Staff Review: "Jane, Unlimited"
Eighteen-year-old Jane is adrift. After the recent death of her beloved Aunt Magnolia, who raised the orphaned Jane, she dropped out of college and is working at the campus bookshop when she gets an unexpected invitation. Her former tutor, Kiran Thrash, invites her to the spring gala at her family’s island estate, Tu Reviens. Jane might not have accepted the offer had she not promised Aunt Magnolia that she would accept any invitation given to Tu Reviens, but a promise to her aunt is to be honored. Jane accepts the invitation, quits her job, and travels to Tu Reviens with all of her worldly possessions (including her handcrafted umbrellas and her Dr. Who pajamas). She is awed by the eclectic, regal home and its occupants—the family, servants, and guests— who seem to be guarding their own secrets as events unfold. There comes a point where Jane is conscious of the fact that she must chose a path to take, not realizing that each option leads to a very different outcome. Which option does she choose? This wonderful book will leave you wondering about the path not taken. It’s a great story set in a unique world with the compelling Jane at the center of a diverse cast of characters, including Jasper the loyal and attentive basset hound. The structure also allows Cashore to explore different genres to great effect. Recommended for adventurous teen and adult readers who may have wondered, “What if I had only…” and are willing to embrace an unconventional storytelling structure. The audiobook, which is available through the Wisconsin Digital Library (OverDrive), is also excellent.