{Review & Upcoming Giveaway Opportunity} CREWEL by Gennifer Albin

Stop back at A Backwards Story this weekend for a huge giveaway!
Enterto win CREWEL and five other autographed novels!!

I'll also be attempting to live tweet from the event for the first time.  Wish me luck!

Happy Book {Week} to 
by Gennifer Albin!!!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

THEY CAME IN THE NIGHT.  Once, families fought them, neighbors coming to their aid.  But now that peace has been established, and the looms proven, girls pray to be retrieved.  They still come at night, but  now it's to avoid the masses with eager hands.  It's a blessing to touch a Spinster as she passes.  That's what they tell us.

No one knows why some girls have the gift.  There are theories, of course.  That it's passed down genetically.  Or that girls with an open mind can see the weave of life around them at all times.  Even that it's a gift only given to the pure-hearted.  But I know better.  It's a curse.
(pg. 3, US Hardcover 1st Edition)

Did anyone else need to look up the definition of CREWEL when first hearing about Gennifer Albin's debut novel?  I admit it: I did.  For those of you like me, here you are:
Screenshot from m-w.com

Ah, the internet!!

Just the title of CREWEL makes me that much smarter.  Reading the book?  Even more so!  I know very little about needlecraft, and I learned so much about the art just from reading.  Albin weaves this knowledge with her own unique mythology and lore to create a world unlike any other I've seen before.  While there is a dystopian society, the book reads very different from many other dystopians out there, so even readers sick of the genre might still find a lot to enjoy in CREWEL. 

Even the way Albin sets about describing elements in her world is fresh and new.  Her explanations remind me of the classic children's novel A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle, where Meg attempts to teach Aunt Beast the concept of sight and appearance despite the fact that Aunt Beast has no eyes.  How can you adequately describe something when it has no existence to you?  CREWEL is full of occurrences that don't exist to us, yet Albin does her best to bring the world to us, using sentences such as, "The color of the strands is an innuendo--the possibility of color rather than a clear shade. As though I understand it's blue only because I've seen the color before" (pg. 126, e-ARC edition).

The book is centered around a girl named Adelice who is gifted and destined to become a Spinster, even though her parents have tried to shield her from her fate.  One day, she slips up and is taken from her home and family, swept into a new, foreign society.  She's completely made over and looks nothing like her former self.  Adelice goes from being the awkward, clumsy laughingstock with no talent to the most gifted Spinster in the new incoming group, which creates its own tensions.  Because of Adelice's unique abilities, she soon realizes that all is not as it seems and danger lurks beneath the surface of this seemingly-benign society.  She's in more peril than she realizes, and may not be able to weave her way out of it.

There are so many great characters in CREWEL that it's hard to know where to start.  Adelice is a strong heroine, one who isn't afraid to stand up for what she  believes in, even if she has to go against an authority figure to do so.  The Creweler (The Spinster with the highest position) that Adelice works with is fabulous, and one of my favorite characters in the novel.  Even the villains are deliciously real, creating danger where it otherwise wouldn't exist.  While there is a hint of a love triangle, which normally annoys me, it isn't wishy-washy and is heavily stacked to one side, so there may or may not be focus here in future books.

Just when readers think they have their heads wrapped around the world of CREWEL, Albin pulls the rug out from beneath everyone's feet (and I can just imagine her laughing as she gleefully rubs her hands together and peers down at us from atop the hole she built after the fact!), creating even new revelations that will have lasting repercussions in future books.  I have no clue where Albin is going next, but I'm breathlessly awaiting the journey she's sending us on and can't wait to get back on the ride she's created for us.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I love the way this cover swirls and loops.  The design is on the front, spine, back, and both interior flaps of the dust jacket.  The "swirls" are supposed to be threads, and the girl is weaving, a Spinster.  Is she trapped by the weave or breaking free?  This cover means so much after reading CREWEL.
The stand-out of the cover, to me, is the gorgeous design of the title.  I love the swirly patter that loops through the book's title, CREWEL, and ends where it reads A NOVEL.  It's a focal point, and also brings the swirling string in the background together.  I love it! (And, oops, when making the video, the sun was in my eyes, and I didn't hover over the letters like I intended, but it's fun to see the way they change colors in the light!)
It's also fun to see a pop of lime green when removing the dust jacket.  This color is so rare in YA fantasy because it's bright and cheerful, but it brings out great color from the cover design!
Here's a firsthand look at this cover, which shimmers beneath the sunlight!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Gennifer Albin
Release Date: Out October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan
Received: Received for Review
(But also Purchased!)
Incapable. 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 as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. 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 wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

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 stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.