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A Fistful Of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
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A Fistful Of Sky (2002)

by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: LaZelle Family (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5453127,178 (3.97)2 / 62
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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
In a family of magic users, Gypsum is the odd girl out -- or is she? When Gyp's powers arrive, they are different than those of her siblings -- but does that mean that her powers are evil? I found this book fun, if a little chaotic. I like stories of big, eccentric families, and fantasy books about magic users discovering their abilities, and books set during the Christmas season that involve a lot of baking, and this was all of those things. I'm still not sure what the title or the cover has to do with the actual story, so don't judge the book by those! ( )
  foggidawn | Oct 23, 2017 |
One of my favourites books in the whole world. It's about a girl who lives in a family with magical powers, she grows up expecting to get them too but instead "The Change" never arrives for her and she is normal within people who aren't and at the same time is pretty different from other normal people... Only, after years of wishing for magic of her own, The Change comes, in a way, only it's way too late to be a normal Change... [return][return]AFoS was love at first sight for me, the overweight and bookish protagonist with an appreciation for good food who's the ugly duckling of a magical family and has to made to with being "normal", that's it, with something that is, for her with her upbringing, basically a disability (even if her father and other people outside the family are also that way it does not feel that way to them, who never expected to go through transition and get a gift). This is my favourite novel ever, there's fanfic I love more but literature wise? I don't think anything can compete, not necessarily because it's better than "The Time Traveller's Wife" or "Hallucinating Foucault" but because it fits *me*. ( )
  askajnaiman | Jun 14, 2016 |
Odd cover, actually. Most of the story reads like a particularly compelling original fairy-tale or a smart paranormal YA. More fun, less mystical, than the cover implies.

At the same time it's a satisfying and rich read. I love that Gypsum (and her family) have to work very hard to figure out how to deal with her gift. It's not just 'oh, so now I can do this, but I have to be careful of that' and voila. It's complicated - as of course real magic in the real world would be.

And every character is fleshed out, too. It would be cool if there were a dozen books, one for each member of the family, and for a couple of the other friends, too. I'm not surprised to see that this is listed here on GR as LaZelle #1" even though it's perfectly satisfactory as a stand-alone. Even though I'm not a fan of series, I will be looking for more LaZelle stories, and anything else by Hoffman.

" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Although she makes no overt connection (that I noticed), the LaZelle family in 'A Fistful of Sky' is extremely similar to the magical family in her other novel, 'The Thread the Binds the Bones,' and I'd assume that Hoffman intends them to be cousins, of a sort.
However, I think that 'Fistful of Sky' is the more successful novel. It deals with the plight of Gyp, a young woman who, in addition to dealing with the issues of a loving yet controlling family and the 'normal' traumas of dating, self-image, and thinking about a career, has much more to worry about as well. As I mentioned, she comes from a magical family, and when she goes through 'transition' and gains her power, it turns out to be the rare power of curses. For Gyp, who is essentially a friendly, non-vindictive type who loves baking cookies and curling up with a good book, this is truly a curse. If she doesn't use her power, she will die. Her travails as she attempts, blunderingly, to cast her nasty spells where they'll do the least harm, are charming and amusing - but also insightful, as Hoffman deals subtly with the ways in which we tie ourselves to and interact with others, the dynamics of family, relationships and society...
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I was completely absorbed by the the story, and thought the family relationships were portrayed realistically. Gypsum's character was very well written. Until the last five pages, everything was excellent. Then the ending just left me thinking "Huh?"

I was very strongly reminded of Margaret Mahy's books. ( )
  SylviaC | Nov 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nina Kiriki Hoffmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
York, JudyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
They open their wings,
flash patterns and colors,
fly from flower to flower.
I, with the dark bristles and many feet
of the former form,
inch along the ground.

Sometimes all I want
is two armfuls of air,
a fistful of sky.
Dedication
To Ginjer.

To my family. You know who you're not.

To Kris, my guardian and goddess.

Thanks to Swedish fiddle group Vasen, who, unknowing, provided the soundtrack.
First words
In my family, we used the word we all the time.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441011772, Mass Market Paperback)

The LaZelle family of southern California has a secret: they can do magic. Real magic. As a teenager, a LaZelle undergoes "the Transition"--a severe illness that will either kill him or leave him with magical powers. If he's lucky, he gains a talent like shape-changing or wish-granting. If he's unlucky, he never experiences Transition. If he's especially unlucky, he undergoes Transition late, which increases his chances of dying. And if he survives, he will bear the burden of a dark, dangerous magic: the ability to cast only curses. And curse he must, for when a LaZelle doesn't use his magic, it kills him.

In Nina Kiriki Hoffman's A Fistful of Sky, Gypsum LaZelle is unique among her brothers and sisters: she has not undergone Transition. She resigns herself to a mundane, magic-bereft existence as a college student. Then one weekend, when her family leaves her home alone, she becomes gravely ill... --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Gypsum LaZelle is a misfit in a family of spellcasters until the day she becomes gravely ill and she discovers that her transition has occurred at last.

» see all 2 descriptions

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