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The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Headless Cupid (original 1971; edition 1985)

by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Author)

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8471916,122 (3.73)27
Title:The Headless Cupid
Authors:Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Author)
Info:Yearling (1985), 224 pages
Collections:Book Room

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The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1971)


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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This was a brilliant re-read ~ I'd forgotten what an engrossing story The Headless Cupid is. My most admired passages are about David's view (and care) of his siblings and how well the author can convey the sad despair and anger of a child (Amanda) passed from one parent to the other in a divorce. My favourite character is Blair. And I love how the story ends. It was delicately achieved without being predictably clichéd or sentimental. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Feb 20, 2019 |
Me and my reading nostalgia. 'The Headless Cupid' was my first Zilpha Keatley Snyder book and made her my favorite author. It took me years to figure out how to say her name.

All grown up now, this is definitely one of her best books, striking the perfect balance between troubled youth and the supernatural.

Snyder knows that the kids aren't alright, and that is what makes her books worth reading. Because yes, it's true that her plots aren't intricate but she knew how to write how kids spoke with each other.

Here we don't get into the head of the troubled Amanda, but instead see her actions through the eyes of her new stepbrother David, a boy whose been mostly responsible for his siblings since his mother's death years ago. Snyder handles his conflicted feelings for his mother, his step-mother and his curious awe for Amanda's rebellion deftly and with compassion.

The other Stanley children, motormouth Janie, stubborn Tesser, and her twin, the sweet and spooky Blair, are not fully fleshed out characters yet, its true, but there's such genuineness to their interactions that it's not a surprise to me that Snyder wrote three sequels:

That's what the greatness of this books comes down to: you pick up her books eager for a spooky mystery, which is delivered, but more importantly, you're exposed to your own thoughts and doubts and fears coming out of another character's mouth and actions. There may be more action-oriented, "better," books out there for young adults these days, but I haven't read anything else for this age-range that so perfectly captures the mindset of someone on the edge of childhood and making those first painful transitions into adolescence.

Stanley Family

Next: 'The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
David and his three younger siblings move into an old and mysterious house with their dad, new stepmom and her peculiar daughter, Amanda, who is twelve to David's eleven. Amanda is interested-slash-borderline-obsessed with everything occult, to the point that she moves in along with a crow, a toad and a snake despite the fact that the crow treats her viciously and she's afraid of reptiles. She quickly establishes herself as the leader and pulls David and the little ones into an elaborate series of initiation rites. David begins to sense that her strange behavior is less about witchcraft and more to do with all the recent changes in her life. When they learn that there may have been a poltergeist in the old house long ago, however, things start happening and David works to solve all sorts of mysteries.
An interesting story and a fun read that pulls you in and keeps you page-turning. David's character is immediately likable, and Amanda and the rest of the kiddos are completely believable and easy to root for. ( )
  electrascaife | Feb 23, 2018 |
I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this book. Was it a paranormal thing, was it a cute story about children learning how to live together as a mixed family? Each description spun it differently, so I started the book confused as to what I was supposed to think about it. This book centers on David, the oldest of the Stanley children. Amanda comes to live with them, and he finds her interesting. She studies the occult and witchcraft and takes the Stanley children as her apprentices, to teach them how to do spells and read the future. The thing is, they may have awakened a ghost with their activities.

I enjoyed this book; Snyder perfectly encapsulates a lot of what it is to be young. The tense friendship that David and Amanda strike is incredibly realistic; she resents her mother for re-marrying, but she also likes having friends and other people to entertain, so they have a somewhat “frenemy” vibe. I also absolutely loved how the magic-teaching was handled in this book. I have had seances and done spells at ten years old that could be a direct copy of what was done in this book, which was just perfect. However, this all provides a backdrop for exploring issues surrounding divorce and re-marriage: learning to live in a new place, accepting that your parents are no longer together, being a sibling to kids you haven’t met before, etc. Amanda is incredibly confused and hurt by her mother’s remarriage, so she works it out through these magical activities. This would be a great book to give to a fanciful child who’s having some issues dealing with a separation.

However, the story isn’t overly heavy and laden with emotional trauma. It’s fun and whimsical and has some great paranormal stuff going on with a possible haunting. I like that it toes the line between paranormal and realistic, not really leaning in either direction. This is well worth its Newbery Honor and I highly recommend it.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
1 vote sedelia | Dec 18, 2017 |
In The Headless Cupid, Amanda, the new stepsister, arrives in the Stanley household with a chip on her shoulder and a box of cool occult paraphenelia. The four Stanley children are fascinated and a little overwhelmed--but much to Amanda's surprise, they have a little magic to offer her in return.
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zilpha Keatley Snyderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Raible, AltonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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David often wondered about how he happened to be sitting there on the stair landing, within arm's reach of the headless cupid, at the very moment when his stepmother left Westerly House to bring Amanda home.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440435072, Paperback)

Legend has it that a ghost cut the head off a wooden cupid on the stairway of the Stanley house. Has the ghost returned to strike again?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Life is never quite the same again for eleven-year-old David after the arrival of his new stepsister, a student of the occult.

(summary from another edition)

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