The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis
Anna and Abel couldn't be more different. They are both 17 and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prison-like tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s one story in another with one mirroring the other. His story for his sister was magical and lovely. Only up close, it’s really quite a sad one because once you see who was who and what stood for what; then you could see/feel just how far removed his stories were from their reality. And their reality? Stark, depressing, and so far from even the possibility of a happily-ever-after.
If at first, like Anna, I was drawn to him, impressed by him and maybe, just, maybe slightly in love with his possibilities; those sudden turn of events had me not just pausing, but recoiling from him. From totally loving him, rooting for him and damning everyone else that said otherwise… that moment had me stopping in my tracks. It had me so angry at him, but more, it had me heartbroken for her. I confess I put it down with no intention of picking it up back again. But it kept nagging at me: how would the author pick up the pieces; where would the story go?
Setting aside the device of a story in another one, the mystery aspect only took precedence once I was less in love with the idea of them together. They all had me wondering. Was what I was thinking right? Was I wrong in how I’d first pegged them at first? That heartbreaking, devastating twist seemed to be pointing to the affirmative. Here’s the truth: The clues left here and there had me feeling secure in the knowledge that I knew who the baddy was. And here’s another truth: I was wrong to an extent.
With the mystery slow to pick up, I was half tempted to skim over his stories. I knew something similar to what he was saying would be laid out sooner or later in a clearer, more contemporary voice. I’m glad I didn’t because contrasting his fairytale against their reality, things balanced out a little. His stories calmed things down I suppose.
Not since Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden have feelings of such conflict in me been roused. And as far as story devices go, his fairytale foreshadowing everything else was different… new… special. And it was what had Abel as Storyteller winding around me. Such a good brother, such a good man, he had me feeling all hopeful. Again that one moment put a stop to those feelings. After that all there was pity, anger, disappointment. But wait a couple of beats, and it was her turn to have me more than slightly confused. Her choices, her decisions astonished me. Truly, the one thing I cannot move on from is the absence of a resolution for her. I mean she was all,
The Storyteller went from sweet to devastating to totally unexpected then heartbreaking again.
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