Book Review: Windswept by Margi Preus
From Newbery Honor–winner Margi Preus, a gripping middle-grade fantasy about a girl who must save the children of her world from being “windswept”
In Tag’s world, children are disappearing. “Youngers” who venture Outside are windswept—vanishing in the swirling snow—Tag’s sisters among them. Many have tried to find the lost children; all have failed. And since the Other Times, the Powers That Be seem intent on keeping it that way.
Little remains from those times: snippets of songs, heaps of plastic trash, and a few banned texts—including a book of fairytales.
An unlikely crew of Youngers join forces—Boots, who can climb anything, Ant, who will eat anything, Ren, who will say anything, and Tag, who doesn’t appear to have any talent whatsoever. With their dubious skills, the fairytales, a possibly magic ribbon, and an unwillingness to accept “that’s impossible,” they set off to rescue their windswept siblings in this spellbinding fantasy from Newbery Honor winner Margi Preus.
We here in Minnesota are fortunate to have so many wonderful authors in our state and I feel like the books they have put out this year are just phenomenal. I read the bulk of this book this past Sunday, a weirdly warm and incredibly windy day in Minnesota. It was the kind of weather that makes my head hurt and makes the dogs restless. It was also the perfect kind of weather to get lost in this story about a wind that steals away Youngers.
Tag lives in a world where she stays safely locked inside, away from the winds that stole her sisters away nearly seven years ago. But a mysterious invitation draws her out, and before she knows what’s even happening, she’s off on an adventure with other Youngers (children) she’s just met. With only their various talents and a book of fairy tales to help them, they set off to learn more about their world and hopefully rescue all the stolen Youngers. Their quest is filled with riddles, creatures, and challenges. Along the way, they discuss the state of their world, revealing to readers what it looks like and also slowly starting to interrogate what they know and what they maybe should know. They talk of a world overrun by greed, carelessness, and ignorance. They speak of Other Times and the Powers-That-Be, people who want them to not understand their past, to be uneducated and thus easier to trick and control. They live in a world where stories and books are dangerous—there are too many ideas there. But as the kids tell stories and read from the fairy tale book, they think that maybe they can handle books—they can think for themselves, make their own judgements. Maybe the books aren’t to be feared; maybe ignorance should be the real fear. Some of the most profound and startling thoughts come from the trolls, who find humans completely incomprehensible, capable of so much good and so much bad. The humans have destroyed the planet, overrun other species, tossed away plastic and garbage without a thought for where it goes, what might happen. Maybe the trolls aren’t the monsters. That’s a big thought for the Youngers to suddenly have to grapple with. With wonderful illustrations by Armando Veve, this fascinating story of adventure, truth, and impossible tasks will keep readers riveted as they follow the Youngers to places they never thought they’d visit. An excellent read.
Review copy (finished) courtesy of the publisher
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication date: 09/13/2022
Age Range: 10 – 14 Years
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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