Friday, May 24, 2013

Under Shifting Glass

Connections and coincidences dominate in Nicky Singers mysterious and magical coming-of-age novel, Under Shifting Glass. Tweenage Jess feels absolutely lost after her favorite aunt dies. But instead of inheriting the beloved piano as she'd hoped, Jess gets an ancient, dusty desk. She's disappointed... but then, hidden within a secret compartment in one of the desk's drawers, Jess discovers Something truly wondrous: An antique bottle that contains Something that is impossible to define. Constantly swimming, shifting, changing color, and responding to its environment, this Something seems to be alive. And Jess is the only one who can see it. Jess somehow connects this Something with the well-being of her newborn twin brothers, who were born with a potentially life-threatening birth defect. Over the following weeks, Jess explores some of life's deeper questions as she tries to unravel the mystery of the bottle. Besides worrying about her brothers, Jess must face both friend and family drama. In the end,  everything works out fine (or does it?) and the possible nature of the mysterious substance within the bottle is revealed. But the author keeps the reader on the edge until the very end. 

First published in the U.K. in 2011, Under Shifting Glass is an exceptionally unique read. Short chapters make this a good recommendation for reluctant readers, but the story itself is anything but superficial. Many will relate to Jess's struggles: Coping with her aunt's death, worrying about her brothers, dealing with a difficult friend situation, struggling with growing up v. wanting to hold onto that childhood belief in magic. All in all, a fantastic story! --AJB

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