In A Tangle of Knots, Lisa Graff creates a world where some people have Talents and others are Fair (meaning without a Talent). While some of the Talents could actually benefit the person (for example, Cady not only bakes wonderful cakes, she’s able to figure out what flavor every person would like best which could lead to a very profitable bakery), others are completely ridiculous (such as Zane’s spitting ability). In addition to the fantasy element, there’s a bit of a mystery with a tendency toward thriller at the end.
Although a middle grade novel, the short chapters (sometimes only half a page) created too many easy stopping points without enough of a cliffhanger to compel the reader to keep going. Multiple points of view interrupted the narrative flow far too many times. The characters did eventually come together, but it felt forced to have everyone show up at Cady’s cake baking competition—a ticketed event that only three of the characters should have had admittance to.
The book does have some great cake recipes including a mystery fudge cake for the character V.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Philomel Books.