Tithe by Holly Black
(Yes, it has been a few weeks since there was a book report on the blog. I have been reading books, but life has prevented me from sitting down and writing about them. This review was written a few weeks ago, so excuse the effervescence!)
Wow. I love what you can find on the internet. I first heard about this book on the Urban Fantasy Land website. There was a link where Holly Black was writing about different covers being released for these books and I was curious to see what they looked like... then quickly linked to my library's website to see they carried it.
I repeat, wow. I had read one previous book by Black, and that was the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles that Willow and I read together. This book presents a definitely more adult view of the faerie (although not as adult as the Meredith Gentry novels). The main character, Kaye, is sixteen years old and a bit of a wild child - but ironically, more grown up than her mother, Ellen (an aging rock star wannabee). After one too many bad relationships and fights, Kaye and Ellen make their reluctant way to Kaye's grandmother's house at the Jersey Shore. Kaye had lived there as a child and had pleasant memories of her friends there (even though her mother claimed some of these friends were imaginary). She wants to see them again but thinks that perhaps too much has changed - and that she herself has changed too much.
Life is complicated now for Kaye. Boys, friendships with girls who become less friendly and more adversarial by the minute - she just wishes for something else. After a confrontation at a party, she runs off and finds a young man injured in the woods. She helps him, and in return Roiben promises her the answers to three questions. The answers to these questions and the power that they bring her are something that she never expected and yet fit her better than anything else in her life. Her only ally in this adventure is her friend's older brother, Corny. Corny is just as much as an outcast as Kaye - he is a gas station attendant, manga freak, and gay in small town, NJ. But more important than all of this is he believes in Kaye and is nihilistic enough to run headlong into danger for her.
This story has a neat twist to it - one I wasn't expecting and had me reading page after page until 3am. There are many unexplained questions to Kaye's background and identity - but questions I am willing to wait until I read the books that follow Tithe: Valiant and Ironside. I can't wait to read more of Kaye, Corny, and Roiben's adventures. It's hard for me to fathom that these are teen books - I didn't get that feeling at all. It is about teens, yes - but does that necessarily make it a teen book?