Serenade by Emily Kiebel


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In Kiebel’s debut YA novel, a talented young singer learns that her gift is part of an astonishing family lineage.

Lorelei Clark is an aspiring singer attending a prestigious conservatory. Her decision to leave her home in Colorado to study music in Maine caused a rift with her mother, Cassandra, but she’s retained the love and support of her father, Andy. Tragedy strikes Lorelei’s family when Andy is hit by a car and killed while on a trip to visit Lorelei. While her father lies dying, Lorelei is overcome with an urge to sing to him. Following her father’s funeral, she receives a letter from Helen Deleaux, a great aunt on her mother’s side of the family. Helen invites Lorelei to spend time at her home in Chatham, Massachusetts, where she meets Helen’s niece, Calliope Deleaux, and a distant cousin named Deidre Malone. The visit goes well until the night Lorelei wakes up and sees the three women emerge from a fog hovering over the sea, singing in unison. When Lorelei asks Helen to explain what she saw, Helen tells her that all three women are sirens, mythological women who sing to sailors, luring them to their deaths. As Lorelei explores her gift, she faces a challenge that puts her life in danger. Kiebel’s fantasy boasts an intriguing premise and irresistible setting bolstered by an appealing heroine and well-drawn supporting characters. The use of music is especially effective. From the pieces Lorelei sings at the conservatory to the songs the sirens sing to the dying sailors, the music helps establish a solid tone that Kiebel maintains throughout the narrative. In addition to Lorelei, the sirens are intriguing and dynamic characters, especially Calliope, whose secret past with Lorelei’s mother could affect Lorelei’s future. The settings, just as important as the music, come alive in clever ways, including an exciting chase scene through the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Fast-paced with a vivid setting and strong focus on music, Kiebel’s novel will appeal to YA readers looking for a well-developed romantic fantasy.

Pub Date: July 15th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1940716046
Page count: 358pp
Publisher: SparkPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2014


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