Books by Tracy Barrett

Tracy Barrett is a professor of Italian language and literature at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Cold in Summer, a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and Anna of Byzantium, an AL


MARABEL AND THE BOOK OF FATE by Tracy Barrett
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

"Poor execution distracts from the story's important themes of female empowerment, tolerance, and inclusion. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
Princess Marabel of Magikos goes on a quest to save her twin brother, Marco. Read full book review >
Released: July 7, 2016

"Accessible and entertaining, these stories provide a thoughtful, fresh take on a classic subject."
Seventeen lesser-known Greek myths get energetic retellings in this collection for readers 12 and up. Read full book review >
THE STEPSISTER'S TALE by Tracy Barrett
ROMANCE
Released: June 24, 2014

"Highly imaginative as well as insightful, this outstanding revision has the power to entrance and provoke thought. (Romance. 12-18)"
Despite the singular title, this clever and sensitive retelling of "Cinderella" takes the viewpoint of the supposedly evil stepsisters and turns the story inside out. Read full book review >
DARK OF THE MOON by Tracy Barrett
FICTION
Released: Sept. 19, 2011

"A world and story both excitingly alien and pleasingly familiar. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)"
Ariadne weaves a new tale in a historically rich reworking of Theseus and the Minotaur. Read full book review >
KING OF ITHAKA by Tracy Barrett
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 14, 2010

In this hero's quest drawn from Homer's Odyssey, Telemachos, only child of Odysseus, King of Ithaka, has waited 16 years for his wandering father to return from the Trojan wars while his dutiful mother, Penelopeia, fends off would-be suitors. When a stranger challenges him to find his father, Telemachos consults an oracle, who prophesies Ithaka will have a king only after he searches for Odysseus and returns "to the place that is not, on the day that is not, bearing the thing that is not." Adventure follows Telemachos as he sails to Pylos and travels cross country to Sparta with his centaur pal, Brax, and their (human) female chum, Polydora. He chronicles this perilous journey in the first person, allowing readers to witness his metamorphosis from an immature, self-centered youth to an appealing leader who eclipses his famous father in strength, bravery, generosity and compassion, fulfilling the cryptic prophecy. A rousing introduction to epic characters and mythic creatures of ancient Greece from the fresh perspective of an engaging young hero. (Fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2009

It's one thing to discover that Sherlock Holmes was your ancestor. It's another thing entirely to attempt to find the solutions to his long-unsolved cases. Back for their second adventure, Xena and Xander Holmes find that their family vacation to the sleepy village of Blackslope yields yet another mystery for them to solve. When a mysterious howling is heard by our heroes, none of the townspeople want to discuss it. Why? It appears that one of Holmes's unsolved mysteries involved an elusive Blackslope beast, never captured. The siblings pursue a variety of clues and, after some false starts, unmask the true culprit. Barrett plunges right into the action from the first sentence, giving fans of classic mysteries exactly what they want: thrills, chills, a plethora of suspects and plenty of red herrings. The solution to Holmes's beast-related mystery is presented as more of an afterthought than anything else, but it's doubtful any young fans will particularly care. A fun series continues unabated. (Mystery. 8-12)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2008

Upon moving to their new home in London, siblings Xena and Xander Holmes immediately discover a strange but true fact: They are the direct descendants of the great detective Sherlock Holmes and have inherited his casebook of unsolved mysteries. One might think it presumptuous of two children to assume that they could succeed where the legendary sleuth had failed, but, kids being kids, they do not and find themselves almost immediately wrapped up in a case involving a missing painting. Following leads, conducting interviews and applying a little old-fashioned know-how help the Holmes kids discover the truth behind the portrait's mysterious subject and the location that has kept it safe and sound all these years. Barrett presents readers with great characters and a believable mystery solved credibly (with the help of somewhat less-than-convincing photographic memories). A strong start to what will undoubtedly remain an enjoyable series. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
ON ETRUSCAN TIME by Tracy Barrett
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2005

Eleven-year-old Hector, spending the summer with his archaeologist mother at a dig near Florence, unearths a strange eye-shaped stone at the site of what was once an Etruscan village. The artifact brings on nightmares about Arath, who lived two thousand years ago and was in terrible danger. The stone transports both boys back and forth into each other's time. In Etruscan time, "Heck," invisible to everyone but Arath, is horrified to learn that the boy is to become a human sacrifice at the hands of a cruel relative. The story of how Hector works to foil the plot in the past and to make a remarkable discovery in the present, based on knowledge gleaned from his other-life experience, is fast-paced and suspenseful. The author imbues her fantasy with plausibility and peppers the text with fascinating shards of ancient history and archeology. A good read appended with an author's note and Etruscan-English and Italian-English glossaries. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
THE ANCIENT GREEK WORLD by Jennifer T. Roberts
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2004

In the wake of Joy Hakim's fabulous A History of US, the publishers are pairing historians and novelists for similarly readable, meaty tours of more ancient cultures. Here, paying particular attention to the roles of women and repeatedly noting that the cultural and economic achievements of the Greek city-states rested solidly on the backs of farmers and slaves, the authors trace the rise and fall of Crete, Mycenae, Classical Greece, and Alexander's empire, interspersing topical chapters, illuminating side notes, and even an interview with a working archaeologist. Photos of artifacts and ruins, plus an admixture of carefully identified Renaissance art, support it all nicely. Leavened with engagingly informal commentary—"It's very tempting for someone who isn't governed by any laws to get a little relaxed about the difference between right and wrong"—and capped with substantial supporting lists of books and Web sites, this may not measure up to the likes of John McK Camp's World of the Ancient Greeks (2002) in the visuals department, but for clarity, scholarship, and readability, it rises easily past the general run of assignment titles. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)Read full book review >
COLD IN SUMMER by Tracy Barrett
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2003

No way does Ariadne want to spend her seventh-grade year in a hick town in Tennessee just because her mom got a job at the university there. She's lonesome, missing her best friend back in Florida. When she meets a girl with a long braid and wearing a faded blue dress and brown boots alone in the woods, who says she lives where "it's cold in summer and warm in winter," Ariadne feels strangely drawn to her. Intrigued by the murky 100-foot-deep lake where her family lives, Adriadne's social-studies project on the creation of the lake and the dead town underneath it becomes the eddy that swirls the mysterious circumstances together. Is the girl, May Butler, a ghost? How can Ariadne take her home? Plenty of foreshadowing and obvious clues point to the answers, but it's not where the plot goes, rather how it gets there that makes the story compelling. A genuine ghost story without coincidental explanations that will draw readers eerily in. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >