CREWEL by Gennifer Albin


Age Range: 12 - 16
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Too many slubs in the fabric of this dystopian romance land it in the "irregular" bin.

In Arras, men control everything except reality, which is continually woven and re-woven by Spinsters, all women. They labor at the behest of the patriarchal Guild to maintain a post-apocalyptic utopia. Despite being rigorously coached by her parents to fail her aptitude test, 16-year-old Adelice shows her incredible talent at weaving and is wrested violently from her home to labor in the Coventry for the rest of her life. There, she draws the attention of two handsome young men with electric-blue (or cobalt blue, or sometimes just bright blue) eyes, the oily and evil power-hungry ambassador of the Guild, various catty Spinsters and the Creweler, the most powerful Spinster of them all, who extracts the material that forms the reality of Arras from the ruined Earth. Adelice narrates in the genre's now–de rigueur present tense, whipsawing readers through her guilt, grief, fear, revulsion and lust as she learns the power structures of the Coventry and plots to escape. A genuinely cool premise is undermined by inconsistent worldbuilding, fuzzy physics, pedestrian language, characters who never move beyond stereotype and subplots that go nowhere (including a well-meaning but awkwardly grafted-in gay rights thread). These last may reemerge in the sequel that will follow one of the slowest cliffhangers in recent memory.

It's clear that Adelice cares deeply about her fate; it's debatable whether readers will. (Dystopian romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-374-31641-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2012


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