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Tess of the Road
by Rachel Hartman

You know, as a librarian I read a lot. A lot. So much so that if you were to ask me how many books I’ve read this year, I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you. But, if you asked me what the best book I’ve read this year is, my answer would be Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road.

Tess isn’t her mother’s favorite daughter. Sure, she might’ve been at one point. But, then her life happened and she grew up quickly. Maybe you’d say she grew up too quickly, but that’d be on you. That’s when her twin sister, Jeanne, became the apple of her mother’s eye.

Tess (who’s other sister is half-dragon) didn’t face total social banishment—it’s just that all the doors that  were supposed to open for her opened for Jeanne. That’s one of many things Tess ever quite got over. So, she took to the road. To find herself. To embrace what she had lost. To better understand a world that doesn’t exactly understand her.

Oh, and she’s joined by Pathka, a quigutl (a reptilian species related to dragons) on his quest to find the World Serpents. Because this is a fantasy book. Did I forget to mention that? But, more importantly, it’s a beautiful character study about the power of grief and the all too human ability to overcome it in our own way.

(PS—This is a companion to Hartman’s Seraphina and Shadow Scale, but it can totally be read as a stand-alone novel.)

TW: rape, loss of child, violence

John L.
November 5, 2019
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