Blythewood (Blythewood Series #1)

Blythewood (Blythewood Series #1)

by Carol Goodman


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“Carol Goodman’s Blythewood is reminiscent of both Harry Potter and The Diviners, but in a way that doesn’t distract from the entertaining story within."*

After narrowly escaping death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, seventeen-year-old Avaline Hall is sent to Blythewood Academy, the elite girls’ boarding school in New York’s Hudson Valley that her mother attended years before. Ava hopes to solve the mystery of her mother’s death and its connection to the students who keep disappearing from Blythewood. But the school is not all that it appears . . . and neither is the handsome young man who saved Ava from the fire. What’s the meaning of the extraordinary powers Ava possesses? Who’s good and who’s evil? And who has the right to make that distinction?

*review of Blythewood by Forever Young Adult

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142422519
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Series: Blythewood Series , #1
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 174,432
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Carol Goodman ( graduated from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin. After teaching Latin for several years, she studied for an MFA in Fiction. Her writing has been published in a number of literary magazines. She currently teaches writing and works as a writer-in-residence. She lives in the Hudson Valley.

Read an Excerpt

“Where are they taking us?” I whispered to Helen, who hung on to Daisy’s other arm.“To the Rowan Circle,” Helen whispered back. “My cousin told me about it. There’s a clearing there surrounded by rowan trees. Look—” Helen reached out her hand and plucked a branch seemingly from the fog itself. She handed it to me and I could see that the branch was heavy with red berries. My mother had told me something about rowan trees once.I lifted my eyes from the branch to ask Helen if she knew, but the question died on my lips as I saw what lay in front of us: a clearing ringed round with flames. For a moment I thought the woods were on fire, until I saw that the flames came from torches plunged into the earth. Beside each torch stood a dark, robed figure. As the last girls entered the circle each figure lifted an arm and held aloft something that gleamed in the firelight.A peal of bells sounded through the fiery circle, playing a tune I hadn’t heard before, a mournful dirge like something medieval church towers would have rung to announce the coming of the plague. The very fog seemed to flee before the sound, creeping out of the circle and into the woods, uncovering as it went a solitary hooded figure standing in the center of the circle. When the bells had ceased the figure lowered her hood.Dame Beckwith, her silver hair billowing loosely about her face like a swath of fog that had wound itself about her head, turned in a slow circle to look at each of us. In the firelight her pale gray eyes shone yellow, like the eyes of an owl sweeping the forest floor for prey. When she had made a complete circuit, she spoke.“Girls,” she said, her voice ringing with the same carrying force of the bells, “you have come here tonight to be initiated into the mystery of Blythewood.”


Excerpted from "Blythewood"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Carol Goodman.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Blythewood

"A beautifully evocative tale perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Tiffany Trent. First in a trilogy, Goodman's story is intriguing, romantic, eerie, and adventurous...a multifaceted and mature fantasy."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"...a beautifully told fantasy, ripe with magic, forbidden love and unspeakably dark forces...a journey well worth taking." —Kirkus
"...a treat for lovers of the gothic." —Booklist

"Heavy in atmosphere with just enough romance, this novel is sure to find an appreciable following." —School Library Journal

“Carol Goodman’s Blythewood is reminiscent of both Harry Potter and The Diviners, but in a way that doesn’t distract from the entertaining story within.”—Forever Young Adult

Customer Reviews

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Blythewood 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
MrsMcIntosh More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a Goodreads First Reads winner.  I. Loved. This. Book. I guess for some readers the writing style was too pretty, too descriptive, too imaginative, too wordy, etc. That’s probably because they read too many crappy teen books that barely rate as literature. It doesn’t have that ridiculous love triangle that is so prevalent in teen paranormal or a week female lead. The relationships are realistic, the story has a wonderful flow with a slow build and a large climax, and, contrary to the free First Reads I’ve previously received, it’s well edited! I love early twentieth century backdrops for fantasy. It was a time where everything was exciting and new. Not that these times aren’t exciting now, but today is today and today is more boring than not today. Titanic. Electricity. The early years of automobiles and globalization.  The Blythewood academy nestled next to the Blythe Wood is a picturesque setting in itself in the rolling hills of Northern New England. The school for girls isn’t just a beacon of academia and the wealthy. It has history and many, many secrets.  I knew I loved this book before it was even revealed to be a paranormal adventure. It was mysterious and slowly evolving, bringing you into their world vividly with the imagery.  It has a timeless writing style that fantasy lovers can read over and over again. I read it slowly because I knew the next in the series isn’t due for a long time yet. I just finished and I’m already thinking about the next time I will read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sooo good. Wish that there was a second book and I could read this book over and over!
SherryF More than 1 year ago
The rich and complex characters in Blythewood, that made me think of a Harry Potter school for girls, took me on a grand adventure with surprising twists and turns in a phenomenal world full of rich detail, all while good battles evil.
2408446 More than 1 year ago
Worth reading once... I didn't LOVE this book, but I did enjoy it. I'd give it a 3.5 if I could, but I'm not going to round up for it because there were quite a few things that bothered me about this series, plot/character wise. Grammatically, its very well put together and I really, really liked the late-19th century/fantasy setting. Definitely better than most "teen" literature, and I did enjoy all three books, but its not a story I'll likely revisit. The main cast is fairly large, and mostly easily-likable, while some extremely minor characters are just there for the "readers are supposed to hate you" factor. Which isn't uncommon in any genre, but still slightly annoying. Part of this may also be due to the first-person nature of the narrative, so you only know what Ava knows/thinks. I rarely enjoy first-person and might be over-critical of it because it is a difficult perspective (for me) to relate to and write. Ava and her friends are strong female leads, which is something I look for in most books I read. There's multiple love-triangles, but unlike most teen books, they're fairly quickly resolved and NOT the main focus of the story--which is a major win for me. (Love is a huge point, but they're not all constantly torn between/squabbling over two boys the entire series. The point is, the love-conflicts actually fit the over all plot pretty well.) WARNING--POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD (Trying not to give away specifics though) The biggest issue I have is with Ava and Raven. Ava has this incredible super power that she begins to learn to control in the first book, but in the second and third she almost completely ignores and even forgets about it. Sometimes the use of her power seems natural, but later in the series (after she's ignored it, and even forgets about it) she suddenly remembers "OMG I'M A CHIME CHILD, I CAN STOP YOU!!" and--after not training her power at all--suddenly has enough control over it that she miraculously saves the day! I get that its for suspense and whatnot, but it was actually really irritating because HUGE emphasis was put on her power in the first book, and then everyone suddenly forgets the prophecies and stories about a "chosen chime child destined to save the world" later on. Maybe doing this keeps her from being "too" powerful or whatever, and she is young, but it just makes the parts where she saves the day seem forced. Raven also comes out of nowhere and saves her life in the first chapters of Blythewood, but its never explained WHY he's following her or how he even knows who she is. Which, is one of the first questions I'd be asking in that situation--grateful for saving my life or not. And that bothers me quite a bit because he's a huge character (who I do like quite a bit), but I hate author-driven intervention. In the last book, Hawthorn, the villain--van Drood--does some inexplicably strange things too, which is a large side-plot point of the book, yet the "why" and "how" is never fully explained. Just to get to and mess with Ava? To make the heroes tell him where the vessel he wants is? It didn't really make sense, and that side plot really could have been cut without much impact (if any) on the main-plot. But, like I said, I really did enjoy the setting and overall plot and ideas Goodman presented. I would recommend reading the Blythewood series once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I was very disappointed with this book. Yes, there were a few nice and entertaining parts. But, that's all there was. It was quite boring and dull. I wish there were more gripping scenes and I wish it left me on the edge of my seat. However, I do believe it was well written. But, it was too boring. I'm sorry I gave this such a bad review. I'm not usually this negative. But, it was such a waste of my money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read! Can't wait for the next one to come out. Great story and message!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good a little hard to read at times but is still good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a pretty good read; however, it is very similar to another trilogy I read in high school. I have not read any reviews about the author Carol Goodman nor have I read any of her interviews concerning Blythewood, but it seems to me that she has used Libba Bray's novels A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and A Sweet and Far Thing as inspiration for her story. Goodman's protagonist, Ava Hall, parallels that of Bray's, Gemma Doyle. Both of these young ladies lose their mother under somewhat mysterious circumstances and are sent to finishing schools. Ava attends Blythewood while Gemma attends Spence Academy, which is directly referenced in Goodman's novel. Raven, Goodman's leading male, is a parallel to Bray's, gypsy with dark curly hair, Kartik. Both of these boys watch over our heroines and a bit of a romance develops between them. Both use mythology and involve mystical worlds crossing over into our own. Overall, I enjoyed reading this young adult novel, but I am biased by the fact that I read Bray's novels first (as hers were published in 2009) and would suggest reading those before this piece. However, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading fantasies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. I could see some of the "surprises" coming, but that did not take away from the story at all for me. If you enjoy fantasy, the early twentieth century era, strong heroines, and good complicated characters; you'll like this story too. The author left the book off in a good place, but I'm still anxious for more.