July 10th, 2016 by Karen
If you’re a regular Kidsmomo reader, then you know I LOVE food. So guess what I did when I saw the book cover for A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, featuring a picnic basket and cake. Obviously, I snatched it off the shelf and yelled, “Mine! Mine mine mine mine mine!”
Just kidding. I was at the library, so I didn’t do any shouting. But I did grab this book and take it home to read right away.
Luckily for me, baking plays a major role in the book — although it’s not immediately clear why. That’s because there are several different characters with stories that at first are separate but then come together at the end.
There’s 11-year-old Cady, who has a Talent for knowing the exact right cake to bake for any given person. There’s Marigold, who is desperately looking for her Talent. There’s The Owner, who is also searching for something — and not afraid to hurt others in his quest. And those are just a few of the characters whose fates intertwine over time.
If you’re wondering why I capitalized the word “Talent,” don’t worry, that wasn’t a mistake. The book takes place in a world very much like ours, but with one difference: Everyone has their own unique Talent, a magical gift for being really good at one particular thing. For Cady, it’s the cakes. For another character, Will, it’s disappearing/getting lost. For Zane, it’s spitting. (Hey, no one said that all Talents need to be super useful!)
Right from the start, it was interesting to read about how Talents work in this world. But with so many characters and storylines, I have to admit it took me a while to get into the story beyond my initial interest in the concept of Talents — and, of course, my initial interest in the baking aspect. But I was rewarded for my patience as the plot started to pick up, and by the end, I was racing through the pages to see what would happen next.
I’d recommend this book for fans of The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver. And if you read A Tangle of Knots and enjoy it, then you can also check out the newly released sequel, A Clatter of Jars. It takes place at a summer camp, so it would make a great pick for seasonal reading!
If you’ve already read A Tangle of Knots, leave a comment with your thoughts. Or tell everyone: If you could pick any Talent to have, what would it be?