In Small Favors, a gloriously dark fairy tale that's perfectly enhanced with a romantic through line, Ellerie Downing is the "reliable one," the eldest daughter who won't let her family down. Usually she helps Mama, but with her twin brother, Samuel, "sneaking off all summer," she's begun tending the beehives with Papa.
At 18, Ellerie is ready to find her own place in the "wide and wondrous world" beyond Amity Falls. But there are "giant beasts in the woods" that are believed to have killed everyone on the recent supply train headed for the city. Soon the Falls will be cut off, with monsters and winter snows ensuring no one leaves until spring. When a charming stranger--"too attractive by half"--shows up, Ellerie thinks the future she's hoped for may be about to begin. Then tragedy strikes and Papa must get Mama through the woods to a doctor in the city. Ellerie is left behind to protect what's left of her family. With supplies dwindling and townsfolk at each other's throats, the nightmare is only beginning.
Erin A. Craig (House of Salt and Sorrows) has conjured a spellbinding tale of magic and horror. Her formidable protagonist, Ellerie, is a young woman fully capable of carrying her own troubles on her back--and then some. While it enriches the story, Ellerie's romance never derails her own sense of purpose. She's not immune to the darkness but she fights it harder than most. As the town of Amity Falls, which began full of rules and righteousness, deteriorates in the face of a powerful magic, readers may well wonder who the real monsters are in this story. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author