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VOYA -The magical tale of Shahrazad comes to life again; however, this time the legendary queen who told stories to the Sultan each night in order to save her life seeks help from another. Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl who loves to tell stories, accompanies her aunt into the Sultan's harem one day and her life is changed dramatically. Shahrazad's sister, Dunyazad, overhears Marjan telling a story to the children and takes her to Shahrazad. Marjan's story is one Shahrazad has not told the Sultan, and he loves it. The Sultan recognizes the story from his childhood and asks for the second half-but unfortunately, Marjan only knows the first half. Her adventures take off as she, Shahrazad, and Dunyazad track down the keeper of the story, a blind storyteller whom Marjan encountered at the bazaar.
This is more than just another account of Shahrazad's legend; Marjan learns her own life story and strengths. She is a wounded child, physically and spiritually, and her experiences in the harem and with Shahrazad and her search for the missing tale help Marjan heal. Each chapter begins with "Lessons for Life and Storytelling," which are echoed in that chapter. Marjan grows stronger as she learns each new life lesson. As the story progresses, the reader becomes more invested in the fate of Marjan and, consequently, the fate of Shahrazad and all young women and girls in the sultanate. Well written and engaging, young readers will enjoy this tale and perhaps may even take some of the "Lessons for Life and Storytelling" for themselves.
VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).