CURSES, INC. by Vivian Vande Velde


Age Range: 12 & up
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 An uneven collection of ten short stories by Vande Velde (Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird, 1995, etc.) that treats spell-casting in modern, historical, and timeless settings. The title story is a breezy computer tale, in which eighth- grader Bill outrages a girl by uninviting her to a dance at the last minute. Her subsequent treatment of him inspires him to order a curse from an on-line service that will cause her dog to be lost for a period of time for a fee. That curse, and each successive one, benefits her more, until a neat twist brings the clever tale to a close. Another ambitious tale, ``The Witch's Son,'' set in the time of the American Revolution, is well drawn and poignant, but suffers a weak ending. ``Remember Me,'' a strong story, presents food for thought about the link between memory and identity, and then backs away from a satisfying conclusion. The stories are least effective when imitating folk tales, and most effective when both plot and setting are vital enough to make an impression. Vande Velde is often amusing, and fans of the previous book will be entertained by this one, but an introduction and afterword about how the book came to be, who gave it a title, and where ideas come from sound superfluous and indulgent. (Short stories. 12+)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-15-201452-7
Page count: 226pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1997


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