What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. Boy joins some sort of traveling troupe (magic acts?), befriends the girl who acts as fortune teller (who really can tell the future). [s]

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message 1: by Jaina (last edited Aug 17, 2015 02:43PM) (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments Spoilers in the rest of this! The boy is almost caught for thievery at the beginning of the book. I think the girl from the troupe's prophesies actually come true most of the time, but when she's tired she just tells people they'll be "happy and wealthy" or something like that, because it's draining to really tell the future. Some creepy evil guy heard that she really can see the future, and when she tells him that he believes it will come true. I think he steals money from the troupe at one point, saying that her prophesy is coming true - he really is becoming wealthy, because he's taking their money.

Also, I think the girl might secretly be a princess. Or I might just have two books muddled together in my head. Either way, I'd love to find this story: somehow, a newborn princess was dropped through a hole in the castle floor into a river and floated downstream to a hut, where some sort of hermit guy raised her until he died and she went off to ?join the troupe.

I know it's all muddled, and most of the details are about the girl, but I think it might be a romance where the boy is pretty invested in what's happening with the girl. Not really romantic, though, that's more of a subplot. I'd really appreciate any help that you have!


message 2: by HeavyReader (new)

HeavyReader | 450 comments I would like to read this book! But sorry, I don't know what it might be.


message 3: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments I've been wracking my brain to come up with more details. I'm pretty sure that he joins a magical troupe because he becomes the magicians assistant. There's this one scene where the magician is blind-folded and then the boy goes through the crowd, picks someone and asks for some object that he has, and then the magician has to announce what object the boy is holding. I think it was a watch, and I specifically remember the boy said some certain code phrase from a list to cue the magician in (i.e. a watch would be "Let's see if the magician knows what this is," but if the object were a necklace then the boy would say "It's time to find out whether the magician can do this," etc.). I think he had some trouble memorizing the cue list.

Also, I think the book opens with him somewhere in the streets, possibly in the town surrounding the castle where the girl comes from, and either running an errand to the market or being chased by guards. Or possibly both.


message 4: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments I know it's a lot of rather muddled information, but I remember it very vividly. I'd love to find it (or them - this might be two books) again!


message 5: by Te'anna (new)

Te'anna | 1 comments Jaina wrote: "Spoilers in the rest of this! The boy is almost caught for thievery at the beginning of the book. I think the girl from the troupe's prophesies actually come true most of the time, but when she's t..."

Is it 'The Name of the Wind'?


message 6: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments Hmm, maybe. The parts about the boy in the troupe and the matter-of-fact use of magic seem right, but I don't remember anything about him going off to academy at some point - and I'm pretty sure he was an orphan or a runaway or something. His parents didn't own the troupe.


message 7: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (notemily) | 478 comments The Name of the Wind doesn't have a fortune-telling girl either.


message 8: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments Yeah, the girl is the one I'm mainly interested in. She was pretty dominant in the story, and I really loved her backstory.
Now that I think about it, there might be two books: one with a fortune-telling girl, and one with a princess. I might have just gotten them muddled because they both had troupes. Then again, they might really be one book and now i'm muddled and think one book was two. I really just can't remember.


message 9: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments Also, the hole the princess was lowered through as a baby likely was in a bell tower (or there was a bell tower involved somehow). The princess and the male mc show up at the castle 15-20 years later, possibly during some sort of crisis, and they meet the king. They figure out she's the princess by piecing together her story (also maybe she remembers a tapestry hanging near the trapdoor?). Later, she's in the garden walking around with her ladies-in-waiting and the mc is awkward around her. She doesn't like being followed around by a crowd, though. I can't remember anything that happens after that, though.


message 10: by Kris (new)

Kris | 33323 comments Mod
A guess - The Bullet Catch by Amy Axelrod?

Jaina, what year did you read this book(s)?

What's the location and time period (e.g., Earth, Victorian London, fantasy word)?


message 11: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments Kris: That actually looks like an exact match for the male mc/magician side of the story, but I actually read the book at least eight years ago and A Bullet Catch just came out in 2015. Sorry, I should have specified when I'd read it! Also, I think it was kind of like Joan Aiken's books: set in a historical world similar to ours, but different in some key ways. I would guess maybe 1700s in England, but I don't think they ever labelled it "England." A lot of the book is kind of rural, because they're travelling around putting on shows. I think they travel by some sort of horse-drawn contraption.


message 12: by Angela (new)

Angela | 436 comments Some elements of Westmark by Lloyd Alexander seem to fit. From Booklist:

"Apprenticed to a printer, Theo, lover of virtue and despiser of injustice, flees the city when his master is killed by the power-hungry Cabbarus, the king's chief minister. Theo falls in with charlatan Las Bombas, his dwarf attendant, and Mickle, a country urchin who has ventriloquist powers. The four travel the countryside of Westmark earning their way, much to Theo's dismay, through Las Bombas' magic fakery that stars Mickle in an oracle show. Hearing about their act, Cabbarus attempts to use it to force the king, who is distraught over his daughter's death six years before, to abdicate in his favor. Before Cabbarus' plan backfires, revealing that Mickle is really the lost Princess Augusta, Theo learns that justice as well as people in general are full of complexities."


message 13: by Jaina (new)

Jaina Rose (ireadtilldawn) | 52 comments Oh my goodness, yes! That is absolutely it. The story matches everything I remember, and the author absolutely clinches it. I was obsessed with Lloyd Alexander's Prydain chronicles at that point, so it makes perfect sense that I read one of his other books. I guess it's a sign of how much I like his writing that this one stuck with me for so long. Thank you so much, Angela! I'm requesting it right now from the library.


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