Friday, December 13, 2013

The Next Full Moon, by Carolyn Turgeon

Nearly thirteen, Ava is turning into a swan.  But, while the phrase may be metaphorical for most girls, for Ava it's quite literal.  She's growing feathers and gaining the ability to transform herself into a large bird.  And even how to fly.

At the same time, she's discovering that the changes in her body that were once made her feel gangly and ugly, now give her beauty.  And where she once was awkward with others, she is gaining grace.

It's a nicely written story and pleasant, but it's hard to escape the issue that there's not much new here.  The metaphor of becoming a swan itself is a tired trope and the story (girl experiences transformation, gets together with dream boy, and reunites with long-lost mother -- sorry, it's so obvious that saying it here is hardly a spoiler) is very well-trod.  Perhaps it can be enjoyed for the beauty of the story and for the way it captures succinctly the specific moment of being on the verge of adulthood, but it seemed tame and unadventuresome to me.  As a coming-of-age story, the fantasy elements were distracting.  As a fantasy, it was underdeveloped.

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