Under Shifting Glass [NOOK Book]


Jess has a secret: a mysterious glass flask she finds in an heirloom desk's hidden compartment. Its surface swirls with iridescent colors, like something's inside, something almost like a song, something with a soul. No one else sees anything under the shifting glass, but Jess is convinced there must be some kind of magic in there. And when her twin brothers are born critically ill, Jess begins to believe that the force within the flask just might hold the key to saving her brothers—and her family. In this ...
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Under Shifting Glass

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Jess has a secret: a mysterious glass flask she finds in an heirloom desk's hidden compartment. Its surface swirls with iridescent colors, like something's inside, something almost like a song, something with a soul. No one else sees anything under the shifting glass, but Jess is convinced there must be some kind of magic in there. And when her twin brothers are born critically ill, Jess begins to believe that the force within the flask just might hold the key to saving her brothers—and her family. In this emotionally rich novel, award-winning author Nicky Singer crafts a world of possibility that is steeped in hope and the power of love.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Life’s fragile nature is the underlying theme of Singer’s contemplative novel about Jess, published in the U.K. in 2011 as The Flask. Jess is struggling with the recent death of her beloved great-aunt and the birth of her conjoined twin brothers, who may not survive the operation necessary for their separation. When she finds an 18th-century glass flask in which she sees a pulsating, color-changing substance, she begins to believe that the mysterious substance’s movements and fluctuations are intrinsically bound with the twins’ fate. As the babies’ condition dips and rises over several emotionally tumultuous weeks, Jess considers frightening questions about spirituality and magic, while also facing turbulence in a lifelong friendship, the tensions of an uncomfortable relationship with her grandmother, and the discovery of a secret tragedy in her late great-aunt’s life. Jess’s passion for music is a foundation upon which Singer (Gem X) builds Buddhist precepts, scientific concepts, and even stepparent issues. The story flirts with fantasy, but leaves it to readers to decide if the magic of the flask is real. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"A thoughtful piece about birth, death and everything in between." - Kirkus Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"Will fill readers with compassion and hope." - VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates

"Life's fragile nature is the underlying theme of Singer's contemplative novel " - Publishers Weekly

"Complicated yet serene, this novel is for a special audience of readers who understand the complexity of navigating even healthy, normal family relationships and friendships." - Booklist

"A beautifully crafted coming-of-age story that will tug at the reader's emotions."--Library Media Connection

VOYA - Ellen Frank
Jess finds a mysterious flask hidden inside the bureau she has inherited from her favorite aunt. The flask is filled with iridescent colors and small swimming fish only Jess can see. Jess is searching for answers to the mysteries life places in front of her. This coming-of-age novel is filled with self-discovery and spirituality. Jess must confront serious illness, eroding friendships, and the death of her favorite aunt. The novel gives readers insight into the world of conjoined twins—the technical term is omphalopagus—and Buddhism. Somehow, the world of religion and the world of science join together to help Jess find her inner peace. Singer fills her novel with poetic references, foreshadowing, and deep symbolism. Each chapter is short, only two to three pages, but filled with interesting references and word etymology. The themes of illness, jealously, loss, and friendship are explored through the eyes of a teen, making this a perfect novel for the teen going through rough times. It is a quick read yet will fill readers with compassion and hope. The plot is very superficial, but the underlying philosophical references will give readers something to ponder long after the book is done. Reviewer: Ellen Frank
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Jess found the mysterious glass flask on the very same day her conjoined twin brothers were born. It was hidden behind a drawer in a desk that had belonged to her beloved late Aunt Edie. The flask is covered in whorls that remind her of a tiny rib cage. There is something inside it that changes colors and sometimes escapes-a thing "that flew and breathed and didn't obey the laws of science." It simultaneously terrifies and attracts Jess. She constantly watches the colors change in the flask, as she believes they reflect her brothers' chances of survival. If they make it through the initial period, there will be a risky surgery to separate them. To further complicate matters, she believes her best friend, Zoe, has abandoned her. The story contains elements of fantasy, spirituality, and superstition. It covers a very short period of time, so the main characters do not grow or substantially change, but they are fully fleshed out and readers will identify with them. The plot is unusual, but the messages of fear, hope, and love are universal.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Kirkus Reviews
Jess Walton witnesses life, death and seemingly magical events in this slow-moving novel that's light on plot but heavy with philosophy. After her great-aunt Edie dies, Jess inherits a bureau full of secrets. Though Jess had hoped for Edie's piano so she could lose herself in music, when she discovers a glass flask hidden in the bureau, she takes it as an omen for her new baby brothers' birth. Clem and Richie are conjoined twins, and Jess believes that the flask holds a spirit that will allow her to control the boys' fates. With her mother and stepfather at the hospital, her grandmother mourning Edie's death and her irritatingly exuberant friend Zoe preoccupied by a boy, Jess drifts through the stages of grief--both for Edie and, prematurely, for her newborn brothers. Jess' behavior and experiences vacillate between magical realism and delusion, leaving the nature of the flask up to readers to determine. Just as Jess seeks meaning in coincidences, the novel strains to connect an intimate and specific situation with grand meditations on life, death, friendship and divine power. Rather than exploiting the conjoined twins for shock value, Singer goes to the opposite extreme, making them miraculous symbols of the interconnectedness of life. More cathartic than captivating, a thoughtful piece about birth, death and everything in between. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452125619
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 2/13/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 790,649
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Nicky Singer is the acclaimed author of six books for children including Feather Boy, which won the Blue Peter award in the U.K. She was co-founder and co-director of Performing Arts Labs, a charity dedicated to training new writers for theater, screen, and opera. She lives with her family in Brighton, England.
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