A Tangle of Knots

by Lisa Graff

Hardcover, 2013

Call number

JF GRA

Publication

Philomel Books (2013), 240 pages

Description

Destiny leads 11-year-old Cady to a peanut butter factory, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. Includes cake recipes.

User reviews

LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
A delicious story with a delightful cast of characters, this book is Savvy meets Pie. More coming on the blog.
LibraryThing member scote23
Reminded me a lot of "Savvy" by Ingrid Law.
LibraryThing member ahandfulofconfetti
A Tangle of Knots is a really cute middle grade novel. There were lots of things to love about this one, including the wide cast of characters, the whimsical aspects (hot air balloons and a girl who loves baking cakes), and the wonderfully appetizing cake recipes scattered throughout. It's also a
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really fast read; I was finished with it in a matter of hours, and it had a readability factor to it that kept me eagerly turning pages. While it did take me a while to ultimately figure out what was going on and why these specific characters were being spotlighted, I found the ending to be sweet and satisfactory, much like the cakes used in the story.

This book really focuses on the journey a person takes to figure out who they are and what they want. In this world, people have Talents; they can be anything from a gift for whistling, to the ability to tie knots, to the gift for playing jacks, to the ability to bake a cake that's perfect for a specific person (and knowing almost instantly what that perfect cake is). I loved how the Talents were sort of strange and different, and while some of them are things you'd imagine, like the ability to write or knit or float two inches above the ground, not all of them are useful (Zane's gift for spitting was one I'm really glad none of my students possess!). And then you had Marigold, who has no Talent at all, and spends most of the book trying to figure out what she's good at (and I loved what it seemed like her natural talent was). Cady's talent, too, was interesting, because it made her focus more on others than herself, which wound up causing her some trouble later in the book.

Zane was the character who really spoke to me, particularly since he kept repeating "worthless" over and over again. It makes a person like myself, who works in the education field, really think about how you really can influence your students in both positive and negative ways. I felt terrible for Zane, because he was going through life thinking this terrible thing about himself, and it was impacting his actions and feelings on things to the point where he figured it just didn't matter. For me, his character was the most strongly drawn and written, and I was certainly pulling for him to figure things out.

A Tangle of Knots is a busy book. There's a lot going on, a lot of characters to keep straight, and not a whole lot of world-building to explain the Talents and why they exist. But in the end, I found that to not really be necessary, because the heart of the story was able to shine through and everything really did come together in a mostly-satisfying way. I'm definitely adding this to my library's "to purchase" list, and am thinking about picking up my own copy simply for those cake recipes. The chocolate one sounds especially yummy!
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LibraryThing member LaneLiterati
A cute read, especially if you are a fan of baking, with a bit of mystery and adventure thrown in. At first I wasn't sure why there were so many characters, but as the story unfolds, I saw how they all fit together.

I was left with some questions about the characters and the story, but I enjoyed
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reading it.
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LibraryThing member KimJD
Loved the whimsy of this story, and craved big hunks of cake throughout my reading... but the sheer number of characters and the speed with which the chapters bounced from person to person made it hard to keep track of what was happening to whom.
LibraryThing member mariah2
All of the different characters did make it little confusing from time to time, especially in the end, but it was fun to see how everything tied together. It is a clever story, and I loved the cake recipes shared through out the book. I need to try Zane’s cake.
LibraryThing member RefPenny
Set in a world where most people have a particular talent, Cadence is an orphan girl with a talent for baking cakes that are just right for a particular person. This is the story of her journey to find her perfect family and the curious collection of characters she meets on the way. Lots of strands
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were tied together in the end but the beginning was a bit confusing with the introduction of so many characters and their different stories.
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LibraryThing member bookczuk
I had a definite problem with this book. Interspersed between the story are some of the most scrumptious sounding cake recipes, and I kept wanting to stop and bake, which put me at war with the part of myself that just kept wanting to read. What a delicious dilemma.

The inside flap reads
In a
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remarkable world where many people are blessed with a special Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal ability for cake baking... and no idea of the journey that Fate set in place for her the moment she was born. But when Cady moves into an upstairs room in the town's Lost Luggage Emporium, she meets a curious cast of characters whose lives are tangled with her own in ways she never could have imagined.

Cake baking, magic, living above a Lost Luggage Emporium? What's not to like?! The reader meets the "curious cast of characters" before Cady does and we get to watch what seems to be a tangle of loose ends turn into a braid of exquisite beauty.

Another recommendation from Nancy Pearl on NPR. HAsn't steered me wrong yet.
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LibraryThing member librarian1204
A really delightful book for upper elementary students. Told from multiple viewpoints , it might at first be difficult for children to connect the characters and events both past and present. There is magic and talents and some good lessons. All the loose ends tie up nicely. Bonus is the cake
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recipes that are generously interspersed in the book. Cakes for all the main characters. 'worthwhile'
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LibraryThing member Perednia
Would make an excellent read-aloud. Good example of how to tell the stories of several characters and have them all merge. Sweet story.
LibraryThing member Brainannex
A cute read. I can see where the comps to Savvy are based and this would be a fine one to recommend to someone who loved that book. I think its strongest point is in the way the story itself is told, focusing on multiple viewpoints which at first seem very different but then all come together in a
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grand finale. And cakes. Cake is good.
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LibraryThing member foggidawn
Eleven-year-old Cadence has a Talent for baking cakes -- she can look at a person and know exactly how to make the kind of cake they would like best. Cady is an orphan, despite the fact that she lives with a woman whose Talent is matching orphans to their perfect families. Cady's past is more
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mysterious than most, however, and it will take a special train of circumstances, involving a prankster, a Talent thief, a peanut butter factory, a powder-blue suitcase, and more before everyone in the story ends up exactly where they are supposed to be.

This book reminded me inevitably of SAVVY by Ingrid Law, what with the special Talents that many of the characters possess. The author did many things well, particularly telling the story from multiple distinct viewpoints and taking a convoluted plot and bringing all of the elements together in the end. There are also delicious-sounding cake recipes interspersed -- that, and the folksy quirkiness reminded me at times of PIE by Sarah Weeks. I thought this was a good story, though not (at least for this reader) a great one.
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LibraryThing member booktwirps
In A Tangle of Knots, Lisa Graff brings us a delightful fantasy novel where almost everyone has a special talent, and if they don’t, then they desperately try to find one. Combining several stories that are “knotted” together, we meet a host of enjoyable characters, a collection of blue
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suitcases and a little girl who has the uncanny ability to bake a cake perfectly suited for anyone’s personality.

The book is told from multiple viewpoints, but focuses primarily on little Cady, the orphan who has the uncanny ability to bake a cake perfectly suited for someone’s personality. Cady is adorable, and I really felt for her. She wants desperately to find a family of her own, but for some reason Miss Molloy, the woman in charge of the orphanage whose talent is the ability to perfectly match a child to parents, has been unsuccessful in matching Cady.

We also meet several other characters including V (a woman who cannot speak), Zane (a total problem child), Marigold (a girl who desperately wants to find her talent), and Will (a boy desperate for an adventure).

The writing is perfectly suited for a middle grade audience, but I think teens and adults looking for an enjoyable fantasy would really like this one. What I especially liked were the recipes peppered throughout the book. The recipes are for the cakes Cady makes based on other character’s personalities. While it did take me a while to figure out how on earth all of these stories would tie together, I really enjoyed the book. Eventually it all came together, and I was pleased with the ending.

Light, fun, magical and mysterious, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to escape in a bit of magical realism. And you might find a new cake recipe you can’t live without!
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LibraryThing member Mad.River.Librarian
Truth be told, I'm partial for a book with recipes, especially recipes for cake. I am one of those readers who doesn't mind curling up with a well-written cookbook. Graff's novel reads like contemporary fiction with a twist - a little magic thrown in an otherwise ordinary universe. People have
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Talents, and for some that might be spitting, or tying knots, or playing the oboe, or for Cady, its baking cakes. And not just any cakes, but cakes perfectly matched for their intended. The problem is, only, that Cady is an orphan and would love to find a family to call her own. She just might get her wish that is, until, a mysterious stranger floats into town, upsetting the rhymes and balance of the entire community.

A fun read. I certainly was engaged and think young readers will be too. Grades 4-6.
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LibraryThing member EuronerdLibrarian
The book is better than ok, but that's how much I didn't actually like it more than ok. There were too many characters, with too many storylines and too many points of view that change/switch too often. It literally was a tangle of plotlines that lead to one big knot where they all intersect. At
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the intersection are some revelations and quick resolutions. The villain just sort of disappears. There wasn't enough time in this book to get to know the characters and get involved.
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LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
This was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed watching all the characters come together and their lives intersect. I hope to try some of the cake recipes too.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
This was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed watching all the characters come together and their lives intersect. I hope to try some of the cake recipes too.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
This was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed watching all the characters come together and their lives intersect. I hope to try some of the cake recipes too.
LibraryThing member Rosa.Mill
This was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed watching all the characters come together and their lives intersect. I hope to try some of the cake recipes too.
LibraryThing member VavaViolet
Such a cute book for readers young and old alike. It's told from various pov's, but the main protagonist is 11 year old Cady. It's set in a world where people has specific "talents," Cady's talent is baking the perfect cake for someone. However, where there's a protagonist there's also an
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antagonist who steals other people's talents. The varying pov's was confusing at first and I wish the ending wasn't vague, but I loved the characters and the author's whimsical writing style. The book also includes cake recipes which is pretty darn awesome! All in all this is an enjoyably light read. I give this ️3 and 1/2 stars.
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LibraryThing member agrudzien
In this world you are either talented or fair...your talent could be something useless like spitting or useful like cake baking. Told from many different points of view, we meet the Asher family - Marigold only wants to find her talent, Cady - who finally has been adopted, V - a mysterious author
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who cannot remember who she is, and the Owner who has the most dangerous talent of all. They all live in the same building that used to be a peanut butter factory and while their stories don't always seem to be on the same path they weave a wonderful fantasy tale.

My favorite of all her books I have read. I love thinking about the knot maker and his part in the story as well as how keeping secrets can cause a lot more harm than good, depending on the secret.
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LibraryThing member jothebookgirl
I just finished A Tangle of Knots. I truly liked it although the way people came together were a little too convenient, but very sweet. Spoiler... I wanted V to write again, but then I don't know too much how strokes effect folks. I did wonder if the Zane's Garlic Cake would be referenced in the
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story. If so I missed it. . I guess that recipe was in there for the "whaaaaaa" factor? Lastly, I personally didn't see how The Owner levitating 2 inches above the ground added to the story. But in the end, the tangle all seemed to resolve into a complete ending.
I am reading these last books rather quickly before the 2014 Newbery book award announcement. announcement.
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LibraryThing member SusanGeiss
Delightful! Thanks to the publisher for the print ARC.
A wonderful demonstration of how fate leads you on a path that you may not understand but will help you to grow and understand life better, stretch you to your limits, and bring you happiness in the end. Filled with spunky characters and a
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sprinkle of magic, this book will be one that young middle readers will enjoy! A winner!
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LibraryThing member CatherineMilos
This book was a nice and light read. The sentiments were cute and the characters were likable.
Love the cover art. It is bright and cheery with a hint of mystery - it very much matches the tone of the book and the overall theme.

Would I recommend it? If you're looking for a quick feel good read that
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isn't too heavy or have a pre-teen who loves to read - this book would be a good fit.
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LibraryThing member reader1009
Children's fiction (4th-6th or even as a readaloud to/with 1st-3rd); lightweight magic and a bit of sweet suspense. The publisher's description will tell you that Graff has expertly "woven together" these characters' stories in a delightful mix of adventure, mystery, and cake recipes, and that is
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for the most part an accurate description. I enjoyed this tale, reading it through in one sitting, and could easily see it as a children's/child-and-parent book club selection--though there are a good 9-10 characters to keep track of, the author has made it easy to do so, and I could really see kids taking to the concepts of having special Talents such as floating or whistling (or being one of the un-Talented Fair) and debating which cake recipe(s) they want to try.
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Pages

240

ISBN

0399255176 / 9780399255175
Page: 0.4286 seconds