Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie

by Holly Black

When Val discovers her boyfriend and her mother are sexually involved, she runs away... read more

When Val discovers her boyfriend and her mother are sexually involved, she runs away from her New Jersey home, overwhelmed by feelings of betrayal and humiliation. Alone in New York City, she soon hooks up with other kids living on the street. With their help, Val learns how to eat, sleep, and live as a homeless teenager. Before long Val becomes aware of another layer of life in the city: witches, trolls, faeries, and other magical beings who live unnoticed among the humans, except for the few like her friends who work as errand runners for the supernaturals. They deliver the drug Never to faeries, who use it as a protection from iron, a necessity for survival in an urban environment. When Val uses Never, she experiences euphoria and exploits the drug’s side effect, which enables her to control the actions of others. Gripped in a drug addiction, Val also becomes trapped in Faerie conspiracies: faeries who take Never are dying, and no one knows who’s behind the murders. Is it Ravus, the troll drug maker to whom Val is very attracted, or someone else? Val must choose between her drug use and her loyalty to Ravus. While making the most of its gothic aura, this dark fantasy doesn’t shy away from the downside of Val’s life, from drug use and sex, to hunger, dirt, and cold. (Ages 14–17)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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