Elizabeth Rew has just been offered a dream job. Working as a page in the New-York Circulating Material Repository doesn’t just mean fetching Marie Antoinette’s wigs for various curators; it might also net her some friends, which have been in short supply since she started at her new school. The Repository has collections that inspired the work of H.G. Wells and William Gibson, among others, but its mysterious Grimm Collection has been the victim of theft, and it falls to Elizabeth and her fellow pages to solve the crime. It doesn’t help matters that the items are magic, or that one of her co-workers has been borrowing some of them without permission.
The magic in The Grimm Legacy is sometimes dazzling (flying carpets, a giant bird who might be the thief) and sometimes played for laughs (winged sandals that are harder to drive than a stick-shift, a magic mirror with sarcasm to spare); there’s a funny discussion among the kids about how outmoded some of the items are compared to modern technology. The Repository still uses a system of pneumatic tubes to shuttle messages around, an old-school technology that becomes new again when the tubes are used to transport shrunken people.
Don’t let all the bells and whistles fool you, though. One of the great charms wrapped up in this mystery is the story of burgeoning friendships among a multi-ethnic cast of characters, each of whom has reason to distrust the others. The Grimm Legacy is terrific fun for tweens and teens, and not to be missed.
Copyright 2010 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
Elizabeth works as a page at the New-York Circulating Material Repository. Housed in the basement is the Grimm Collection, an assortment of fairy-tale items (e.g., seven-league boots, spinning wheels), and someone's been replacing the materials with nonmagical replicas. Shulman combines down-to-earth teens with a wonderfully occult magical world; the repository itself permeates the story with its musty, mysterious presence. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #4
When Elizabeth takes a job as a page at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a lending library for objects instead of books, she's let in on the repository's secret. Housed in the basement is the Grimm Collection, an assortment of items such as seven-league boots and spinning wheels that are normally found in fairy tales-amazingly, the items (and the magic) are real. But someone's been removing the materials and replacing them with nonmagical replicas, and Elizabeth doesn't know which of her fellow pages to trust: Marc, the handsome basketball star who's been taking liberties with his borrowing privileges; Anjali, who has all the male pages at her feet; or sullen Aaron, who resents the others' looks and good fortune. Tracking down the thief will take all four of them on a dangerous quest, where they will need their wits and the objects in the collection to succeed. Shulman combines down-to-earth teens concerned with fitting in with a wonderfully occult magical world-the repository itself, with its stained-glass windows, miles of stacks, and pneumatic tubes for routing call slips, permeates the story with its musty, mysterious presence. The pages must figure out how to work with objects that sometimes function in tricky ways (the magic mirror, for instance, tells the truth but in the most slanted and unflattering manner possible). But just as in a fairy tale, Elizabeth's good choices and kind heart allow the story to spin out to a happy conclusion. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2010 June #2
Fairy-tale and romance devotees, museum aficionados and budding librarians will pine for Elizabeth's afterschool job. Lonely in New York City, her family straight out of Grimm (dead mom, inattentive dad, cold stepfamily), Elizabeth agrees to work at the New-York Circulating Material Repository. She passes the button-sorting interview and begins work in the stacks, where call slips arrive via pneumatic tubes. The Repository houses historical articles (textiles, wigs, tea sets), including the Grimm Collection, all circulating. Shulman's prose sparkles describing the Grimm objects' magic powers (recognizable from tales) and the profound deposits required to borrow them (a "long, translucent, sweater-shaped thing" is "somebody's sense of privacy"; a future firstborn looks "infinitely vulnerable and undefined, like a thought before you put it into words"). The pages are a multiracial group, but the white librarians unfortunately romanticize the Akan peoples, constantly spouting proverbs from those "great men and women. Chiefs in Africa." Some structural implausibility pales before vivid sensory descriptions (hexed gingerbread tastes "[s]weet and dark, like roast duck or cedar pencils") and delightful magical happenings both thrilling and nefarious. (Fantasy. 12 & up)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Shulman (Enthusiasm) intermingles classic fairy tale elements and modern-day conflicts in this clever novel set in New York City. The story begins when teenager Elizabeth Rew lands a plum part-time job, working as a page in the "New-York Circulating Material Repository," an institution housing rare objects to be lent to an exclusive circle of patrons. The most secret and by far most interesting section of the building is the basement, where magic objects mentioned in the Grimm Brothers' tales are stored. Much to the librarians' dismay, however, some of these valuable items go missing. With the help of her fellow pages, Elizabeth gets to the bottom of the mystery, but catching the thief poses enormous danger and necessitates the aid of some powerful equipment, including Snow White's mirror, a pair of winged sandals, and a magical golden key. Mixing tongue-in-cheek humor (like the magic mirror's blunt appraisal of Elizabeth's beauty: "Bitsy Rew is brave and true./ A pity she's not pretty too") with suspense, Shulman conjures an enticing slice of magic realism that fairy tale buffs should relish. Ages 10-up. (July)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 6-9--Feeling left out from her stepfamily at home and from her classmates at her new school, Elizabeth is delighted when she gets a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library that loans objects of historical value. She's particularly intrigued when she's given access to the Grimm Collection, a secret room that holds magical objects from the Brothers' tales, e.g., seven-league boots, a mermaid's comb, and the sinister mirror from "Snow White." However, when the items start to disappear, she and her fellow pages embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief, only to find themselves among the suspects. This modern fantasy has intrigue, adventure, and romance, and the magical aspects of the tale are both clever and intricately woven, from rhyming charms to flying-carpet rides. The author brings the seemingly disparate elements together in the end, while still making certain that her protagonist's problems are not completely solved by the world of magic. Shulman's prose is fast paced, filled with humor, and peopled with characters who are either true to life or delightfully bizarre. Fans of fairy tales in general and Grimm stories in particular will delight in the author's frequent literary references, and fantasy lovers will feel very much at home in this tale that pulls out all the stops.--Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI[Page 120]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.