YA Series Recommendation: Crewel World by Gennifer Albin

Maybe it’s good I already posted my favorite reads of 2014 because if I’d finished this series before then, I would have had even more trouble deciding on my top five young adult reads. But it’s already done, so I can’t go back. Instead I’ll just make one last recommendation for the year.

I was privileged to meet Gennifer Albin during the Fierce Reads Tour when it came through St. Louis. Although I’d heard of the Crewel World books, I hadn’t yet read any of them, so I picked up the complete series at the event–and got them signed, of course. I considered giving away the third book since I prefer paperbacks, but it’s nice to have a complete set of signed books, so … sorry :). Anyway, here’s the description for the first book.

Crewel by Gennifer AlbinIncapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

And here are the five things I love most about the series, without spoiling anything! (That part’s really hard!)

1. The premise – As someone who enjoys both cross-stitching and crocheting, I was immediately intrigued by this idea of weaving a world into being. This book is classified as science fiction, and it wasn’t clear why until well into the book. (At first I thought it might be fantasy.) It fascinated me that Ms. Albin took what is often considered an art form these days (although weaving of course has very practical uses) and turned it into science.

2. The world – Ms. Albin talked a bit about her concept for the world on the tour, but it’s based on the glamor of the 1940s, with women dolled up and men in tuxedos. But it also exposes the gender restrictions behind the outward beauty of that world. I thought Ms. Albin demonstrated it for a modern audience quite well.

3. The twists – Oh, I’m really biting my tongue here. There are so many twists in these books. There are a couple at the end of the first book that completely changed my view of what I thought was going on in this world. Ok, I think that’s all I can say.

4. The romance – In a world where girls and boys are segregated, a girl is finally exposed to boys and essentially told she’s meant to live like a nun for the rest of her life. Well, I’m sure you can imagine how well that goes over. I loved how Adelice learned about love through these books and how it’s not such a straight path. I guess that’s all I should say I about that, too.

5. The ending – Um, I am a very bad reader sometimes. I like to peek at the end if there’s a particular plot point I’m concerned about. Yeah, I did that with these books, but it was totally a peek and not actual reading. And so, here’s an interesting tidbit. I peeked, and I was still surprised by this ending. That’s how tricky Ms. Albin’s world is. Very well done!

So, who else has read these books? Did you love them as much as I did?

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