The Spindlers

The Spindlers

4.4 11
by Lauren Oliver
     
 

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Evocative of Alice in Wonderland, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver is a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty and the enduring power of hope.

Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash over her. Although her younger brother, Patrick, appears the same, Liza knows that he is

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Overview

Evocative of Alice in Wonderland, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver is a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty and the enduring power of hope.

Looking across the breakfast table one morning, twelve-year-old Liza feels dread wash over her. Although her younger brother, Patrick, appears the same, Liza knows that he is actually quite different. She is certain that the spindlers—evil, spiderlike beings—came during the night and stole his soul. And Liza is also certain that she is the only one who can rescue him.

Armed with little more than her wits and a huge talking rat for a guide, Liza descends into the dark and ominous underground to save Patrick's soul. Her quest is far from easy: she must brave tree-snakes, the Court of Stones, and shape-shifting scawgs before facing her greatest challenge in the spindlers' lair, where more than just Patrick's soul is at stake.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
In the tradition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Coraline, The Spindlers is a frightening and fantastical heroine's quest. It offers terrifying and delightful creatures, daunting tasks and plenty of magic—as well as an explanation for where all those missing glasses, baseballs and homework assignments wind up after disappearing…The humor and writing is playful and clever in all the right ways…
—Chelsey Philpot
Publishers Weekly
Liza knows the spiderlike Spindlers have stolen the soul of her brother, Patrick, when he spells “I H-A-T-E Y-O-U” in his Alpha-Bits cereal one morning. “And they had left this thing, this not-younger-brother, in its place.” Liza’s harried parents reprimand her for making up stories, so she ventures into the damp basement, crawls through the hole behind the bookcase, and falls into the world “Below” to save her brother. There, a gaudily dressed, loquacious rat, Mirabella, agrees to lead Liza to the Spindlers’ nests. Along the way, Mirabella introduces Liza to troglods, who sell lost human objects; the lumer-lumpen (glowworms); nocturni, who guard human souls; and other strange, frightening creatures. The terrain changes in dreamlike fashion as Liza travels through market, forest, palace, mountain, and more, making discoveries both terrible and hopeful. Themes of fairness, loyalty, betrayal, and redemption play out in Liza and Mirabella’s relationship, and throughout the underworld cosmos. Oliver’s (Liesl & Po) magical, mesmerizing quest affirms the saving power of story, friendship, and love. Ages 8–12. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Liza must venture Below to rescue her little brother's soul, stolen by evil, power-hungry spider people called spindlers, in this refreshingly creepy, intricately woven tale. A concealed hole in the wall behind a narrow bookcase in her family's basement is her entry, and amid loud scratching noises, Liza trips, falling down into the darkness Below. Mirabella, a giant rat who wears newspaper for a skirt, becomes her trusted guide to the spindlers' nests, which Liza must reach before the Feast of the Souls. But things are never what they seem in Oliver's vividly imagined world....An arduous, dangerous and fantastical journey ensues. As in the author's first terrific book for middle-grade readers, Liesl & Po (2011), there is a smorgasbord of literary references, including strong echoes of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is laced with humor and engaging wordplay, as well as riddles and death-defying tests and enchantments. Wholly original creatures populate the tale, some reassuring and wise, like the nocturni and lumer-lumpen, others wonderfully macabre (and ferocious), like the queen of the spindlers and the shape-shifting scawgs. In the course of her episodic quest, Liza discovers she is resourceful and brave; she sees things differently than before. Richly detailed, at times poetic, ultimately moving; a book to be puzzled over, enjoyed and, ideally, read aloud. (Final illustrations not seen.) (Fantasy. 8-12)
Shelf Awareness
Praise for Liesl & Po:“With her third book, Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall; Delirium) creates another highly original world, this one for middle-grade readers. Oliver introduces orphans Liesl and Will, a touch of magic, some delectable coincidences, and friendship that stretches from the Living Side to the Other Side.”
The Sunday Telegraph
Praise for Liesl & Po:“Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver brings much-needed magic to an increasingly neglected age group. It’s books like this, with its classic quest plot, intertwined with lyrical metaphysics, that can set a child up for life.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Oliver’s fluid, poetic prose elevates this tale above the genre, often imparting weight to the simplest sentences....this is sure to win over middle-grade readers.”
Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Lauren Oliver will again sweep up younger readers with her dark and illuminating tale...The novel pulses with great adventure and plenty of heart.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Oliver’s fluid, poetic prose elevates this tale above the genre, often imparting weight to the simplest sentences....this is sure to win over middle-grade readers."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Oliver’s fluid, poetic prose elevates this tale above the genre, often imparting weight to the simplest sentences....this is sure to win over middle-grade readers.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Oliver’s fluid, poetic prose elevates this tale above the genre, often imparting weight to the simplest sentences....this is sure to win over middle-grade readers.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
“Oliver's fluid, poetic prose elevates this tale above the genre, often imparting weight to the simplest sentences....this is sure to win over middle-grade readers.”
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
At breakfast one morning, Liza Elston discovers that her younger brother, Patrick, is missing. Although he is physically present, Patrick's fun-loving soul is missing. The parents are consumed with other matters that they do not notice the changes in Patrick's behavior. Liza believes that the spindlers took Patrick's spirit and left an imposter that resembles her brother. Their former babysitter warned them about the dangers of the spindlers. Liza must rise to the occasion and rescue her brother's soul. Liza heads down to the basement to the strange underground world where she meets a human-sized, talking rat named Mirabella. Together, the pair travels to locate queen of the spindlers to get Patrick's soul before the feast when the spider-like creatures consume the souls. Liza faces challenges and dangers that threaten the capture of her own soul. The illustrations are limited to small drawings of the characters at the beginning of each chapter. The plot moves quickly through the different tasks that Liza must resolve much like protagonists in other tales. Liza's journey has danger she must avoid, she works against time, and she must solve the queen's puzzles to reach Patrick's soul. Readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure may enjoy the Liza's quest to rescue her brother. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Patrick has always been a sweet, lovable child, but one morning Liza notices that her younger brother seems remote and somehow empty. Their parents are too preoccupied to notice, but Liza remembers eerie stories her beloved babysitter used to tell. She realizes that this not-Patrick is a changeling. Her real brother has been taken by the spindlers-spiderlike creatures that haunt the world below. These evil beings gather their power from the souls of those they steal, while the counterfeits they leave behind spawn more spindlers to prey on the human sphere. When Liza resolves to brave the danger and retrieve Patrick's soul, she meets Mirabella, a talking rat who claims to know the way to the spindler queen's nesting place. Together, they set off on their quest. The underground realm is filled with unusual residents-some amusing, some quietly beautiful, and some truly terrifying. Mirabella seems friendly and helpful, but the rat's cheerful demeanor hides a shocking secret. Ultimately, Liza and Mirabella must face their own tests of courage and sacrifice with not only Patrick's fate, but all of Below at stake. This imaginative fantasy emphasizes individual initiative and the power of hope and friendship. Below is a fully realized alternate world with echoes of both classic literature and mythology. This is particularly notable in its variety of inhabitants. Although the creatures are Oliver's own creations, such beings as the winged, dream-bearing nocturni and the shape-shifting, cannibalistic scawgs have the feel of true folklore. With strong, self-reliant female characters and well-defined action, this is a strong addition to fantasy collections.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061978081
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
508,563
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Lauren Oliver is the author of the teen novels Before I Fall, Panic, Vanishing Girls, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and are New York Times and international bestselling novels. She is also the author of two novels for middle grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was an E. B. White Read Aloud Award nominee. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the cofounder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com.

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