The Little Match Girl finds her way to modern-day Canada in this haunting adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s bleakest fairy tale.
After moving from big-city Montreal to rural Ontario, all Jack wants to do is settle into 12th grade, make some friends, and date a cute girl. Instead he begins seeing visions of a starved matches-selling waif in 19th-century Copenhagen amid a lugubrious fog that makes everything else disappear. As Jack and his new girlfriend, Lucy, race to discover the Match Girl’s hold over them, it becomes clear that the Match Girl doesn’t simply want a visitor. She intends to keep Jack in her world…permanently. In her latest novel, Bennett splits the narration among Jack, the Match Girl (now named Klara), and Lucy, a talented artist whose physical resemblance to Klara is uncanny. The result is an absorbing narrative that tempers its dark subject matter with humor and boasts three white protagonists with distinct personalities, ambitions, and fears. Klara’s interior monologue is particularly intriguing, as it gives nuance and agency to a character known for suffering in silence. Discovering the connection among the protagonists is half the fun of this teen mystery, which also uses Klara’s obsession to remind readers of the damage selfishness and loneliness can cause.
A definite crowd-pleaser for fairy-tale enthusiasts and fantasy lovers. (Fantasy. 14-18)