Books by Clare B. Dunkle

Clare B. Dunkle worked for years as a librarian. She lives with her family in Germany. Her first book, The Hollow Kingdom, won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and was named a Publishers Weekly "Flying Start," a Bank Street College of Education Best Book, and

Released: May 5, 2015

"This memoir contains moving snapshots of a young woman's struggles with anorexia nervosa, but readers may be frustrated by omissions of key moments in the recovery process. (Memoir. 14 & up) "
This co-authored, mother-daughter memoir recounts daughter Elena's five-year struggle to overcome anorexia nervosa after her diagnosis at 17. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 28, 2010

Pagan magic, Heathcliff's back story and a lot of scary dead maids: Dunkle's knack for the creepy (By These Ten Bones, 2005) sets spines tingling. Woodcut-style chapter-head illustrations ratchet up the spook factor, especially those depicting corpses and ghosts. When Tabby becomes the "Young Maid" at Seldom House, she finds herself in a strange world, where she is expected to do little other than look after a bloodthirsty, nameless little boy, the "Young Master." Seldom House and the neighboring village have no church, and dead maids haunt Tabby. Gradually she realizes she and the Young Master are marked for sacrifice ("It's an honor to be given to the land," one of the villagers tells her). While it seems clear from the start that Tabby will survive (she narrates the story from a later vantage point), it is not until the end that the connection to Wuthering Heights becomes clear. For readers familiar with Brontë's novel, the final connection is a masterstroke; even those who don't get it will find this a keeper. (Horror. 12 & up)Read full book review >
THE WALLS HAVE EYES by Clare B. Dunkle
Released: Aug. 3, 2009

Like its predecessor The Sky Inside (2008), this sequel posits that no corrupt government is so powerful that it can't be toppled by a boy and his robot dog. Frustrated with his uselessness among the genius children who make up the anti-government rebels, Martin and dog Chip return to domed Suburb HM1 to rescue Martin's parents. In the ruins of an old-style outdoor suburb, Martin and his comfort-accustomed parents live a parody of a Leave It to Beaver lifestyle, unable to cope without television and convenience food. Ultimately, going it alone won't be good enough, and Martin and his superpowered robot dog must confront the heart of the evil powers keeping his society subjugated. In a genre populated by gifted, destined and otherwise special child protagonists, Martin's pure normality is a breath of fresh air. After an overly expository start, this simple tale provides comforting, enjoyable adventure. (Science fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
THE SKY INSIDE by Clare B. Dunkle
Released: March 1, 2008

Martin's strictly regimented suburban life changes when he gets a robotic dog for his 13th birthday. In Martin's domed suburb, citizens watch game shows, show their patriotism through shopping and vote daily on such issues as the color of the president's drapes. The only disruption in their lives is the presence of the aggressively argumentative genius children who comprise the suburb's youngest generation. Martin's six-year-old sister Cassie is one such Wonder Baby, and he's frustrated with her constant questions. Bigotry against the Wonder Babies is on the rise, and it seems only Martin and his inexplicably intelligent dog are willing to defend them. With his dog's help, Martin discovers his suburb's dark secret. Though not everything makes sense (how exactly did Martin end up with a modified superdog?), Martin's quest makes for a solid, compelling entry in the isolated-dystopian-community genre. In a world well-stocked with genius children, the point-of-view focus through an ordinary boy with questionable free will provides a compelling shift from the expected. (Science fiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

The Hollow Kingdom trilogy ends as it began: with a kidnapped bride falling for her captor. Human Miranda has been raised as the promised bride to the goblin heir, Catspaw. After the death of Marak, the goblin king and the target of all Miranda's affection, she's ambivalent about her impending marriage. Miranda looks forward to wealth and Catspaw's affection, but misses Marak and is lonely in the goblin kingdom. On the eve of their wedding, Catspaw is forced by circumstance to wed a frightened elf maiden instead of Miranda. After storming off in a sulk, Miranda is kidnapped by the irresistibly handsome lord of the elves. Inevitably, she comes to love her captor, and the elves and goblins, enemies since time immemorial, discover common ground. After all, both races kidnap terrified young women into forced marriage, so how different can they really be? A trilogy, which opened with some promise, sadly resolves without ever growing beyond a disappointing collection of feeble, uninteresting heroines. Not a substantial contribution to the strong genre of romantic fantasy. (Fantasy. 12-15)Read full book review >
BY THESE TEN BONES by Clare B. Dunkle
Released: May 1, 2005

Just as in the old ballads, true love defeats horror when magic strikes a Scottish village. The handsome traveling woodcarver who's come to her tiny community fascinates Maddie. The village's belligerent leader, Black Ewan, shanghais the carver's drunken companion to help with the harvest and Maddie is pleased that he and his friend will be around for a while. But that very night, a ferocious beast attacks the village, and the carver is found bleeding and feverish. The villagers think the carver heroically fought off a monster, but Maddie suspects the more sinister truth: The handsome and likable youth is afflicted with a terrible curse. The only cure, the dismayed girl learns, is almost more dreadful than the disease. The archetypal romance and blend of Christianity with paganism fits well among these lovingly described medieval Scots. The carver, less fawningly described than the heroes of Dunkle's previous books, is correspondingly a richer and more compelling character, and Maddie's initiative is endearing. (Fantasy. 12-14)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

Racial integration through wife-napping makes for awkward fantasy, despite a compellingly intricate structure. Baby sister Emily of The Hollow Kingdom (2003), a human in the goblin world, has grown into a lovable young woman. Emily's adored by her goblin friend, elf-like throwback Seylin, but doesn't understand his awkward words of love. Spurned, Seylin leaves the goblin kingdom to avoid Emily and search for the long-lost elves. Alas, the remaining elves are ignorant, near-extinct, poverty-stricken misogynists, and only goblin magic can save them. While Seylin quests for elves, and Emily leaves goblin lands hunting for Seylin, the all-wise goblin king arranges the capture of the remaining elf women. Their perfectly chosen goblin husbands are far superior to the crude elves; kidnapping and involuntary marriage proves the elves' salvation. Disturbing gender roles, excessive moralizing, and a rushed and incongruous conclusion keep this sequel from achieving its rather strong potential. (Fiction. 11-14)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

Dunkle pens an inconsistent fantasy. Orphaned Kate and Emily have come to live in the family home, Hallow Hill. Kate thinks she's being watched, and she's right: the king of the goblins—grotesque, but strangely appealing—wants to carry her away to be his wife. Wickedly taunting, King Marak never quite prevails over the resourceful Kate, until Emily disappears and Kate bargains away her freedom in return for Emily's safety. Alas, it was not the honorable and smitten Marak who was the kidnapper, but the girls' wicked guardian. Nonetheless, Kate and Marak are married in a bizarre ceremony. Emily's gleeful at living underground among goblins, but Kate misses the stars. When a wicked sorcerer steals the spirits of Marak and his subjects, it is up to the unwilling bride to save them all. Frequently magical, with compelling plot twists, but weakened by awkward timing and uneven structure. (Fiction. 11-15)Read full book review >