A Fistful Of Sky

A Fistful Of Sky

by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

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Gypsum LaZelle had nearly given up. She’d already watched her two older siblings experience the transition—the sudden, debilitating process that turned them from ordinary children into mages, gifted spellcasters like their beautiful mother. Perhaps she was a late bloomer, she thought until her younger siblings came into their powers as well. Now, at twenty, Gypsum fears that she must accept her fate: a mundane life without magic.
She can live with being ordinary, an outsider. After all, someone in the family had to take after her father…But one day, alone at home wither family away, Gypsum falls terribly ill. And when the symptoms pass, something has changed. Something she’s dreamed of for such a long time—and suddenly, isn’t ready for at all.
“One of the most original and important writers of fantasy working in America today.”—The New York Review of Science Fiction

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101208229
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/25/2004
Series: A LaZelle Novel
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 494,598
File size: 372 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Over the past 24 years, Nina Kiriki Hoffman has sold novels, juvenile and media tie-in books, short story collections, and more than 200 short stories. Her works have been finalists for the Nebula, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, Sturgeon, and Endeavour awards. Her first novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won a Stoker Award. Nina's YA novel Spirits That Walk in Shadow and her science-fiction novel Catalyst were published in 2006.

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A Fistful Of Sky 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The LaZelles are rich, own a beach front estate in California, and are witches and warlocks except for the patriarch who is not descended from a line of mages. The children come into their powers after they reach adolescence, all that is except for Gypsum who at the age of nineteen shows no evidence that she will wield magic. She accepts the fact that she is the odd sibling and just when she thinks her life will be normal she ¿transitions¿ into a witch.¿ Gyp¿s powers are not like her brothers and sisters. Her specialty is curses and she must curse someone or something several times a day or she will get sick. Some of her curses turn out to be funny, some are very scary, but none are ever dull. The longer Gyp practices, the more she refines her gift and something very surprising occurs that shocks not only her but her entire family.

A FISTFUL OF SKY is a very beguiling and magical coming of age tale. The heroine goes through some very funny experiences as she comes to grips with her new found powers that will bewitch readers by her looking like a teenage version of Samantha¿s befuddled aunt. Nina Kiriki Hoffman has a flair for the dramatic and the unusual.

Harriet Klausner

egb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this book, both from the blurb and from the fact that Nina Kiriki Hoffman has written som good books earlier. Unfortunately this book fell short of my expectations, but I give it a 3 stars to put it in line with other books I have given the same rating to. My main problem with the book is probably that the characters in it annoy me, and although it seems to be a coming-of-age story I cannot really see that this happens. The main character gets some difficult and dangerous magic powers and has problems learning to live with them. So far, so good, but as far as I can see she doesn't really change for the better or the worse at all. She just gets some powers and this doesn't really change all that much, except that she can now cause a lot of trouble for her surroundings. But she doesn't, even if her surroundings really beg for it. No, there is definitely something lacking in this book, but it is hard to describe what it is.
emitnick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A woman from a magically endowed family finally comes into her powers but discovers she has inherited "unkind"magic - the power (and actually the need) to curse. Because Gypsum must use her powers on a regular basis or literally go mad, she must figure out how to use and control them without doing too much harm. Like Hoffman's other books, this takes a quirky and creative approach to magic. Less characters (and more depth to them) would have helped me to become more immersed in the story, which left me a bit cold - there seemed to be an emotional detachment that didn't go with the themes of intimacy and control. But still an interesting read for fans of contemporary magical fantasy.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Weird and wonderful. Like the other stories of hers I like, it dances on the edge of horror and never quite tips over. It's a fascinating family - like and unlike the Binders, in that it's a family with magic, and an inclination to hurt those who can't fight back - but it's also a loving family, as most of the Binders weren't. Gyp's powers are interesting, and the ways she figures out to deal with them are fascinating. We never do get full knowledge of what Altria is, though by the end we - and Gyp - know a lot more about her. I like this story - it's not quite as good as The Thread That Binds the Bones, mostly because it ends with a whole new set of question marks rather than resolving anywhere. But I think it's my second favorite of all her books. Want to read more.
dalmador95 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a literally magical book. It was one of the best recreations of what it is like to different as a teenager and then as Gypsum comes in to her powers and her adulthood those crucial lessons of responsbility will take you back to the point where you started to realize that you are responsible for who you will be. Loved it.
SystemicPlural on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful book to read. Set in an alternative modern day reality about a girl growing up in a family whose children develop special powers during adolescence. It's one of those rare books that slides through the mind like a knife through butter, yet at the same time develops an interesting plot and complex characters that really come to life.
MelindaLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overall, an interesting read. The ending left me feeling as though I had missed something important - as in the resolution was out of left field and puzzling. I did not like that the abusive, neglectful mother suffered no consequences for her actions. It felt like Hoffman deliberately left many loose ends so that she could write a sequel.
Evalangui on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favourites books in the whole world. It's about a girl who lives in a family with magical powers, she grows up expecting to get them too but instead "The Change" never arrives for her and she is normal within people who aren't and at the same time is pretty different from other normal people... Only, after years of wishing for magic of her own, The Change comes, in a way, only it's way too late to be a normal Change... AFoS was love at first sight for me, the overweight and bookish protagonist with an appreciation for good food who's the ugly duckling of a magical family and has to made to with being "normal", that's it, with something that is, for her with her upbringing, basically a disability (even if her father and other people outside the family are also that way it does not feel that way to them, who never expected to go through transition and get a gift). This is my favourite novel ever, there's fanfic I love more but literature wise? I don't think anything can compete, not necessarily because it's better than "The Time Traveller's Wife" or "Hallucinating Foucault" but because it fits *me*.
phoebesmum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Notable, if for nothing else, for being one of the few books I¿ve ever read to have a fat protagonist. It's also unusual in the fantasy genre for the characters being, by and large, pretty unpleasant. This doesn¿t make for a particularly relaxing read but, in a family saga, it does lend a certain element of reality.
elurie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book had a mission- to find the good in people, and wouldn't it be nice if we could ease their bad memories, give back with kindness and compassion the hurt that each had received.plot- all family members have magic powers. One child comes into her magic power at the late age of 20. she has been the step daughter character, but responds with more power and better used than any of the others.by the way, i did love it. all the while cringing at main character's self effacing personality.
plappen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The LaZelles are your typical Southern California family, except for the fact that all, except the father, are witches. At approximately age 16, each of the five children are supposed to go through Transition. It¿s characterized by being really sick for a few days; when it¿s over, the person¿s magical powers, whatever they may be, are born. For whatever reason, Gypsum, the middle child, doesn¿t go through Transition. Perhaps she is destined to be ¿normal,¿ like her father. When everyone else becomes an official witch or warlock, Gypsum usually ends up being the magical ¿guinea pig.¿One weekend, while everyone else is away, Gypsum gets really sick, not realizing it¿s her very delayed Transition. Unfortunately, her power is the dark power of cursing. She has to curse or damn something every few hours, or the power will eat her up from inside. She curses a rock, and it turns into a box of magic chalk. Gypsum and her siblings draw on some cement stairs with the chalk, and the drawings come to life. An easy way to release some energy is to cause the trash in the trash cans to disappear. But, do it too often, and people will become suspicious.Gypsum tries to filter her power through one of her brothers. The subject of making brownies comes up, and the two fill most of their back yard with very edible brownies. Later, they create an equal quantity of fresh-baked bread and muffins. One time, Gypsum turns her younger sister into an old woman. Another time, she causes the mouths of her two brothers to disappear. It¿s a good thing her ¿human¿ curses come with built-in time limits. On a date with her boyfriend, Ian, Gypsum tries turning her curse power back on herself, to turn herself back to ¿normal,¿ and comes very close to killing herself.This retelling of the Ugly Duckling story is humorous, heartfelt and very, very good. Hoffman¿s writing comes very close to poetry. It works as an adult novel, and as a young adult novel, and it is well worth reading.
shelley582 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
excellent novel about a girl growing up in a magical family who does not have any powers of her own. When she finally does come into her gift it is a fearsome one that requires the heroine and her family to reevaluate their relationships.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by Hoffman that I've read. I saw it in my book catalogue and thought the blurb looked interesting. I checked with my helpful bookseller (sure to be often referred to in these reviews as my "dealer") who assured me it is was good, so I took the risk and ordered it. I'm very glad I did.A Fistful of Sky introduces the reader to the LaZelle family, most especially Gypsum LaZelle, the middle of five siblings (the others named Opal, Jasper, Beryl and Flint) who is the narrator of the story. Around the time of puberty LaZelle's go through something called "transition", a nasty illness after which they have gained their share of power.At the time the story opens, Gypsum is twenty and the "normal" member of the family. She has never transitioned and is trying to reconcile herself to a life without power. Then, while alone for the weekend she finally undergoes transition and survives to find herself a person of power after all.But there's a catch. Late transitions tend to produce stronger, but darker powers. Gypsum finds herself with the power of curses. If she doesn't use it, it will canker inside her and slowly kill her, but who wants to curse people or things - especially when there tends to always be unfortunate side effects.This is the story of Gypsum learning to use her power, and learn just who she is at the same time. She makes some mistakes along the way, including calling a creature who names herself Altria and whose own agendas are unknown. By the end of the book Altria is unmasked and Gypsum has found a solution (and a possible romance).My primary complaint is that I didn't "get" the last chapter. I'm not sure if that was my fault or the fault of the author. I'm going to need to read that final chapter again after I've had a bit of a break away from the book. Since this is the explanation of how Gypsum finally tames her power, it is kind of important.All the same, I happily recommend this book. The characters are well drawn, and the investigation of how one manages something so potentially dangerous as the need to regularly curse things is very interesting. Try it out; see what you think.
sciezka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Hoffman's other books. This one was excellent as usual, up until the end. The end kind of fizzles. It really isn't clear what happens to Gyp and Altria or how Gyp gains control of her powers. I'd like to see some of these characters again in another Chapel Hollow book. (Although these characters are not directly connected to Chapel Hollow, they are an offshoot of the family).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series and author
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Vernice Bates More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read surpasing boundries in a beautiful, intresting (and yet a little mysterious) way. You learn that there is more than one way to love. I coudn't put it down! Definetly a must read.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down! It has a captivating storyline that keeps you intrigued throughout the entire story and written in a way that makes you feel as if you were right there with Gypsum as she goes through life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked up this book I loved it. It was so intriging. It really made me laugh and cry. I felt pity for Jasper and Gypsum. I felt a fatherly draw from Tobias and I thought of My Big, Fat Greek wedding the entire time. I could hardly put it down for hours on end. This is truly a suberb read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible! This is the first thing I have read from this author, but there will be more. I laughed out loud about 20 times. I recommend it.