In Arras, society is tightly overseen and controlled by the government. The Guild keeps boys and girls segregated until they reach marrying age. Food is rationed, travel is restricted, and people are euthanized before they die of natural causes. Women are forced to work in subservient jobs, as secretaries and maids--except for the ones who have a talent for weaving, who are sent to an isolated academy where they are trained to be Spinsters. And what the Spinsters weave is reality itself.
With Crewel, local author Gennifer Albin has created a fascinating and compelling story of social control, sexism, homophobia and political intrigue while also addressing questions of what is real and what isn't. We follow Adelice, a young woman with natural talents for weaving reality, as she's pulled from her family and forced into the life of a Spinster. She doesn't know who to trust, she's not confident in her own abilities, and while Spinsters are expected to maintain "standards of purity," she finds herself getting attention from two handsome men (and a number of not-so-desirable older politicians).
Crewel moves at a nice pace, with plenty of mystery, suspense and romance. And just when you think you're getting a clear picture of what's going on, Albin pulls the rug out from under you with a major plot twist. It's difficult to talk about Crewel too much without divulging some big spoilers, but it's safe to say the novel ends on a thrilling cliffhanger that left me breathless and eager for the sequel.
If you liked The Hunger Games or other teen SF dystopias, you'll love Crewel.