Sorcery and Cecelia
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Genre: YA Fantasy
Ages: 10 and up, though it makes for an excellent read-aloud that is guaranteed to send listeners into gales of laughter, especially when read with a faux British accent.
Kate and Cecy are cousins in a post-Napoleonic Wars England with magic. This story chronicles their correspondence while Kate is in London for her first Season and poor Cecy is left to rusticate in the country. Their adventures start when Kate is mistaken for a man and nearly poisoned with chocolate, but this is only the beginning. Soon the two of them are embroiled in matters magical and mysterious as Cecy's brother is turned into a tree and Kate finds herself in a spurious betrothal with a mysterious, odious nobleman. They might have found this disconcerting where it not for the fact that were enjoying themselves far too much to allow the terror they ought to have been feeling.
This is one of my favorite young adult novels of all time. I cannot count how many times I have read and re-read it. It is hilariously funny and never gets old. At first, before I started reading it the first time, I was not at all sure that I even wanted to try it. Normally I dislike letter stories, but I really liked the other works of Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, so eventually I borrowed it from the library. As soon as I started, I was hooked. The wit, humor, atmosphere were fantastic. Kate and Cecy manage to get into such absurd and sometimes dangerous situations interspersed with new gowns and garden parties. It was wonderful!
Just yesterday I finished reading this book aloud to my sister (10) and brother (7). I read the whole thing with a faux British accent while attempting to attempting to get all of the emotions right as well. Afterward, I found it difficult in the extreme to go back to my normal speech patterns. I had to edit a couple of sentences aloud for my little brother's benefit, but it didn't seem to make a difference to him or my sister. (They both laughed a lot and my sister made kissy faces at several intervals when she perceived romance in the offing.)
I give it a 2.10 in language for some mild cursing.
It gets a 2.10 in sexuality for brief, mild references and innuendo.
There are several instances of peril and attempted murder as well as references to a murder that happened long ago, so I give it a 4.10.