Jane, Unlimited

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Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise methat you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Read Jane, Unlimited and remember why The New York Times has raved, "Some authors can tell a good story; some can write well. Cashore is one of the rare novelists who do both."--from the publisher

464 pages   978-0803741492   Ages  13 and up

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When Jane's parents were killed in an accident, Jane went to live with her Aunt Magnolia.  She grew up on a college campus in a world where everything made sense and adventure was woven into her aunt's DNA.  Her aunt would routinely leave to be part of scientific expeditions. She was a photographer and brought home thrilling images from under the sea.  Now Jane is bereft once more as her aunt has died in Antarctica after wandering too far from the base.

Jane's job at the college bookstore isn't that exciting and she has dropped out of school when a former tutor, Kiran Thrash, insists Jane come home with her for the gala that her family throws to start every new season.  Kiran's world is made of money and fine art and servants.  The two young women take a boat out to the island to Tu Reviens where Kiran lives and Jane settles into her suite to craft umbrellas... an art she has developed on her own over the past months. It's a form of therapy for her.

But all that glitters isn't real here at Kiran's home.  There are odd currents of anger and mistrust.  As preparations are underway for the gala, Jane weaves in and out of rooms and stairways and the small plots that are twisting around her.  A painting worth millions of dollars turns out to be a forgery.  A statue is missing.  A young girl is digging in the yard who bears a strong resemblance to a face in the newspapers.  Seems her parents, two respectable people, suddenly tried to rob a bank and then disappeared as did their two children.

Plenty of intrigue and adventure spiced with some hints of romance.  Then, the book suddenly shifts gears and the ending of the story is re-written.  And again.

It's a bit disconcerting at first. I found myself wondering if someone had misprinted the book and place a chapter out of order until I realized we were wandering down the original path and taking a different fork in the road.

Fascinating look at who we are, where we exist and the potential for multiverses.

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

 

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