A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ravencliffe is the second book in Carol Goodman's exciting Blythewood Tales series, following Blythewood. Set in early 19th century New York, it features a mythical world of fairies, angels, dark angels and other magical creatures at a secret boarding school for girls, Blythewood Academy, where they're trained to defend humans from the shadowy forces among us. War, slavery, corruption, race, religion, love, including loving someone of the opposite sex, are discussed. There's very little violence, but one character is killed and one is kidnapped. Mild flirtations, hugging, and kissing, but no strong language.
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What's the story?
Avaline Hall and her friends are back, and this adventure starts when they're on summer break after freshman year, and they help a young Jewish girl who's sister has has gone missing in New York City. Ava believes her nemesis, Judicus van Drood, is behind the disappearance. Once she locates the missing girl, Ava enters Blythewood Academy for her second year. But she's worried that her friends and the teachers will discover her secret: that she's a half-Darkling. While at school, Ava must figure out her feelings for the Darkling Raven, and how to reveal her secret without becoming an outcast and being banished to live in Faerie. Ava and her friends must also stop van Drood from wreaking more havoc and releasing more evil and demons into the world.
Is it any good?
Just like series opener Blythewood, RAVENCLIFFE is a gloomy, gothic and atmospheric novel. It has an array of likable and unlikable characters, including Ava, Raven, and Judicus van Drood. Readers will immediately be swept up, once again, into the excitement of old New York. Goodman definitely knows her early 19th century history. The first 12 chapter are spent in New York searching for a missing girl, but there's still plenty of magic, mischief, adventure, and even a ball to keep readers entertained before Ava arrives back at Blythewood. There are new teachers, and readers will get to meet Raven's parents and discover who Ava's father is, as well as the meaning behind Ravencliffe.
The novel ends on a cliffhanger and leaves readers wondering what happens next to Ava and her friends in the final installment. There's so much to like in this series -- from the heroic and unusual cast of characters and historical setting to the terrific plotting to the fantasy and supernatural elements weaved naturally into the narrative.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about life in tenement houses and settlement houses in the early 19th century. How does author Carol Goodman make this history come alive?
How do you think Ravencliffe compares with the series opener, Blythewood? How do you think the trilogy will end?
In Ravencliffe, Ava, Helen, and Nathan visit New York's Coney Island, where one of the attractions was the "freak" show. Why were people with disabilities or physical abnormalities put on display for visitors to gawk at?
- Author: Carol Goodman
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Viking Juvenile
- Publication date: December 2, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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