East by Edith Pattou (0-15-204563-5)
This book is a retelling of the tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. It is the story of Rose who agrees to go with a white bear so that her sister can be healed and her family can prosper. The bear has been under an enchantment for 150 years that turned him from a boy into a bear. Rose lives with the bear in a palace that she is not allowed to leave. She is given no information on why she is there. The story is a detailed one that has aspects that entrance the reader. I don’t want to go into too many details here, because the story should be discovered as it progresses in the book.
If anyone is looking for books with strong female protagonists, this would be one to recommend. Rose is strong, faithful and brave. She is a fully formed character that comes alive in the story. The story is told from a variety of points of view, including Rose, the bear, the Troll Queen and Rose’s brother Neddy. This allows the reader to know more than Rose does about her situation, so the reader is not frustrated like Rose about not knowing about the cause and reason of her plight.
I strongly recommend this book for kids willing to tackle the nearly 500 pages. Though it is listed as a young adult book, there is nothing to stop a younger reader from reading it. It is pure adventure that will often have you reading faster and faster to see what happens.