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COBWEBS by Karen Romano Young


by Karen Romano Young

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-029761-1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Nancy lives with her mother in gentrified Brooklyn in the downstairs apartment of her grandparents’ brownstone. Her father lives up the hill on the roof of a building in Park Slope, across the Gowanus Canal. Her family is odd. She spends half the time at her father’s and the other half with her agoraphobic basement-dwelling mother. Although she has enormous freedom to come and go as she pleases, she’s prohibited, with no explanation, from shaving her legs. As this is told from Nancy’s point of view, readers will be as mystified by her family as she—although she’s remarkably tolerant of their bizarre behavior. Spider puns and inferences abound, e.g., her dad, Ned (arachnid), is waiting for Nancy (Anansi, i.e., “egg”), as he affectionately calls her, to develop an unspoken talent. Nancy is drawn to a neighborhood boy, Dion, who seems to be following her, his own father trying to discover the “Angel of Brooklyn,” who readers will almost immediately suspect is Nancy’s father. That his family is supernaturally intertwined with her own is soon evident. Young draws readers into the story, thread by thread, until clues are woven together into a convoluted yet predictable conclusion. (Fiction. 12-14)