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The Peculiars
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The Peculiars
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A young girl sets off on a journey of self-discovery in this "richly atmospheric" tale blending steampunk, adventure, and gothic romance (Kirkus Reviews). With her noticeably large hands and feet,...
A young girl sets off on a journey of self-discovery in this "richly atmospheric" tale blending steampunk, adventure, and gothic romance (Kirkus Reviews). With her noticeably large hands and feet,...
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Description-

  • A young girl sets off on a journey of self-discovery in this "richly atmospheric" tale blending steampunk, adventure, and gothic romance (Kirkus Reviews).

    With her noticeably large hands and feet, Lena Mattacascar is undoubtedly different. Secretly, she's wondered if she might actually be Peculiar, and if her father—who left when she was only five years old—may have been Peculiar too.

    On her eighteenth birthday, Lena receives a letter that inspires her to leave the safety of the City and search for her father in the northern wilderness of Scree—a place inhabited by people whose own unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Her journey leads to romance, danger, and a darkness she's never imagined. For in the wilds of Scree, she must confront her deepest fears . . .

    "Readers graduating from the stories of C.S. Lewis and Edward Eager will be right at home—and cat lovers will adore Jimson's employer's pet, Mrs. Mumbles. McQuerry's extensive world-building leaves open the possibility of future installments." —Publishers Weekly

About the Author-

  • Maureen Doyle McQuerry is an award-winning poet, author, and teacher. She was the 2000 McAuliffe Fellow for Washington State and has published two nonfiction books and numerous poems. She is the author of the Time Out of Time duet. She lives in Richland, Washington. Visit her online at maureenmcquerry.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 9, 2012
    Though Lena Mattacascar is a decisive 18-year-old, her journey from middle-class respectability to adventuress has a youthful air of fantasy about it. She leaves the city, where she has grown up, by train to travel to Scree, an uncharted wilderness of “indigenous folks” and deported convicts, with an earnest young librarian named Jimson Quiggley as her seatmate and the dour eye of marshal Thomas Saltre upon them. Lena cannot stop thinking about her mysterious father, who disappeared in a cloud of infamy when she was young, or about the possibility that there is a soulless “Peculiar” in her family tree (Lena is highly self-conscious about her large, extra-jointed hands and feet). Scree is the place where Lena’s questions might be answered, but arriving there just multiplies them. Readers graduating from the stories of C.S. Lewis and Edward Eager will be right at home—and cat lovers will adore Jimson’s employer’s pet, Mrs. Mumbles. McQuerry’s extensive world-building leaves open the possibility of future installments, though the questions Lena is left with are the kind answered less by adventuring than by growing up. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sandra Bishop, MacGregory Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2012
    Lonely Lena Mattacascar heads to the border to find a father she barely remembers and an answer to her unusual appearance. Armed with a letter and money from her absent father, 18-year-old Lena leaves her dour mother and grandmother and takes the train toward Scree--wilderness, penal colony and rumored reservation for Peculiars, humanoid creatures with tell-tale abnormalities. Cursed with elongated fingers and feet, Lena both fears that she may be a Peculiar and hopes that she may find acceptance in Scree. Obstacles plague Lena's journey, and she is soon stranded in the faded seaside town of Knob Knoster. While seeking a guide and more money for her expedition, she finds herself working at Mr. Beasley's steampunk-esque Zephyr House alongside the endearingly earnest librarian Jimson Quiggley, on a secret mission from the charismatic blackmailer Marshal Saltre. Set in a vaguely Victorian world, Gothic elements permeate the story: a mysterious house, an abundance of secrets, odd servants and competing romantic figures, though Lena's shame over her abnormalities alienates her from both Saltre and Quigley. The sporadic action scenes feel artificial, but the ambiguity surrounding the existence of Peculiars and the origin of their physical deformities--magic? genetics?--is thought-provoking. A slow but richly atmospheric read. (Steampunk. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2012

    Gr 9 Up-Set in an alternative version of the late 1800s, The Peculiars successfully weaves fact, fiction, and fantasy into a riveting adventure tale. Lena Mattacascar is a particularly sympathetic protagonist struggling to find a sense of self under difficult circumstances. On her 18th birthday she's given a letter and a small legacy from the father who's been absent most of her life. Since hearing about his "goblinish" ways her entire adolescence and wondering if she takes after him, Lena sets off to Scree, a wild land on the edges of civilization where "peculiars" are thought to gather. The action starts on the train ride there when a prisoner being transported to Scree is kidnapped and Lena meets a scientific-minded young gentleman who is intrigued, but not repulsed by her unusually large hands and feet. A well-paced plot and compelling characters that develop throughout the book make this easy to read and hard to put down. Themes of acceptance, character, and self-determination are explored without superseding the beautifully crafted story. A wonderful read, recommended for all collections.Sunnie Sette, New Haven Public Library, CT

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Abrams
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