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Cobwebs    by Karen Romano Young order for
by Karen Romano Young
Order:  USA  Can
Greenwillow, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is a story about families with 'spiderness' talents, that manifest in a variety of ways. Though family members have serious problems (including how to keep their abilities and differences a secret), they aren't quite dysfunctional as the individuals still seem to care a great deal for each other.

Nancy's parents, Rachel and Ned, love each other but can't live together. Rachel needs to be rooted to the ground and is afraid to leave her basement apartment. There she indulges her passion for weaving. Ned lives on a rooftop, and, despite a fear of heights, Nancy commutes between the two. She worries about them and about their expectations of her - her parents and grandparents all seem to be waiting for her talent to show itself.

Nancy develops an interest in Dion, an odd boy who seems to be stalking her. He shaved his head and ran away from home, after his mother Rose attempted suicide. Dion's father Niko is a journalist who writes stories about the 'Angel', who apparently intervenes from the heights to help city people in trouble. Niko is blackmailing Nancy's grandparents into attempting to heal his wife. This effort is slowly killing Nancy's beloved grandmother.

I liked the answers that Nancy's family gave to her question about how you know someone, especially Grandpa Joke's response, 'Show him some kindness ... Kindness brings a person out.' Cobwebs is an unusual story, somewhat disjointed at times, but accurate in its portrayal of the confusion that adults can cause by not sharing their troubles with their children.

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