The Red Necklace is a fabulous book by Sally Gardner. It is also a nominee for a 2012 Virginia Readers Choice Award in the High School category. However, I know this book is in the middle school library where I work and I'm delighted that it is.
The Red Necklace is a story of the French Revolution that involves love, intrigue, deception, evil and a bit of magic. Even though the book reads like a good ole fashioned romance, the main character is a teen gypsy boy of uncommon magical talent who uses it for good as the tide of Revolution carries away logic and reason in 1792. The main character is so interesting and real that the book has great potential as a guy AND girl read. I recommend it for readers in grades seven and up.
A quick search of google didn't turn up any awards for The Red Necklace. However, the author has a website and interesting blog. On her blog, I read a speech that she had given to prize winning authors at a school. Her speech was as much for the students not winning a prize that day as the winners. Ms. Gardner also discussed difficulties in her life overcoming dyslexia. Wow! This author who spun a wonderful, page-turning, magical tale of the French Revolution spent time in her life unable to read?! Amazing. I can't wait to read a bit of this action packed book to middle schoolers and then let them know it was written by a woman who once could not read...and struggled to learn how. This kind of triumph really does inspire students.
Check out Sally Gardner's website to see publicity for The Red Necklace, its sequel The Silver Blade and more books that are in the works from her. I will be looking for The Silver Blade as I must know what happens to the main characters I came to love so much in this book.
Gardner, S. The Red Necklace: A French Revolution Story. New York: Speak. 2007. Print.
I love this list inside the front cover of the book--historical novels:
OTHER BOOKS YOU MAY ENJOY
Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
General Winston's Daughter by Sharon Shinn
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
Queen's Own Fool by Jane Yolen & Robert J. Harris
Red Moon at Sharpsburg by Rosemary Wells
The Safe-Keeper's Secret by Sharon Shinn
The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli
A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
Wolf Queen by Tanith Lee