We continue our occasional series previewing good reads for young adults from Katherine Farmer, Coordinator of the Racers Children's Preview Collection at Murray State University. This week's recommended read is Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz. Winner of the 2013 Newbery Honor, Splendors and Glooms tells the story of two orphans in splendorous Victorian London who unravel the mystery of a girl gone missing, a suspicious puppeteer, and a sinister old witch. Critics describe this young adult novel as "wonderfully twisty, delightfully eerie, and utterly transporting."
Have you ever seen something, and nothing else matters until you can see it again? That is how Clara Wintermute feels in the 2013 Newbery Honor book Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Clara is enchanted by the mesmerizing puppet show by master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini. She is so caught up by the magical puppets that appear to be alive that she has to see the show again. As the only child of a wealthy doctor in Victorian times, her parents don’t hesitate to make her dream a reality.
The master puppeteer, seeing a chance to make a fortune, and his two orphaned assistants (Lizzie Rose and Parsefall) venture to Clara’s house for a special appearance at her birthday party. From the eyes of Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, Clara seems to have every splendor that they desire - great parents, loving home, and plenty to eat. What they don’t see is the gloom hidden in the shadows – grief, guilt, and secrets – until Clara vanishes that night and all eyes turn to Grisini and the two orphans.
Lizzie and Parse journey to find Clara, clear their name, and avoid the evil past of Grisini and his ancient rival before it is too late. To find out what happens to Lizzie, Parse, and Clara, read Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Katherine Farmer is the Coordinator of the Racers Children's Preview Collection at Murray State University.