Plain Kate by Erin BowPlain Kate by Erin Bow

Plain Kate

byErin Bow

Paperback | August 1, 2012

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Erin Bow's acclaimed, award-winning fantasy novel is now in paperback!

Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. When Kate's village falls on hard times - crops fail, and even Kate's father falls victim to a deadly fever - the townspeople look for someone to blame, and their eyes fall on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he'll give Kate the means to escape the town that seems set to burn her, and what's more, he'll grant her heart's wish. It's a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes that she can't live shadowless forever - and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.

ERIN BOW was born in Iowa and studied particle physics in college, eventually working at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. She then decided to leave science in order to concentrate on her love of writing. Her first novel, Plain Kate, was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults list, and was the recipient of the 201...
Title:Plain KateFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.63 inPublished:August 1, 2012Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0545166659

ISBN - 13:9780545166652

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simply beautiful! One of the saddest book I read since a long time! I found the writing a little struggling, probably because english is not my native language. I rent this book in the juvenile section at my local library, but by the poetic writing and the story, which is hard, I would have put this book in the teen section. But still, it was a very good read.
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Mysterious, dramatic and beautifully written.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Extraordinary Kate This is my review on the book I read, "Plain Kate" written by Erin Bow, a magnificent author. This book is a mystical fantasy adventure. I recommend this amazing book to you and hope you give it a try after reading my review. This will include all about the book, opinions and my thoughts on the book and possibly how you would think after reading this book. First, I'll start with telling you what the book is mostly about. ‘Plain Kate’ is about a young girl named Kate who lives in a small market square ever since her father past away. Her village is full of superstitions, myths and creatures. In her village, she was known as a witch only because she was gifted in carving wood.She worked in the market to get money to survive but she didn't want to stay in the village and she wasn't getting enough money so, she made a deal with Laney, a powerful, rich witch, but she had to give up her shadow. She left the village with no one but her talking cat Taggle on her side. She met some new friends along the way to get her shadow back. Throughout the book, she was on an adventure to find her shadow, meet creatures, battle and attempt to save Laney, the witch from burning (witches die from burning) from the villain in the book, Lov. I would rate this books four stars because I really liked it but there were small things that put me off. I loved how this book was very magical and was very adventurous at the same time, you could relate to this to something such as Harry Potter. But, this book had a different and original plot line and a very unique way to show the message of friendship through the relationship with her cat Taggle. This book had a good ending but I wish that she would somehow reconnect with her family in a way instead of just being with a new one. I would want this because she is a young girl most likely from 11-16 and she doesn't have a real family, just some new friends and Taggle, her cat. I believe that she would need a family, to help guide her through life and she always has a place to go, home, with a family. I think the author thought that Kate is more independent and could handle things on her own which she can with her new friends too. She could live without her parents because of what kind of person she is, Kate is creative, strong, intelligent, etcetera. I would recommend book from ages 10-15 for people who like fantasy, adventure, magic with a hint of sadness and action in points. I would want this age because there wasn’t any bad language but there were words that an 8 year old wouldn’t know. Also, younger audiences wouldn’t quite understand the book as well as someone older. In the book, you need to think of a lot of things, everything is not written on the page, you need to read in between the lines to understand what the author is really trying to say. Another thing is that there are some surprises in the book that actually refer to the beginning of the book which shows you need to remember/understand each character and event that happens and know why the events happen and why they would put these kind of characters in this book which someone younger wouldn't understand or get. In conclusion, this book is very well written and overall a very good story line and book in general. Read the book and you will not regret it! If you give this book a try, remember what is in stored, there is a lot of magic and fantasy, action (battles), an adventure for her shadow, and it is a bit sad in the beginning of how she actually becomes an orphan. That is all I'm going to say about the book, read the book to find out the rest!
Date published: 2013-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Inner Child is Cheering!!! I have been thinking about how to review this book for a couple of weeks. First you should know, that it came to me by recommendation from Laini Taylor- who wrote the stunning novel Daughter of Smoke and Bone (my favorite book of 2011), so I went in with high expectations. This fairytale-esque novel, steeped in Russian myth and lore has got the 10 year old girl in me squealing with delight! This is no fluffy disneyfied (ya, I know it's not a word) story though, it is actually quite dark, haunting even....and I am in awe of Erin Bow's storytelling abilities. A Poet, her writing translates perfectly here. We meet Kate and her Father, both highly skilled woodcarvers, who live in a world of superstitions and suspicions. When her father dies of a strange illness, and bad things begin to happen around her, she must leave all she knows behind for fear of being burned as a witch. When she makes a bargin with a pale stranger (her shadow for her hearts deepest wish) things begin to become clear, and all together more dangerous for her. Together with Taggle (her scene-stealing talking cat) they embark on a dark and treacherous adventure, to fight evil, save those she has come to love, and regain what is rightfully hers. A coming of age story unlike any I've read before. One so highly recommended, I must say, that no amount of praise I could give it would do it justice, I simply lack the talent to convey it! ....and don't be shocked if this years "book of the year" title goes to a children's book!
Date published: 2012-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Audio Book I have been wanting to read Plain Kate by Erin Bow since I first heard her read an excerpt from it at the Eden Mills Writes Festival in September 2010. This is the story of young Kate Carver, the daughter of a skilled wood carver who has died long before his time. Kate is now left alone in the world, a world where superstitions run high, where magic and curses are believed. The ability of carving is held in suspicion, though many believe that a particular type of carving can ward off evil. Without the protection of the Wood Carvers Guild, Kate can't make ends meet. She longs to escape her village and find a safer place to live and possibly even an apprenticeship with a qualified carver. Instead she meets Linay, a stranger to her village. He promises to give Kate what she needs and most desires, if in exchange she will give him her shadow. Once she has accepted his offer, she finds that it has only made her situation that much more desperate. Kate is obviously a child prodigy when it comes to carving, yet that is not enough to ensure her a good wage, nor to secure her a position in the Wood Carver Guild. There is politics to be played just as there often is in the real world. She is accepted when people have need of her skill at carving protective charms, but they are just as quick to turn their backs on her when they need a scapegoat. These are a lot of lessons to be learned at a young age. Even with these troubles following her, Kate is invited to travel with the Roamers, a collection of families that live and travel together. Interesting that strangers will welcome her into their midst while people who have known her all her life readily turn their backs on her. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this story. It was read by Cassandra Campbell. You can listen to a sound clip of the un-abridged edition at Brilliance Audio. 8 hours 45 minutes.
Date published: 2012-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best MG book of 2010 (Originally posted September 2010 on When I first finished the book I knew I needed a least a day to get over how emotional I was. Two days later I was still tearing up when I would tell people about the book. I just cannot find the words to express how much this book made me feel and how strongly I adore everything about it. Do NOT be like me and pick up the book in the store because the cover interests you but you don’t know much about the book so you put it back and then curse yourself all week because you’ve changed your mind and you CAN’T GET A COPY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE. True story. Plain Kate is beautifully written, like reading a painting that’s coming to life before your very eyes. This is pure, simple, folk story that will capture your heart within the first few pages. I am not kidding when I say this book made me weep for a handful of days after I finished it. Weeping in a good way. The story is emotional, heartwarming, heartbreaking and captivating. From the first pages I felt Kate’s emotions like they were my own. I could taste her fear and loneliness on my tongue. I felt her joy and sadness, so real to me. Kate and Taggle are two of the best characters ever. Taggle might even win as best character in a book ever in my mind. Erin Bow wrote a powerful and magical tale and is a perfect example of how to write a beautiful book and an amazing story. And all of this for a debut author. More! More!! I don’t know who has the power to get books nominated for fancy awards, but I want this book up on every book award nomination list in the world. I want this book to win copious amounts of awards for how brilliant it is. (EDIT: Plain Kate won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award in October 2011! YAY!) I have read many fantastic novels so far this year but I will, hands down, proclaim that Plain Kate is the book that I will remember the most. It is the most emotional (in a good way) book I have read in years. I can’t recall the last time I felt so much after finishing a book that I couldn’t read ANYTHING ELSE for over a week because I couldn’t get it out of my head. In fact I have gone back to an old favourite right now – the Witches of Eileanan series, because I started and stopped 4 books since finishing Plain Kate. I need to wait until the book leaves my system and then… I might read it again.
Date published: 2011-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Folk Tale or Fantasy? Good gypsy style fantasy, reminiscent of the Inkheart Trilogy or the Golden Compass. This is the fairytale story of a girl wrongfully accused of being a witch until she actually has to pursue the witch who stole her shadow and left her a talking cat in return. Listed as YA but suitable for 11 and up.
Date published: 2011-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing first novel This story is written in a Russian or Eastern European Fairy Tale style. In some ways, for older readers, it will be reminiscent of Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird. The story at times is dark, charming, and wistful, and at all times it is extremely entertaining. This debut novel will leave its mark on the reader, much as Kate's knife leaves her marks on wood. For Kate is a wood carver; she is not yet in the guild, but her father is a guild master and it looks like it will only be a matter of time before Kate is a master also. All that is holding her back is her age. But then tragedy strikes - her father falls to the witch fever and passes away. The new guild master expels her from the only home she has ever known. She takes to sleeping in the bottom drawer of her father's stall in the market. She ekes out a living on the slight generosity and tolerance of the town. Yet soon a white witch comes to town. He has power and he stirs up trouble against Kate. She finally agrees to his demand and sells her shadow. Kate soon realizes she cannot live without her shadow and she needs to find out what the stranger Linays wanted it for and if there is a way she can stop him. In a world of superstition, curses and cures, Kate must find her way alone and lonely. The story is compelling and the readers will find themselves not wanting to put the book down. The world created by Erin Bow is familiar to tales of old, with a young woman coming of age and finding her place in the world. It is an amazing story that is very well written, especially for a first novel. Erin Bow is a particle physicist, who formerly worked at both CERN and Los Alamos labs, who has now become a poet and author. She resides in Kitchener, Ontario. She has written two volumes of poetry, and now a novel for young adults.
Date published: 2010-11-12

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Plain Kate:TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, 2011YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2010Nominee, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award, 2011Nominee, Sunburst Award, Young Adult category, 2011Nominee, Rocky Mountain Book Award, 2012"Plain Kate, [Bow's] first young adult novel, demonstrates a mature, haunting artistry.... The plot unfolds with the swiftness and dramatic urgency of an adventure tale, yet each event has a measured gravity.... [An] outstanding novel." -New York Times Book Review*"Original and sometimes disturbing, Plain Kate is a compelling story of dark magic and a remarkable debut by a talented writer." -Quill & Quire, starred review"Kate's a stalwart, engaging heroine, and Bow vividly evokes a soggy countryside of birchtrees, babbling rivers, and colourful, travelling Roamers in this memorable fantasy." -The Toronto Star"Beautiful and haunting, tragic and lovely, this is a book that is as exquisite as it is disquieting... In simple but evocative prose, [Erin Bow] creates a fully realized world in which her story delicately unfolds with a fairytale quality that will linger with readers." -Canadian Children's Book News"[A] dark, lyrical novel of witchcraft and fast-paced adventure." -CBC Book Club"[A] dark and complex tale." -Publisher's Weekly"Stunning debut fantasy." -Horn Book"With this debut, Bow establishes herself as a novelist to watch." -Booklist