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Toads and Diamonds

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,770 ratings  ·  328 reviews
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.

It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,770 ratings  ·  328 reviews

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Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
When I was younger I had a favorite picture book called "The Talking Egg" by Robert D. San Souci. Two girls are told to throw things over their shoulders, one girl is rewarded with jewels, and her less the kind sister, frogs and snakes. My love for that picture book is what drew me to this book in the first place. The intial concept in this book was original and beauitful. It discusses the meaning of "gifts" and "curse" and how, sometimes, our hardest trials might be our greatest blessings. That ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
2.5 stars.

Hooray for sisterhood! But I'm honestly just whelmed. I don't think I can even write a proper review for this because I have so little to say about it. The characters are okay but don't change much; the pacing is very slow and Tana's story is much more interesting than Diribani's in that it has more movement.

Diversity: I suppose all the characters are POC? The setting is clearly India-inspired and the characters are from religions that resemble Hindu and Islam. Skin colors are never de
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, mythic
AWESOME IDEA. Toads and Diamonds always seemed like a really unjust fairytale, with a lot of ecological and economic problems to boot. One sister is polite to the faerie/goddess and is in turn granted with a gift: jewels and flowers fall from her mouth every time she speaks. The other sister is rude--well, at least abrasive--and gets snakes and amphibians instead. So the author does some really great things: she tells story from the points of view of sisters who don't hate each other, though the ...more
I’m rather amazed I’ve never heard of Heather Tomlinson until the Book Smugglers reviewed this book and her other, The Swan Maiden. For all that this book had some problems it was still really well written, and Tomlinson deserves more recognition.

The greatest part about the book was the fact that Diribani and Tana love and admire each other. In the original fairy tale, of course the sisters are polar opposites and the abrasive one hates the perfect one. Tana and Diribani aren’t the same, either
After reading and reviewing so many stupid books, it makes me very happy to introduce a good one.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson takes place in an imaginary land - the Hundred Kingdoms - very similar to India under Moghul rule during the 1500s - 1700s. The natives worship twelve gods and practice vegetarianism. The invaders are monotheists.

Diribani and Tana are the daughters of a poor widow. Diribani is beautiful and kind. Tana is plain and snarky, but clever. In a twist patterned on a P
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I was slow getting into this one, but it was because of the book I read before it. I had some major book hangover! The quality of this book following on the heels of Ship of Smoke and Steel was just bad juju. There is no comparison between them! This book felt like a middle-grade after that exceptional read by Wexler. Definitely bogged me down with disappointment for the first third of this.

Aside from the writing quality though, this little standalone centers around an India-inspired setting. So
Melissa Souza
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, retellings
4.5 stars

OMGosh!!!! Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. Heather Tomlinson has a wonderful writing style. The story was about faith and sisterly love with a touch of slow burn romance. It was a great retelling of a classic folklore. I would have given the book 5 stars but I wished the ending was tied up better, but that's a negligible complaint to be honest. After my previous book, I wanted to read something that was deep. This book delivered. It was lyrical, evocative and breathtak
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This book started off a little slow for me but eventually picked up. It was interesting to see how each of the two different "blessings" bestowed upon Dribani and Tana by the goddess Naghali-ji affected their lives in different ways. They both learned and grew from the experience.

One thing that really irked me about this book is that so much time is spent developing the relationship between Dribani and Prince Zahid. So much stress was put on the fact that their was little hope they could end up

A very interesting riff off the old fairy tale. In this version, set in an alternate India during the Mughal Empire, sister and step-sister are both blessed by the goddess Naghali-ji, whom they encounter at the community well: from Diribani's mouth come flowers and jewels when she speaks, and from Tana's lips spring the lucky frogs and useful, rat-eating snakes the villagers value so highly. Still, both blessings can be awkward, and the girls follow separate and often difficult paths in their qu
Nora Daniel
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
***So this is kinda spoilery - but really - I wouldn't recommend this book in the first place so yeah read the spoilers and save yourself time from reading the book. Or don't read on and be kinda sorta spoiled. Up to you - ***

UGHhh this book put me in the WORST reading slump. The book is just under 300 pages and it took me from Feb to May to finish it!
I checked it out from the library because it was recommended as a book type I like - fairytale retellings. This was likened to the Princess and t
Kaira M.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Diribani lives with her stepmother, Ma Hiral, and her stepsister, Tana in their humble abode, set in their fictional hometown of Gurath. They may suffer economically, but their family is a happy one. One fateful day at the water-well, Diribani has an unexpected encounter with the divine goddess Naghali. Diribani is granted a miraculous gift; delicate blossoms and precious jewels fall from her lips when she does so much as to utter a word. When envious Tana is sent to the well, she is not too sur ...more
Trina (Between Chapters)
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: young adults, fairy tale lovers
Recommended to Trina (Between Chapters) by:
Toads and Diamonds is a retelling of an old fairy tale by the same name. The retelling is set in India and has a lot of names I couldn't pronounce, which is a minor annoyance. The author made up the religions and kingdom in the book, but the whole culture was very rich and interesting and well thought out so it seemed real. She was good at painting pictures of scenery, so I was never bored by this book. The ending happened pretty abruptly and although it wrapped up the story line of the main gir ...more
Small Review
4.5 stars

A pleasant reading experience

Ah, I so loved this book. Reading Toads and Diamonds was like settling into a hot bath after a long, hard day. I just laid back and allowed myself to float into the story. The pacing was languid, but not slow, moving along with the almost dreamy quality of fairy tale retellings. Though I prefer fast paced books, the pacing of T&D is perfect for the story. Just like you wouldn’t gobble down a Godiva chocolate, T&D requires a pace that allows you to savor the
More like three and a half stars.

Sisters Diribani and Tana are blessed and cursed on the same day: After they each meet an old woman at the local well, pretty and polite Diribani finds flowers and gems dropping from her lips with every word she speaks, while Tana, plain in looks and blunt in speech, gets toads and snakes. They soon draw attention for their gifts, both welcome -- and not.
The Good: This re-telling of the classic fairy tale is set in a sort of pre-colonial India which suits the s
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous book both inside and out! With a beautiful mix of mythology and fairy tale/folk tale feel, with goddesses and gifts that could be blessings and curses.

The story is one that I think I've heard before, two girls meet a woman that is a Goddess in disguise (could be a fairy or something other, cannot remember the first time I heard it) and each of them get a different gift/curse. For one diamonds and flowers drop from her lips everytime she speaks and for her sister it's toads and snakes
Jamie Dacyczyn
May 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: retold-tales
This book retold a new fairy tale for me. Two sisters, one is polite and gets rewarded by having gems and flowers fall from her mouth when she speaks, the other is rude and is rewarded by having toads and snakes fall from her mouth when she speaks. This sort of reminds me of a childrens' book I read when I was younger called "The Talking Eggs" (in which there are two sisters, one who is kind and can follow directions, and is rewarded with riches. The other is rude and greedy, and is attacked by ...more
Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca L
this book was very good but, hmm, anti-climatic? I'm not usually into 'split' views on books but as far as that category goes this one was actually pretty good. I enjoyed Tana's chapters the most as I found her the most interesting. Diribani was just ok, not a big fan of her but she was ok as far as heroine's go. The one thing I really liked abut this book was there wasn't any of the usual the girls get into the trouble and the boys have to come save them, it was refreshing and nice to have Tana ...more
Sandra Strange
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
It's always nice to discover a prize winning book that deserves the prize. This one's another novel based roughly on a fairy tale, with a bit of cultural history thrown in. Set in a kind of India of the Maharajahs, where invaders of a monotheistic religion are ruling over the polytheistic natives, the story concerns sisters who are "blessed" by one of the goddesses--one to strew flowers and diamonds when she speaks, the other to produce frogs, snakes and toads when she speaks. The story is their ...more
A retelling of a Cinderella tale. Two sisters meet a fairy; one is apparently rewarded while the other is punished. But which is which?
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bit slowly paced which might put off some readers, but I loved the setting, the fairy tale-ness, and the sisterly love.
Kellie-Ann Knights
Sep 01, 2016 marked it as to-read
It was a good description but I want to know if I can read the entire thing one time.
It sounds like a mystery, suspense and love
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nice different take on a classic fairy tale- Diamonds and Toad- slow start, but neat location
This book has been on my to-read list for what feels like forever, so when I saw it featured at my library I decided enough was enough. I can definitely see what would have drawn me to it many years ago, but I think it’s not as great a fit for me now.

- the two protagonists, as well as the rest of the cast, are Indian

When sisters Diribani and Tana encounter the snake goddess Naghali-Ji at their local well, they’re each given extraordinary gifts: Diribani the ability to speak gemsto
Allisa White
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: retelling, ya
Toads and Diamonds is a beautiful retelling of the fairy tale The Fairies. Until around five minutes, I'd never read the actual fairy tale, but I knew the story thanks to Gail Carson Levine's hilarious retelling The Fairy's Mistake. This one has a more serious nature, but since it's for a YA audience and not for children, that makes a lot of sense.

For those of you who don't know the story, it's about two sisters. One is gifted with jewels and flowers coming out of her mouth, and the other is cur
Elizabeth Ann
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
There are mixed reviews about this book, but if you know what to expect, I think it is an enjoyable read. The story is based off a French fairytale, so it is written like a modern day fairytale. It negates all the casual, emotion filled writing of typical young adult books. Its more straightforward.

I agree the pacing could be better. It did get slow during the middle and that led to the end being slightly rushed in my opinion. There were a couple of side plots that could've been fleshed out mor
Amy Aelleah
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
So boring. Boring, boring, boring.

Objectively, it's a good book. The writing is pleasantly inoffensive, the world is fully realized with lots of background and descriptions (which, now that I think about it, contributed to the boring for me). There's a strong friendship and sisterly bonds between the two stepsisters and, even though they are very different, their love and respect for each other is obvious.

However, I just didn't care. The book was at its best when the sisters were together and th
Apr 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Everything that shines is not gold. This phrase is elaborated in this book with the help of two sisters. If you are looking for a book that you can give a tween that has a good lesson and is also interesting, then this is the book for you.

As an adult I liked it, but did not love it. I would recommend this book book for the younger audience.

Book Summary
This a story about Diribani and Tana. Diribani goes to the well for some water and ends up meeting a Goddess. The Goddess is happy with Diribani a
Bernadette Durbin
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Toads and Diamonds is an endlessly adaptable tale. I've seen versions of this fairy tale where the girl blessed with jewels falling from her lips ends up in an abusive relationship; I've also seen a variant where the jewel sister crashed the economy, while the insect and snake sister thrived with her oddities museum.

This version, inspired by 16th-century India, has both the stepsisters blessed, in different ways. Their country understands the value of snakes, even as they avoid the dangerous one
Roslyn K
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya-lit, 2010-2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Heather Tomlinson grew up in California and New Hampshire, graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in French literature. After teaching English in France and French in the United States, she worked at a book wholesaler. Now she writes the kinds of novels she likes to read.

Heather lives on a sailboat in southern California with her engineer husband, her baby boy, and cats X, Y, and Z.

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