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Jukebooks: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Winners Curse coverIn this lush high fantasy set in a society much like ancient Rome, Kestrel enjoys all the luxuries afforded to the daughter of a powerful Valorian General, whose army has conquered the Herran peninsula and enslaved its people. When she impulsively bids on a Herrani slave in the marketplace, Kestrel has little idea how the slave, Arin, will upset her life. They match each other in intelligence and share a deep love for music. Romance between mistress and slave is naturally forbidden. But like star-crossed lovers everywhere, they find that their feelings cannot be altered by any custom or law.

Kestrel plays piano, often late into the night. To please Arin, Kestrel plays a piece of Herrani music written for the flute on her piano, a beautifully intimate scene between the two. I imagined this music to be simple and lovely, a folk song that expresses yearning for home.

I am still imagining this song.

In the end, I decided to take the easy road and use a lovely Beatles song from their album Help!, which is from the 1965 movie of the same name. Fortunately for Jukebooks, there is a perfect Beatles song for every book.


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Diane Colson

I have been a librarian working with youth since 1998, beginning at the Alachua County Library District, and later at Palm Harbor Library and Nashville Public Library. Possibly because of the edgy nature of teen literature, or possibly because my maturation process crashed at the age of fifteen years-old, I love YA books. And I enjoy working with YAs as well, although I'm just as happy doing Toddler Time. By some good fortune, I have served on a number of YALSA selection committees (Outstanding Books for the College Bound, Popular Paperbacks, Alex Award, Odyssey Award, Nonfiction Award, Morris Award, and Printz) as well as a smattering of process committees. Currently I am serving on the YALSA Board. .I also review books for VOYA, School Library Journal's Adult4Teen Blog, BookPage, and Booklist.