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A Tangle of Knots

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Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan. If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.

Lisa Graff adds a pinch of magic to a sharply crafted plot to create a novel that will have readers wondering about fate and the way we're all connected.

230 pages, Hardcover

First published February 5, 2013

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About the author

Lisa Graff

24 books477 followers
Lisa Graff is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, as well as Lost in the Sun, Absolutely Almost, Double Dog Dare, Umbrella Summer, The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower, The Thing About Georgie and Sophie Simon Solves Them All. Originally from California, she lived for many years in New York City and now makes her home just outside of Philadelphia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,112 reviews
Profile Image for Kathryn.
169 reviews292 followers
July 29, 2017
Magical realism for the elementary crowd. Love, love, love.

Tangle of Knots is set in a world where everyone has a Talent--well, almost everyone. Certain Talents have obvious benefits like finance or medicine. Others are simply Potter-esque delights like being able to float or vanish at will. And unfortunately, a few Talents appear mostly useless, like tying fancy knots. The Talent-less few are referred to as “Fairs,” and in a universe comprised of the hyper-skilled, there’s nothing worse than being ordinary.

Eleven-year-old Cady’s Talent is baking cakes. But she’s no 1950s housewife-in-training. Cady can detect a person’s favorite cake--even if they themselves don’t know it--just by meeting them.

Sadly, Cady’s life isn’t all peaches and cream (or flour and sugar?). An orphan, Cady resides in Miss Mallory’s Home for Lost Girls. Miss Mallory’s Talent is match-making. She pairs kiddos with their ideal family. The only orphan she’s never been able to pair? Cady.

Luckily one day, Miss Mallory finally succeeds in matching Cady with a man named Toby. Cady’s new home is atop the Lost Luggage Emporium where she meets a wacky cast of characters. Zane the Long-distance Spitter, Will who can get Lost ANYWHERE, & a seemingly talentless Marigold who’s worried she may be Fair.

Running the emporium is a man referred to simply as “The Owner.” BUM. BUM. BUM. (Not-so) SHOCKINGLY, The Owner is our Big Bad whose talent is stealing other people’s talents and he has his eye on Cady.

Chapters are told from alternating perspectives. All these perspectives and characters fit together like a puzzle, slowly piecing together to provide a complete picture. As the story progresses, additional information is revealed and backstories unraveled. Whimsy and magic weave throughout the pages making this tale one to relish.
Profile Image for Barb Middleton.
1,757 reviews125 followers
April 15, 2014
I have a Talent for burning food into unrecognizable rock-like chunks that Ker-plunk when tossed into the garbage can. The people of Poughkeepsie either have a Talent or they don't. The worst thing for a person in Pookie - I mean Poughkeepsie - is to have no Talent. Those that don't tend to be "Middlings" or middle children. (That explains my Talent woes). Poor Middling Marigold is one of those with no Talents and she's desperately trying to find it. When we first meet her in the story, she is tooling down her list of possible talents and scatching out, pinata making. Her attempt to make a goldfish pinata ends disastrously when the head breaks off and rolls across the kitchen floor. The domino effect of her breaking it is quite funny with an ironic afterwards of her ruefully looking at the severed head, "Your pinata skills need work, its gaping fish mouth seemed to tell her." Interesting characters and great writing make this a fun read.

Alternating voices tell this tale; however, the main voice is that of Cady, an orphan who has a Talent for baking mouth-drooling cakes. Cady wants to find a permanent home, but it never works out. She is sent back to the orphanage run by the wonderful Jennifer Mallory who adores Cady like a daughter. Jennifer is quite successful using her Talent to find orphans' homes, except it doesn't work with Cady. Marigold's younger brother, Will, has a Talent for disappearing and the chapters he narrates are filled with the imagination and adventure in contrast to the 10-11 year old Cady and Marigold. Will pretends he is a storybook knight whose motto is: "Giants. Monsters. Cake." And whether he's crawling through air ducts or riding a dumb waiter in the walls that no one else knows about, he bubbles and bounces through each day with zest. It is fun as an adult reader to be reminded of the joys of childhood. (Not that I climbed in air ducts! I explored the street sewers like a rat.)

Zane, older brother to Marigold and Will, has a talent for spitting. This gob-spitting maestro can project a glop of mucus with such precision that he uses this Talent for many things such as annoying Marigold. Lisa Graff creates authentic relationships between siblings who bicker and stick up for each other. "I'm going to tell Mom and Dad you spit at me," she [Marigold] retorted. "But she knew it was useless, like a poodle puppy yipping at a full-grown rottweiler." When Zane accidentally shoots down or I should say spits down the mysterious grey-suit-man's hot air balloon causing damage to their apartment, he sets into motion one of the many subplots that ties characters pasts with the present creating one complex muddled knot.

The adult voices of the Owner, Toby, Mrs. Asher, Mrs V, and Miss Mallory were not as engaging for me as the three children. I liked the different voices, although it was confusing at times and I did have to go back and reread some sections because I missed important details. I found that the multiple-voices made what would have been a somewhat predictable plot, unpredictable. Graff drops clues but doesn't recap everything so the reader has to put it all together for the most part. It was quite fun and reminded me of a mystery where clues are left like a trail of crumbs. The plot doesn't answer all the questions and the ending seemed a bit rushed but overall it is a highly entertaining story.

You might want to stop here. I am going to add some spoilers. I don't know how to talk about the author's messages. Sorry. Read this after you've read the book. Or if you are like me and have a Talent for forgetting everything or if you read the last page of a novel, then please read on.  

Mason, Delores, and Zane have problems with feeling worthless and they steal as a way to find self-worth. It is implied that Mason's family thinks he is good-for-nothing. We don't know when or why he steals others Talents. Delores steals a bone artifact as a young adult feeling it gives her worth because she found it on a dig as the only person with no Talent. Her insecurity is reflected in Zane who feels worthless by the Principal at his school. Delores and Zane change emotionally from beginning to end as they learn to like themselves, but Mason stays a one-dimensional villain.

At first I thought the Talents were rigid. You either had one or you didn't, but they are actually fluid. You can lose them and gain them in random or purposeful ways such as Mason stealing them and Cady losing hers. As such they are more true to real-life talents that come and go. For instance, I once had a talent for soccer, but I can't play now because of arthritis. Talents come and go and are nurtured in different ways and at different times in a person's life. As one character says, "A Talent is only rewarding if you wield it well." The idea at the end of the book where the group doesn't use any Talents and creates peanut butter that tastes almost as magical as the original recipe is a statement on teamwork and effort to be good at something without focusing on natural talent. Too bad Mason didn't stick around to learn that with his relatives. Multiple in-depth messages are thrown forth in this novel that make it good for book clubs.

Fate is another big theme. The man in the grey suit is the Fate-maker, but unlike the Greeks who felt Fate was predetermined, Fate-man believes that it is how one reacts to situations, "It's the way we deal with what Fate hands us that defines who we are." He isn't the only one who says this or believes it. Fate is described the same way by Cady and Marigold as they go through their emotional arc. At the end, when Cady slips the jar in her pocket it is clear that she is making a choice as to what to do with Fate. Fate isn't about being a victim. Fate is about choosing your destiny.

The writing has a heavy dose of repetition that helps highlight key points and certain words, such as Mr. Fate-man had "a grin that suggested he knew more about the world than he was letting on" and when the same phrase is used by Cady at the end it is clear that she understands that happiness is being with those you love and love you back and choosing your destiny. Or words such as "Adoption Day" that celebrates a child finding a family which reflects Cady's deepest desire or the repeated "Wha-pop!" of the door at the Emporium and the "click-click clack" of the pet ferret that add texture and emotion to different episodes. The cake recipes sprinkled throughout the chapters connects cooking in a nonfictiony way with Cady's story. Even the mystery book all the characters are reading, "Face Value," is a comment on the superficiality of Talents. The real depth of a person comes from what is inside and how they choose to determine his or her Fate.

O' Talented readers, pick this winner up and enjoy.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,238 followers
January 24, 2013
A Tangle of Knots is a middle grade novel with a lot of ambitions. The characters are all interesting, the premise is interesting and the plot is fast paced and filled with action. The problem is that the novel bites off more than it can chew in the relatively few number of pages it calls its own. There are way too many characters and not enough time is spent developing them all. I understand what the novel intended to do with this set up but unfortunately, for me, it failed. This does not mean I didn’t enjoy the novel, I did. It was quite charming.

I just think that it could have made a lot more impact, could have been way more solid had the author decreased the number of characters, things would have come together and clicked with a more audible (figuratively) click than they did. As it is, there were some characters who were well developed and others who weren’t. Toby, for instance, was shadowy, more shadowy than we needed him to be. “The Owner’s” motivations are blurry, what makes him the way he is, what changed him from the earnest young man we meet in the beginning. The children are well characterized as is Miss Mallory.

The ending is a bit rushed and while things are resolved, there is still that feeling of being rushed. However, it just may be that because I am not the target audience, I am unnecessarily overthinking things. Younger readers who question far less than adult readers do will be entertained by this charming tale.
Profile Image for Fahime.
329 reviews228 followers
September 18, 2018
یک کتاب پرشخصیت، پر ماجرا و پیچ در پیچ در ژانر رئالیسم جادویی برای نوجوانان. پرکشش و جذاب نوشته شده و ترجمه‌ی خوبی داره. اما به نظر من برای این تعداد صفحه، زیادی پرشخصیت و پرماجراست. من دوست دارم یک کتاب در مورد کدی داشته باشم، یکی در مورد دوشیزه مالوری، یکی در مورد مالک، یکی در مورد توبی، یکی در مورد خانواده‌ی آشر به خصوص ویل، و حتی یکی در مورد وی. چون واقعا هر کدام به اندازه‌ی یک کتاب مستقل، گذشته و ماجرا و یک عالمه حرف برای زدن دارن. در حالی که اینجا عملا حیف شدن.
Profile Image for Merin.
667 reviews58 followers
February 18, 2013
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 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!


To see more of my reviews, please visit me @ Read and Reviewed!
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews109 followers
February 11, 2013
Cady has a Talent for baking cakes and making just the right one for a specific person. Miss Mallory’s Talent is matching children with the perfect home, but she hasn’t been able to find the right fit for Cady for years. Will has a Talent for hiding, passing through walls and disappearing along with his pet ferret. Zach has a Talent for spitting, something just right for a troublemaker. Marigold is desperately searching for her Talent, trying all sorts of things with no luck. Then there is the mysterious man who has a Talent for knots who seems to appear whenever he is needed most. There is even a man who steals Talents and keeps them in jars, as he frantically searches suitcases for a slip of paper he lost over 50 years ago. The stories of all of these characters are just a tangle at first, but slowly the stories come together into one gorgeously designed knot of a tale.

Graff has created a world like ours but with more than a touch of magic infused into it. While most of the characters have Talents, there are some who don’t have any. There are others who only discover their talent late in life like Marigold. But in this book it is not the magical bits that make it special, instead it is the intricate storytelling, the puzzle. Readers who want a straightforward book should not look here. This is a book that hints, it rambles, it invites you in for cake and adventure, then wanders a bit more. But the wandering is rather the point, the cake is particularly important, and one wouldn’t want to miss a ramble.

Give this one to the dreamers, the wanderers, and those who want a hint of magic, sweetness and frosting with their stories. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
3,794 reviews20 followers
February 25, 2013
This is definitely my kind of book! Lots of humor, wonderful intricate plot, and a totally satisfying resolution where everything comes together. delightful!
511 reviews211 followers
November 15, 2014
This is a demure, delightful, enchanting book. If it were a color, it'd be mauve.

Think rescuing a lighter for noble purposes was the most whimsy task you'd been sent to accomplish? Well, here's another.

Try searching fifty years for a suitcase.

It was a very old suitcase, but sturdy and well-loved, boxy and large as a small child, with worn corners and three small dimples near the left clasp. Across the top a cursive scrawl of silver thread spelled out the brand: St. Anthony’s.

But now now, this isn't a crazy book.

There is a cast of adorable and cute characters: Sir Will who is looking for monsters and cakes, the boy whose spit demolished his home, the archaeologist who stole the flying bone, the woman who lost it all, the man who lost it all, a cupid woman and many others.

But my absolute favorite was Cady because she provides the best portions of this book: yummy, yummy drool-inducing baking recipes.

How wonderful is that?

Not only does it have an adorable story, A Tangle of Knots is also a cookbook. What could possibly top that? Okay I could grant an exception for this one.


The book reminded me a bit of Dragon Tales, which I loved as a kid. Still do, actually. I'm sure if Ord and Cassie and Emmy and Max and the twins read this, they'd love it too.

It's simplistic and about everyday adventures. A slice of life looked though magicked glasses. Simple vanilla cake with complicated frosting: a mishmash of spices, garlic, chocolate, peach, lime, peanut, almond, cherry.

But it's the chef's work to make them cooperate.

The writing is unfussy and sorta cute-sy, perfectly complementing the story and setting a realistically magical ambiance.

Told in multiple viewpoints, the story has many diverse plotlines but in the end, it's about an old man looking for his suitcase and an orphan looking for a family.

There are tangles of coincidences, and fate and destiny, and a mysterious, helpful man whose grin suggests he knows more about the world than he lets on and his hot air balloon run amok in this short, short novel.

The ending is tooooo prefect and a bit Roald Dahl-style. As in some stuff happens but people make the best of it and live happily ever after.

This is sweet, unabashed happiness and fun for those tired of monsters and villains.

I'd recommend this book if you are in a slump and it's raining outside(it actually is ! IN MID-JUNE!) and you don't want to read anything that is sad or depressing or makes you think. If it's a breez you need, this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Sandy.
2,557 reviews62 followers
February 2, 2014
I have to admit when I started A Tangle of Knots, I was quite confused. Too many characters were tossed at me, their lives all scattered around and I felt I had no one to connect to, I was losing faith. In walked Cady. Although she had been “sent to live with no fewer than six families” and had returned to live at Miss Mallory’s Home for Lost Children, she had found a place in my heart. Cady had an amazing Talent and a positive attitude, I knew that Cady was someone unique. Having lived in the house with Miss Mallory for many years, their relationship was special. It’s your Talent in Poughkeepsie that makes you special, just like your name. Eventually everyone will get a Talent whether it’s baking, knitting, floating or something else along these lines. At the Lost Luggage Emporium, The Owner receives luggage from the airport and sells these missing treasures inside his shop. The Owner is a strange man with lots of connections to the town but you really should keep your distance from him. As you realize the layers of Poughkeepsie, you discover another mystery that is below the surface. It had been there the whole time; it just took certain events to get there. There’s an interesting twist and there were certain parts of the book that left me scratching my head. I kept my paper and pen out, keeping track of the in and outs of this small community as I thought it was rather confusing and jumbled up at times. I guess perhaps I was not meant to understand this small town of Poughkeepsie and that’s okay with me. It sure was bustling with activity.
Profile Image for Cecelia.
400 reviews209 followers
March 4, 2013
One person I trust (and you should, too!) for middle grade recommendations is Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library. When she reviewed Lisa Graff’s A Tangle of Knots and mentioned fantasy and baking in the same breath, I knew this would be a book for me. And so it is – the charming story and tasty recipes included at chapter’s end are light, lovely reading.

A Tangle of Knots is a gem of a story: short, sweet, magical, and full of unexpected characters and connections. It centers on Cady, a diminutive orphan with a Talent for baking. She lives in a world where most people have Talents that allow them to do one thing superhumanly well. Often Talents are simple things, like spitting, or whistling, but some are extremely useful, such as Miss Mallory’s (the proprietor of Cady’s orphanage) Talent for matching orphans with the perfect family.

The trouble is that Cady has been living at the orphanage for ten whole years – which is a record, because usually Miss Mallory matches girls within days, and sometimes in just an hour or two! The story doesn’t encompass only these two, though. It is told from many viewpoints, and their threads of story weaved together to paint a bigger picture of choices and fate, caring for others, and following your heart. It’s sweet without verging on stifling, and magical without losing immediacy or a contemporary setting.

The only thing that took a little getting used to was that ever-changing narrative voice. The story jumps from character to character not only by chapter but within chapters as well, and this is a little jarring to start. Soon, though, you become lost in everyone’s unique stories. Part of the fun is wondering how they all fit together, and speculating about who the gentleman with the hot air balloon is, and what he wants.

This is a gentle fantasy with a beating heart. It explores themes of family, finding what is important to you (be it a Talent, belonging or adventure), self-worth, and righting the wrongs of the past. It also features several generations of characters, and that element is done particularly well. It’s all-ages reading, and lest we forget those delectable recipes… all-ages baking too.

Recommended for: fans of Lauren Oliver’s Liesl & Po, those who enjoy light fantasy, anyone with an interest in well-woven middle grade stories, and all those who love adventures and cake.
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews64 followers
February 13, 2013
A TANGLE OF KNOTS is a story told in bits and pieces, where every little bit connects and creates a whole that is lovely and magical. What at first seems random is interconnected, people moving in and out of each other's lives in the most unexpected ways.

Cady is an orphan with a Talent for baking cakes. That's talent with a capital T. The world of A TANGLE OF KNOTS is much like ours except for the fact that most people have Talents. It can take awhile to find yours, and it may not be impressive, but it's something special that you're very, very good at. Those who are Fair and have no Talent can still be successful, like the woman who owned the world's best peanut butter factory.

Cady's gone an exceptionally long time without being adopted. Miss Mallory knows exactly who the perfect parents for her charges are, so the process is often quite quick. Then the perfect father walks into her life. A TANGLE OF KNOTS is told from many points of view and at first I disliked how short each chapter was. I felt like I would get a sense of the new narrator then be whisked away. Then I got into the rhythm of the story and liked how it alternated, every section slotting perfectly into place.

Although A TANGLE OF KNOTS is a sort of gentle and innocent fantasy, it does have an excellent villain and some hints of darkness. The Owner is incredibly creepy, although his past does evoke some pity. The Talents, while treasured by their owners, can also be troublesome. One character found her Talent very late in life and misses the career she had as a Fair - the career she never would've advanced in because she wasn't Talented. The magic is joyous to the child characters, but the adult narrators have a more nuanced view.

I think A TANGLE OF KNOTS will appeal to fans of Roald Dahl and Richard Peck. It has the same sense of wonder as Dahl and the warmth of Peck. It's domestic, but still contains an amazing adventure, a long-lost legacy, and a woman without words. Best of all, it contains recipes for Cady's mouthwatering cakes (and a pie).
Profile Image for Mohi Hajihoseini.
87 reviews26 followers
August 21, 2021
بعد از خوندن آخرین جمله‌ی کتاب به خودم اومدم و دیدم یه لبخند بزرگ روی لب‌هام نقش بسته. با این که این کتاب برای نوجوان‌ها نوشته شده و من روابط پیچ در پیچ بین شخصیت‌ها رو به راحتی حدس زدم اما واقعا حس بسیار خوبی داشت.
کتاب درباره‌ی استعدادهاست. انسان هایی با استعدادهای خاص و نه لزوما به درد بخور که در یک دنیای سوررئال زندگی میکنن. شخصیت اصلی کتاب دختر یتیمیه که فقط با فکر کردن به مردم میتونه مناسب‌ترین و بهترین کیک دنیا رو برای اون ها بپزه( یعنی کیک من چی میتونست باشه؟_؟)
موضوعی که درحین پیشروی در داستان بهش فکر می‌کردم این بود که آیا فقط داشتن استعداد برای یک زندگی خوب کافیه و بدون استعدادهای ویژه نمیشه زندگی کرد؟ فکر کنم آخر داستان جواب این سوال رو خواهیم گرفت.
Profile Image for Fi's Journey.
532 reviews20 followers
February 24, 2021
Will would barely remember how to blink. "I'm on an adventure," he breathed. He clutched his hairpin sword a little tighter, wishing Sally were with him. "Life is the grandest adventure one can go on, isn't it?" the giant said kindly (he seemed to be a very friendly giant). "What else could a person ask for than just to be alive?" Will knew exactly what else a person could ask for. "Monsters," he said. "And cake."

This was a beautiful story with beautiful characters. I loved the characters, their individual stories and how the author intertwined them all together.

If Marigold had learned anything that week, it was that trying hard and being a good person didn't always mean that good things would happen to you.
Profile Image for Mari.
442 reviews27 followers
May 11, 2015
I REALLY liked this one a lot. I will likely re-read it, and I wouldn't be surprised if I wind up giving it another star. . .

I wouldn't classify it as a mystery, but there are certainly lots of mysterious parts that come together at the end in a most satisfying way. The way Lisa Graff creates different storylines that are eventually woven tightly together reminded me a little of how I felt reading Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

Highly recommended, and a great read-alike for folks who loved Savvy by Ingrid Law.
Profile Image for Arghavan.
319 reviews
October 25, 2021
هوم. دوستش داشتم.
در مقایسه با جلد دوم، این داستان معمایی‌تر و هیجان‌انگیزتر و منسجم‌تری داشت؛ ولی امان از حال و هوای جادویی و درخشان و طلایی و بنفش جلد دوم. انگار جلد اول مخصوص داستان‌گفتن بود و جلد دوم مخصوص طراحی جهان و تعریفِ قوانین و ایده‌های جادویی‌ش. هر کدوم رو یه جور دوست داشتم، و مدل معما حل کردن لیزا گرف رو بیشتر از همه. خوب بلده شاخک‌های آدم رو تیز کنه انگار.
Profile Image for Piyali.
900 reviews20 followers
November 19, 2015
An interesting book for middle grades. A well written commentary on exploring and discovering one's talents and gifts. I would love to hear thoughts on this book from its target audience. I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books232 followers
October 1, 2013
So enjoyed this one. And appreciated a book that's sophisticated for kids. I definitely had to pay close attention to connect the dots!
Profile Image for Sina & Ilona Glimmerfee.
1,055 reviews121 followers
December 31, 2021
Cady lebt im Waisenhaus von Miss Mallory, die das Talent hat, zu spüren, wenn etwas zusammengehört. Doch bei Cady hat ihr Talent bislang versagt, dabei würde sich doch eigentlich fast jede Familie über so eine begnadete Bäckerin freuen, denn Cady kann für jeden Menschen den perfekten Kuchen backen.

Das Buch hat einen sehr ungewöhnlichen Schreibstil für ein Kinderbuch und ich hatte anfangs ein paar Schwierigkeiten mich einzuleben. Doch es lohnt sich über die ersten Schwierigkeiten hinwegzulesen. Die Geschichte springt von einem Buchcharakter zum nächsten, aber die Geschichte wird dabei immer weitergeführt. Es gibt einige skurrile Charaktere und jede Menge Talente. Talente stehen im Mittelpunkt, ob sie gesucht werden, gefunden, gestohlen oder man lieber ganz ohne wäre. Es war für mich aber auch eine Geschichte, die dem Leser vielleicht erzählen möchte, dass alles irgendwann einen Sinn ergibt, auch wenn sich dieser im ersten Moment nicht entschlüsseln lassen will.

Das Buch hat mir von Seite zu Seite besser gefallen, wobei mir ganz besonders die Kindercharaktere und das Frettchen Sally ans Herz gewachsen sind. Als Extra gibt es Rezepte zum Backen von Cadys leckeren Kuchen.

Profile Image for Genna.
101 reviews15 followers
November 11, 2018
4.5 stars for this awesome book!!

I think a movie adaptation for this book is a great idea. I love the lightness of the story. I'm so happy to find some cake recipes on this book. It was a fun read. The connection between each character is like having small pieces of puzzle that you need to put together to form a wonderful picture. I wanted to taste the mouth-watering cakes of Cady!!

Profile Image for Louize.
428 reviews43 followers
March 3, 2017
Thoughts from The Page Walker

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (2013)

In this whimsical story, Lisa Graff created an alternative reality wherein people are recognized through the Talent endowed on them, from baking, planting, knitting, even matching people together. Those who are talentless are called Fair, which isn't really a bad thing.

“A Talent is only rewarding if you wield it well.”

Before our main story begins, Mason Burgess (supposedly an heir to a fortune) was waiting at a bus station when he was engaged by a salesman who got talent for tying knots. Before parting ways, the salesman warned Mason not to lose his suitcase. Well, Mason intended not too, since his future depended on it.

“Well, that’s the thing about knots, isn't it? …If you don’t know the trick, it’s a muddled predicament. But in fact each loop of every knot is carefully placed, one twisting right into the other in a way you might not have expected.”

It seems the salesman’s talent for tying knots is not limited on ropes, but on life and fate as well. Fifty-three years later after the bus station encounter, the story picked up at an all-girls’ orphanage. Eleven-year old Cady, who has a marvelous talent for baking, is an orphan at Ms. Mallory’s Home for Lost Girls for as far as she could remember. She’d been through several trial families, and none of them worked so far. It is her greatest wish to have her own Adoption Day party and bake her own perfect cake.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the town, Marigold is struggling to learn her talent. It’s a bit disappointing for her, since her two siblings discovered theirs early enough. A certain mishap eventually brought Cady and this ragtag of siblings together in the Lost Luggage Emporium. From here on, the story will untangle knots, one after the other. As we very well know, knots are made of twists; and on this story, those twists are certainly engaging and delightful.

“It’s the way we deal with what Fate hands us that defines who we are.”

A Tangle of Knots was able to punch the right set of buttons for me. It has a certain amount of mystery, fantasy and charm that appealed to my taste buds. And I also meant that literally. The book is dotted by Cady’s cake recipes that are worthy of trying. This story is perfect for those who want a fast-paced, heartwarming tale of coincidences… Or were they?

A perfect tangle!

February 4, 2015
"A Tangle of Knots" is an amazing book, in my opinion. I was absolutely hooked on it from a paragraph in, and the writing style is just beautiful. The book has a way of keeping things very mysterious and interesting; with a bunch of characters whose lives are all tangled up; and throughout the story you untangle those knots.

Lisa Graff, the author, drops hints that you may not have noticed, and unravels the story in a way that just seems so natural, so that even when there's a plot twist, it doesn't seem at all forced and just gives you an odd sense of satisfaction or awe.

For example, one of the times we learned something near the end, it wasn't like an "OH MY GOSH" moment, but more of a slow dawning of realization that then rushes into more of a "whoa" moment. I think that the way the book does this, is by relying on you quite a bit of the time to make inferences. Like, it'll bring you close to the realization, but then you have to take those final steps. This gives the book a very calm, and relaxed pace. The book is also very lighthearted and quirky, which shows in the writing style.

Another moment of realization was at the end, and possibly the last plot twist, and it just worked so well. The author just did it perfectly so that everything just clicked, and it all felt like one big puzzle with the last piece-- that had stayed just out of grasp for so long-- was placed right into the center of it all.

The world-building in this book (since it is fantasy after all) was simply splendid. It all felt so natural; keeping things mysterious in the beginning of the book, until near the end when you felt like a part of the world yourself.

Another thing that helped to really draw me into the book, was the characters. They're all fun and quirky, and realistic; they all have their own personal back stories and views on life. With characters of all different ages and types, the cast of this book was truly lively and wonderful.

The ending also tied things up very nicely, and while it left somethings unanswered, I felt like that was the beauty of it all. The reader gets to answer those questions themselves by using their mind and taking that one last step-- one last leap of faith. And there were somethings, better left unanswered (though you could use your imagination if you wanted too).
Profile Image for Jayce Senter.
265 reviews12 followers
February 20, 2015
Originally posted here at In the Senter of it All

AR level: 5.4
Grade appropriate: 2nd & up

One of the best books I have read. It reminds me of A Snicker of Magic. I loved it so much I didn't want it to end!

Overall: 5/5-- Loved this book so much! Want to read more by this author.

Creativity: 5/5-- How wonderful that everyone in the book has their own talent! Such unusual talents as spitting, baking cakes, and matching people with things they will love.

Characters: 5/5-- I fell in love with each of these characters, one at a time starting with Cady.

Engrossing: 5/5-- I love this book even though it took me a while to finish it. It was the one I read as my kids were bathing. That never works out for reading a book quickly.

Writing: 5/5-- wonderful

Appeal to kids: 5/5-- I will recommend this book to everyone who loved A Snicker of Magic, Poppy Pendle, or Bliss.

Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

Language: none
Sexuality: none
Violence: none
Drugs/Alcohol: none
Profile Image for Kenzie.
118 reviews14 followers
September 6, 2014
3.5 stars - but obviously on the higher end rather than the lower.

Truly, I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. I read it in a day and it presented my imagination with delightful scenarios. It read a lot like a short story to me, well, expect that it was a full length book (though fairly short).
The prologue drew me in immediately and I wanted to know more. It was fun to have so many different perspectives in the book because they seemed to fit so well, especially once the secrets were loosed by the end of the book. I still however have unanswered questions, and while it kind of bothers me, I think it might bother me more if I knew them all. - It's that kind of book. (Or is it?) Ugh, this one is just tough to explain. What's here is all I can really say.
The creativity put behind this book is what I enjoyed the most, as well as the different characters we got to know as a reader better and better as the story progressed.
Talents. Oh those truly intriguing talents and this world where they flourish... now that was fun. :)
Profile Image for Stephanie.
572 reviews6 followers
May 4, 2016
Fast-paced, fun, and so clever! This book was recommended by a former student and it was such a delightful Sunday read. I loved the idea of the Talents (and that things you wouldn't think were talents actually were, like spitting), the short chapters, and the importance of cakes (and the recipes - I wonder if they are as good as they sound). I loved the variety of characters (The Owner was so intriguing) and the way they all came together. I also loved the simple messages learned: "If Marigold had learned anything..., it was that trying hard and being a good person didn't always mean that good things would happen to you. But maybe it did mean that others might try on your behalf." Loved it! Definitely a book I'll read again.
Profile Image for فاط.
53 reviews
August 6, 2023
این کتاب با اینکه لحن ساده و روونی داره اما معنی‌ عمیقی تو صفحه به صفحه‌ی خودش جا داده...
آدما دنبال استعداد هاشون می‌گردن و خیلی‌ها فکر می‌کنن هیچ استعدادی ندارن.
پیوند خوردن شخصیت‌های داستان با هم کتاب رو فوق‌العاده قشنگ تر می‌کنه.
خیلی دوسش داشتم...

•نوع برخورد ما با چیزی که سرنوشت سر راهمون قرار می‌ده،نشون می‌ده چطور آدمی هستیم.

•زندگی بزرگترین ماجراییه که برای آدم پیش میاد قبول داری؟آدم غیر زنده بودن دیگه چی می‌خواد؟

•در تمام این سال‌ها همیشه از خودش پرسیده بود که بقیه چه می‌خواهند،اما هیچوقت این سوال را درباره‌ی خودش نپرسیده بود.ناگهان احساس کرد که حتی نمی‌داند خودش کیست.

کتابی که اون موقع خوندنش برام لذت بخش بود.

"کتاب‌های فراموش نشدنی"
Profile Image for Sasha.
892 reviews34 followers
October 26, 2016
This book was perfect for me, albeit a bit short. It's got talented-with-a-capital-T bakers, precise spitters, one not horrible ferret, a curious hair pin, a thief, a giant, a hot air balloon, a boy who can disappear very well, and a woman who has a particular knack for matching. It's a tangle of characters and narratives, but it comes together like a lovely stacked bakery concoction with fondant flowers. It's awesome, you guys. I guess don't read this if you don't like being delighted or hungry.
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