Sarah Beth Durst is a wonderful writer. Her YA and middle-grade fantasies and urban fantasies are really great. The first one I read was "Enchanted Ivy".
"Enchanted Ivy" tells the story of Lily and her discoveries about another world existing within ours, but not in exactly the same space. When we meet her, she is a high school student visiting Princeton with her mother and grandfather ostensibly to check out the campus and cement in her mind that that's where she wants to go to college. Needless to say, there's a whole 'nother reason why her grandfather wants her to visit. This story is well-written and captivating. Lily is strongly written and just the kind of 'female lead' I like to see in YA books: She's strong and self-sufficient without being egocentric. She has a purpose, even if it isn't one she'd thought of or would have picked for herself, but she does her best to live up to it.
Next, I read "Ice". This is a retelling of the fairy tale, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" and it is wonderful. I adore these types of stories because there is familiarity and comfort, along with the author's color and imagination. Again, we have a nice, strong, well-rounded protagonist who is somewhat lost but perfectly willing to work in order to find out where she is and where she is going.
I am now reading "Vessel". I can't really say much about this yet, because I only just started reading it. I picked it up on the strength of Ms. Durst's previous stories. So far I'm about 50 pages in and am not disappointed. Sarah Beth Durst seems to be growing and blooming with each new book. She is definitely one of those writers to keep an eye on.
I have not read the middle-grade fantasies, "Into the Wild" and "Out of the Wild" but I think I will. There's just something about a story of a girl whose mother is Rapunzel and brother is a talking cat that makes me want to read them :).
Here's to Sarah Beth Durst, a storyteller for the new millenium.