Posted on October 1st, 2013 by pajamapress
“Strange things happen when Jane Grey, a high school student in Halifax, begins an assignment researching Lady Jane Grey, the “nine days queen.” Upon examining her cache of library books, she finds one she hadn’t checked out: Booke of Prayre. As Jane opens it, she is mysteriously transported to the 16th century and meets her namesake. MacLeod dexterously handles the intricacies of the time travel central to the story, and a fascinating, powerful bond develops between the two Jane Greys. It is during their encounters that this first novel is most riveting and successful. Both characters are wonderfully fleshed out. Their mutual confusion heightens the mystery about the impact they might have on each other. Both Janes have their problems with family. Historical Jane struggles to continue following her Protestantism while her Catholic cousin Mary assumes the throne of England. Modern Jane has difficulty coping with what she perceives as the three sides of her mother’s personality. The author’s skill is most pronounced when the two Janes are getting to know each other and to understand the milieu in which each lives….MacLeod’s evocative prose makes friendship across time seem possible. Though Lady Jane’s tragic life is known, readers hope for a happier outcome. This enjoyable read offers a window into an intriguing aspect of British history. It is likely to appeal to fans of Susan Cooper’s King of Shadows (S & S, 1999) and books by Margaret Peterson Haddix.”
—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Posted on September 27th, 2013 by pajamapress
“While Namesake may be initially seen as a standard time-slip novel, with a contemporary character going back in time to learn something which she could apply to her own life, the book goes beyond trope by having both Janes interact and take active roles in each other’s lives, even to the point of altering history if that could save their friendship… I really think you get a sense of who Lady Jane was as as person, a girl who died for her beliefs and who couldn’t fight to change her fate. I’m really glad that the author chose a figure in the Tudor history who isn’t necessarily scandalous and who isn’t all that removed from the main character’s age, to share their lives and their stories, and developing their new friendship which both of them needed desperately. Though the ending of Lady Jane’s story is heartbreaking, it sparks a change in present day Jane…”
— Rummanah Aasi
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Posted on September 23rd, 2013 by pajamapress
Yesterday was the 24th annual Word on the Street festival, a day on which industry professionals and bibliophiles congregate to celebrate authors, illustrators and loads of books.
Pajama Press was well represented by Stephanie McLellan and Sue MacLeod, both of whom braved the chilly weather to read, discuss and sign their books.
A snapshot of the exciting lineup at the TD Children's Literature Tent
Stephanie McLellan reading Tweezle into Everything
Tweezle is a big boy!
The audience couldn't get enough of the monster siblings, Hoogie and Tweezle
Sue MacLeod reading an excerpt of Namesake
The audience came up with some insightful questions for the panel
Sue MacLeod explains how she got into writing YA - because Lady Jane Grey was a teen herself
Sue signs a book for a grateful fan
After a chilly but beautiful day, we’re looking forward to next year’s 25th anniversary edition!
Posted on September 17th, 2013 by pajamapress
“…Namesake by Sue MacLeod (Pajama Press) is one of those rare time-travel books that doesn’t fall into the common pit-falls associated the time-travel genre. MacLeod manages to weave together these two very different stories, one from the present and one from the 16th century, without the story being bogged down by questionable logistics. The “portal”, a prayer book that once belonged to the ill-fated queen, is a simple and effective tool that binds the two girls together and allows the focus to be on how the girls stories affect one another…”
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Posted on August 19th, 2013 by pajamapress
“…There is simply nothing I love more than offering some real, well-researched, history to kids, through a vehicle that engages them…I loved it, and I will be recommending this book anywhere I can, to any kids, teachers and libraries I encounter.”
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Posted on August 13th, 2013 by pajamapress
“…I thought MacLeod did a really good job of weaving the past together with the present. I always worry that books like this will get confusing with the back and forth, but I had no trouble keeping up with Namesake. I enjoyed watching Jane’s life in the present, and I eagerly anticipated each of her visits to the past, since I’ve always been fascinated with Tudor era England…Namesake is a captivating story that is sure to please fans of contemporary young adult and historic fiction alike.”
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Posted on July 22nd, 2013 by pajamapress
“When Jane Grey is given the assignment to research an historic figure, she chooses her namesake, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen who ruled England between Edward and Mary. But she doesn’t choose to be transported back in time by means of a tiny prayer book which she finds, or rather, which finds her at the public library. Lady Jane Grey is already in the Tower of London, awaiting trial. Although her namesake Jane knows how this will end, she offers her support, and travels back as often as she can. After all, Lady Jane’s faith and loyalty is a beacon of strength in comparison with Jane’s alcoholic mother and inconstant friends…
The historical details of the Tudor monarchy and everyday life in the 1500s are impressive. Kudos to MacLeod for bringing this fascinating slice of British history to Canadian teens…”
Posted on July 17th, 2013 by pajamapress
“A modern-day Canadian girl named Jane Grey travels back in time to meet the Lady Jane Grey, imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1553.
Bookish Jane is doing research for a paper about her namesake Lady Jane Grey, the 15-year-old who was queen of England for nine days and later executed by Queen Mary. Finding an old prayer book, she reads a prayer out loud and is transported to the Tower of London, where only Lady Jane, who calls her “Namesake,” can see her. Using the prayer book to time travel at will, she becomes friends with Lady Jane and tries to think of a way to save the brilliant and innocent teenager. Meanwhile in the present, Jane tries to escape her alcoholic mother’s increasingly aggressive and bizarre behavior. When the two stories collide just before Lady Jane’s scheduled execution, Jane struggles to save herself and her friend. MacLeod writes the modern sections in a heightened style that almost feels more like poetry than prose. She writes Lady Jane’s dialogue in Tudor English, modifying it only slightly for modern readers. Her vivid descriptions of the filthy turmoil of 1553 London, when even the nobility often had lice, should open some eyes. Most importantly, she strives to get the history right.
Suspenseful, emotional and powerful.”