Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 Middle Grade Literature finalist:
The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey
Published by: Algonquin Young Readers/Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Category Sponsor: Education Minnesota
In the center of the verdant Monarchy lies Dreadwillow Carse, a desolate bog the people of the land do their best to ignore. Little is known about it except an ominous warning: If any monarch enters Dreadwillow Carse, then the Monarchy will fall. Twelve-year-old Princess Jeniah yearns to know what the marsh could conceal that might topple her family’s thousand-year reign. In this thrilling modern fairytale, Farrey has created an exciting new world where friendship is more powerful than fate and the most important thing is to question everything.
Brian Farrey is the author of the Vengekeep Prophecies series and the Stonewall Honor Book and Minnesota Book Award-winner With or Without You. He knows more than he probably should about Doctor Who. He lives in Edina, Minnesota, with his husband and their cat, Meowzebub.
“A fast-paced story about two strong young women who face their fears as they step into the dark, forbidding place . . . Farrey knows how to keep up the excitement. Aon and Jeniah are so vividly drawn it’s easy to see them in your imagination, and boys and girls will like the touches of magic. The story is so involving young readers won’t even realize they’re being given some valuable lessons.”
“Farreyblends subtle references to racial and sexual diversity with inventive fairy tale worldbuilding and enticing clues to the carse’s mystery. The labyrinth of characters and dilemmas expands as the novel progresses, culminating in a rewarding ending that highlights the importance of embracing emotions, curiosity, and measured choices.” — Publisher’s Weekly
Beyond the Book:
Excerpt from an interview by School Library Journal:
Farrey: “I’d like to think that, as a society, we’ve reached a point where it’s become impossible not to acknowledge the diversity of our world and reflect that in art. In reality, I don’t know that we’re quite there yet. For me, personally, it was important to recognize diversity on as many levels as possible. I’m a firm believer that kids need to see themselves and what they know to be true in books. I hope a lot of different kids from many different backgrounds and experiences will get that from Dreadwillow.”