Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.
Samantha was born four days before the death of John Lennon. she grew up in Dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.
she spends as much time as possible in the west Texas desert.
A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON (Algonquin Young Readers, spring 2016) is her first novel.
This book was, undeniably, not the kind I would typically pick up. It read like a Western, but was most certainly not one. Its world was unclear, but not in a bad way. This book was made up of techniques and such that I typically dislike… But, All the Wind in the World made them work.
To start, the novel worked wonderfully with dialect. I recently wrote about Vengeance Road which is another novel that did this wonderfully. It is so rare to see YA novels that use dialects and accents to immerse the readers in their worlds. This little novel did that wonderfully – the character’s speech patterns clear and almost auditory to the reader. What was interesting about this, is that the world and its location were so very… unclear to me as I read. The dialect seemed a bit like an old western, with some modern slang thrown in.
Now hear me out, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Although I am very turned off by unclear world building and unclear location/era/etc (I think it hinders the immersion of a novel, if done poorly) this book pulled it off fairly well. I honestly could pinpoint or label nothing about this novel. This novel is written in a way that the characters and blog are hiding the plot twists from the reader as well as each other. This kept the readers guessing along with all the characters. The protagonists were keeping secrets from everyone, and that keeps those involved on the edge of their seat.
Overall, this was a really pleasant read. It was different from what I would usually pick up, for a lot of reasons. But, I really enjoyed it! The writing was unique and colorful, all the while holding underlying dark twists. The readers are pulled along on a bumpy, but intriguing, ride right along side the characters.
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