Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan. If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.
Lisa Graff adds a pinch of magic to a sharply crafted plot to create a novel that will have readers wondering about fate and the way we're all connected.
Praise for A TANGLE OF KNOTS:
"[A] blithe magical puzzle." --Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal
"Lisa Graff has created a beautiful world of deliciously interconnected stories that draw you in." --Abby West, Entertainment Weekly [A-]
"Subtle and intricate, rich with humor and insight, this quietly magical adventure delights." --Kirkus Reviews [STARRED]
"Graff’s story has a warmth and gentle humor that, along with the premise, calls to mind Ingrid Law’s Savvy." --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Lisa Graff is an award-winning novelist whose books have been named to a total of 15 state award lists. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and is an adjunct professor at McDaniel College. She lives in New York City.
Praise for A Tangle of Knots…
A book's title can be as much a warning as an enticement, so let readers ages 9-12 beware: They'll need to pay close attention to keep straight the many intertwined characters in Lisa Graff's blithe magical puzzle "A Tangle of Knots" (Philomel, 240 pages, 16.99). Here we find ourselves in a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in which most people have a striking "Talent." Cady has a talent for baking the single most delicious cake for anyone she meets; Zane has a talent for long-distance spitting (surprisingly useful, it turns out); others have talents for origami, whistling, knot-tying and getting lost. Alas, the villain of the tale has a talent for stealing other people's talents, and it's his thievery that propels events through one twist after another until, like a magician's trick rope, all the narrative knots disappear at the end, with a flourish.
-Meghan Cox Gurdon
A- Author Lisa Graff has created a beautiful world of deliciously interconnected stories that draw you in. It looks an awful lot like our world, but things are slightly off. It's a world with magic running through it. One where people have Talents — that's right, with a capital "T." At the heart of it all is Cady, an orphan whose baking skills are unparalled. She's particularly adept at sussing out the perfect flavor of cake for a person, whether they know it or not. (In fact, each chapter begins with a cake and recipe, with names like V's Mystery Fudge Cake. Graff is said to have baked each of the recipes.)
It soon becomes clear that Cady is unknowingly tied to a group of people staying at a boarding house above a lost luggage store: a family with three spirited kids, a woman who's lost the ability to speak, a loner, and the grouchy owner. If Cady is at the center of the story, which is told from multiple viewpoints, the thread through the tale is the large man in the gray suit enigmatic grin that 'suggested he knew more about the world than he's letting on.' He shows up just in time to give a nudge in the right direction to those who need it, imparting a little insight about fate along the way.
Things get slightly confusing near the end as all the pieces come together, but the sheer enjoyment of the building storyline and a careful read of Graff's lyrical style mitigates that.
**STARRED REVIEW** A mysterious man in a gray suit, an assortment of vintage, powder blue suitcases and a beguiling orphan girl with an amazing talent for baking cakes are among the tasty ingredients in Graff’s delicious new novel.
Multiple, varied characters intersect to reveal long-held secrets and imaginative connections. Cady is the only orphan remaining at Miss Mallory’s Home for Lost Girls in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where people are either Fair or Talented. Those who are Fair, like Cady’s friend, Marigold, envy those like Cady with a special gift. Cady’s is for baking: She can look at any person and immediately know the flavor of their favorite cake. Cady makes the most beautiful cakes, guaranteed to win the hearts of their recipients—and baking-contest judges. Marigold, meanwhile, has no special Talent, and the mysterious, nefarious Owner has more than his fair share. Graff weaves a miraculous tale of whimsy with the same attention to detail as a master chef. Carefully blending past mistakes and regrets with future wishes and dreams, she shows us the power of loving ourselves and the pain of living in the past. The narrative shifts from character to character, always in the third person, revealing bits and pieces of the story; occasional cake recipes are sprinkled throughout.
Subtle and intricate, rich with humor and insight, this quietly magical adventure delights. (Fantasy. 8-12)
America’s got Talents in this cozy novel from Graff (Double Dog Dare), set in a contemporary world in which certain people have specialized abilities, from levitation to spitting perfectly. Eleven-year-old orphan Cady has a Talent for baking—not only does Cady create the most delicious cakes around, she innately knows what someone’s “perfect” cake is. When she gets adopted, her Talent helps unravel the mysteries of her past, but it also puts her in danger of losing her ability. Set mostly in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Graff’s story has a warmth and gentle humor that, along with the premise, calls to mind Ingrid Law’s Savvy. The author flips neatly between the perspectives of multiple characters, and the intricate connections between the narratives come together in a pleasing way as secrets are revealed. Readers who share Cady’s love of baking will appreciate the inclusion of several cake recipes, like Marigold’s lime pound cake and Mrs. Asher’s honey cake, which are mentioned throughout the story and tied to key characters. Ages 8–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.)