is one of hope and redemption. You do have to stick with it to get to the hope and redemption.

The book deals with issues of sexual abuse, at times grap
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I was actually rather disappointed in this book. I'd had so many people tell me I just HAD to read Charles deLint if I was interested in Urban Fantasy. This was the first book I've read by him and although it hooked me right in the first paragraph, it became quite bogged down and getting through to the end took sheer effort for me. Where he really lost me was in the middle where he gets far too pedantic and preachy. I read fantasy to escape, not to be lectured. If this is what Urban Fantasy is a ...more
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy or surrealism; people interested in magic and native/indigenous folklore/traditions
Shelves: fantasy
Charles de Lint is the Man of urban fantasy writers. I really appreciate and respect his ability as a middle-aged man to return to a place of youth and wonder, as well as inhabit and develop female characters. It is impossible to not love Jilly Coppercorn. Her sister, Raylene, at first monstrous, is also supercool. De Lint eases the reader into empathy for her and and understanding of the roots of her violent, alienating, and callous ways. Joe Crazy Dog and his friends are pretty much bad asses ...more
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A friend of mine introduced me to this wonderful author by giving me this book. It is a fanatastic blend of reality and fantasy. It makes magic and folklore believable and real. DeLint also tells many of his stories using the same characters, though they aren't really serial. You really get to know Jilly and her friends but you can read the books in any order. I love all of his books and urge anyone who wants to believe in magic to check them out.
Heather G Gentle
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was entirely bizarre but in a good way. It's a little hard to follow at the beginning going between worlds and several different view points but once I got used to that I really enjoyed it. Raylene's narrative was tough to read but once I got to know her character even she was intriguing. I would have liked to spend more time exploring the "other world" -- maybe in the sequel?
This is a fairly complex read with many interesting characters and overall I found it a wonderful read!
Masha Toit
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A difficult book to read. Onion Girl deals with the effects of child abuse, on the survivors and everyone else in their lives. I cant say I enjoyed it, exactly, but it is a compelling read. Charles de lint manages to get you to sympathise with characters who in another book, would be the villains. And no - those are not the abusers. The abusers are almost peripheral to the story.

He also manages the incredibly difficult task of writing about fairies, sprites and other magical beings without seemi
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Charles de Lint is one of the finest writers, and he writes a form of fantasy that is so accessible to people who don't necessarily want to read the fantasy that includes fairies, wizards, dragons, and castles. This is urban fantasy, it takes place primarily in our present-day world, in a city called Newford. The characters tend to be young adults, musical and artistic, well-read and complex.
The problem with De Lint is he's just not nearly as imaginative as he thinks he is. His "flights of fancy" are flat and derivative at best. Even worse, in my mind; he can't write believable dialog, friendships, or young people. At all.
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this fantasy book and would recommend it, as well as Charles de Lint’s books in general, to anyone who likes modern-day fantasy, especially if they like books that are character driven and maybe a little slower-paced than other stuff on the market.

Despite that, though, this particular book comes with a few strings attached. Not to start with a negative, but I’ll just be up front about it and explain what the strings are.

For starters, it would be good to just point out that this bo
This was my second go around with this title and I didn't like it as much as I did the first time. I like the idea of the dream world and the faerie characters in the world as it is. I just didn't find it as fantastical as I did the first time. Maybe I will pick up another title by de Lint, maybe I am not done with his stories.
Adela Bezemer-Cleverley
Excellent. Excellent, excellent, excellent!

I don't think I've ever read an urban fantasy that wasn't YA, and this was a perfect book to start with. Thanks to my dad for recommending Charles de Lint to me!

The Onion Girl is the 8th book in the Newford books, but it doesn't seem to really matter. At least, it wasn't confusing at all. As far as I can gather there isn't really a chronological order to the books, since they all follow different characters with storylines that intermingle at one point
Lori Gibbany
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. loved how sleeping world, real world, fairy, and magic all combined. Was shocked by some of the language probably because I had not encountered a book with even curse words lately but they fit in perfect it wasn't for shock value. I thank my friend for the recommendation.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book, I have many (conflicting) opinions about it. On one hand, I found it amusing and overall, well, enchanting. On the other hand, I found it highly unrealistic (beside the faerie and dreamland element) and that the author was trying to paint a picture of something he didn't fully understand (yet, he captured a few things very well, like Raylene's programing skills).
The story revolves around the parallel yet radically different lives lived by Jilly and her little sist
Nicole Pramik
Apr 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of de Lint, Fans of unique urban fantasy, Literary-minded fantasy fans
This book was my first foray into the works of Charles de Lint, and while I wasn't entirely frustrated by it, it wasn't my cup of tea.

For starters, I actually remembered seeing this book in a local book stores years ago as the cover stuck with me. Its ethereal background and mysterious figure in the foreground were enough to make me think this would be an equally ethereal, mysterious, magical read for adults.

On a positive note, I appreciated this story's willingness to utilize a dream scape and
Lis Carey
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
(De Lint has given a lot of attention, in his Newford stories, to the subject of child abuse; be warned that sexual abuse of young children is front and center in this book. It is not, however, excessively graphic.) Onion Girl is another of de Lint's urban fantasies set in the mythical Canadian city of Newford, this one focussing on the life and traumas of the normally irrepressibly cheerful Jilly Coppercorn.

On the opening page, Jilly is hit by a car, and lands in the hospital with a broken arm
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
more like a [9/10] but I really liked it, and since Goodreads doesn't allow half stars I went for the higher rating. de Lint gets a little New Age preachy towards the end, but since I agree with most of his rants it didn't really bothered me and the writing is very good. He also seems like a nice guy given the musical references he mentions in the intro and the computer geeky stuff that is included in the text.
I appreciate most about the book the way he managed to balance the devastating cruelne
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved, 2000s
I adored this work of art! Yeah I said it, work of art!
Though it does need a trigger warning, there is child rape involved here. Its not gone into detail but it is just enough to upset someone who hasn't been forewarned.
Damn, this story was just simply fascinating, much attention was given to every single little detail.
You are drawn right into this world and you will find yourself caring deeply about the characters and their well being. There is a ton of drama, damn there really is a ton of tr
Abby Brithinee
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Why, oh why have I never read Charles de Lint before now? I'm already in my mid-twenties, which means that a decade and a half of pure literary enjoyment has been lost! I guess I'll have to make up for lost time.

I was super happy after I finished the first book I've read by de Lint: The Onion Girl (by the way, I want the dress Jilly's wearing on the cover). He's a spectacular writer, getting into the gritty of things, bringing his readers the magic that lives in the places that are too dark to s
To start - this was an audio book for me, and the reader of the book did an AMAZING job. I think she was just as crucial to my enjoyment as the story itself.
Perhaps because I tend to do a lot of light reading (young adults, or romance, fantasy etc) this writing and storytelling in this book just seemed amazing to me. When I went to post on Goodreads that I started this book I realized it was #14 (or so) in a series. This is the first book I ever read from this author and I don't think I missed o
April Wadsworth
Jun 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This novel is a fantasy novel with an urban setting. The story follows the life of a talented painter, Jilly Coppercorn who has the ability to dream herself over into the Dreamlands or Faerie.
The story line begins with Jilly in the hospital, struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident. Her body has been bruised and broken, and she finds that she is able to enter the dreamlands while asleep. Despite concern on the part of her friends, she becomes more withdrawn from the harsh realities of her wrec
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Every once in awhile I read a book that makes me want to push it on all my friends and say: read this, NOW! This is one of those books.

I was hooked from the first page. Jilly Coppercorn is a fantastic heroine. The intermingling of magic and myth is just too good for words. Jilly and her friends have wonderful worlds to travel, heartbreaks to heal, abuse to overcome, and strength beyond imagining.

I reached a point 100 pages from the end where I felt dread. I had a preconceived notion of where thi
Aug 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So between 3rd grade and probably 10th I read science fiction pretty exclusively, but then kinda grew out of it. Since college or so, I'll occassionally grab something from one of my old favorite authors (Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, etc.), but generally I've kinda been over them. I've really enjoyed the two Charles De Lint books I've read (including this one), however, I think because they're more character driven (i.e. how will the paralyzed girl adjust to not resuming her form ...more
The title alone caught my interest, for I, too, believe people are Onions. We are all made up of layers: experience, beliefs, scars...There are about 20 out of the first 50 pages that are less than interesting. It was the writing style...the tedious descriptions of a room or Character's Mood...When I wanted nothing more than to read about Jill and Raylene, the author forced unnecessary information down my mental throat. But the pain went away. When the Minor characters once again became Minor, a ...more
Nora Peevy
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint is my new favorite Newford novel, even though it's an older one. de Lint does a remarkable job explaining the origins of the character, Jilly Coppercorn, the beloved fae artist of his fictional town. As usual, de Lint blends world mythology into a modern tale seamlessly. I personally related to Jilly as the proverbial onion girl, as I am sure all of us can. We have all overcome painful obstacles throughout our lives. And it is how we deal with those challenges t ...more
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Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's b ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Newford (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1)
  • Memory and Dream (Newford, #2)
  • The Ivory and the Horn (Newford, #3)
  • Trader (Newford, #4)
  • Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5)
  • Moonlight and Vines (Newford, #6)
  • Forests of the Heart (Newford, #7)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (Newford, #9)
  • Spirits in the Wires (Newford, #10)
  • Widdershins (Newford, #11)

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“People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your sub¬conscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.” 106 likes
“There's more to life than just surviving . . . but . . . sometimes just surviving is all you get” 52 likes
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