Lillie Lainoff’s YA Novel “One For All” Is About “The Three Musketeers”: NPR

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

One for all

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Superhero movies are great, of course. But to be honest, my first movie love was The Scarlet Pimpernel: a man who pretended to be a dumb, weak French nobleman when he was actually a master swordsman and spy in disguise. So when I heard Lillie Lainoff was coming out One for alla kind of story The three MusketeersI snapped right away.

Tania de Batz, 16, is our D’Artagnan, a young woman with a chronic illness of dizziness, vertigo and fainting that can immobilize her at the most inopportune times (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, especially ). She is called “invalid”, “poor Tania”, and called “broken” by her own mother. It’s a frustrating situation for an independent young woman who only wants to follow in the direct footsteps of her father, a former musketeer.

Tania never bothered to entertain the idea of ​​love and marriage because of her illness. But when Papa dies under mysterious circumstances, a will is found in which he entrusts Tania to the care of Madame de Tréville’s Bride Academy. Devoted daughter, Tania resigns to get married. She decides to take the opportunity of being in Paris to contact the Musketeers and ask them to investigate Papa’s death.

But Madame de Tréville does not educate young women to be good wives; she trains them to become female musketeers.

Tania joins the ranks of Portia, Théa and Aria (Porthos, Athos and Aramis) and learns to be a spy, entertaining and seductive when she asks for it, deadly when needed. The girls scour opulent ballrooms, garden parties, alleyways and shipping docks in search of evidence to uncover a plot to assassinate the young King Louis XIV. – and maybe also find the identity of the murderer of Tania’s father. But a key to Tania’s plans comes in the form of handsome, hazel-eyed Étienne Verdon, as a Musketeer isn’t meant to fall in love with his target.

One for all is a joyous whirlwind of an adventure novel, filled with intrigue and the ostentation of pre-revolutionary French nobility. I found the massive amount of French scattered throughout the text a real delight. (For those without a rudimentary knowledge of French, there are plenty of contextual clues.) What I needed to delve into instead was my story – the novel is set in 1655, after the Fronde, a series of wars civil ones in which almost everyone (nobles, courts, French people) opposes the king.

The fencing and training sequences reminded me a bit of Tamora Pierce’s. Alanna, but with more fencing jargon, and they were all too brief. I admit I expected Tania’s story to be more like an Inigo Montoya arc, but I wasn’t disappointed to find a Lupine– rather tale, that of disguise, intrigue, seduction and non-stop action.

Each precarious situation is further aggravated by the pervasive illness of Tania, a shadow that haunts every tense moment, lurking at the edge of our heroine’s vision and threatening to bring her down. His constant presence carries the message that being strong and needing help aren’t mutually exclusive – a theme I hope to see more of in future YA novels. As the details of Papa’s murder unfold, Lainoff reminds us that grief, much like Tania’s illness, also comes in powerful, unforeseen waves.

But Tania’s fellow Musketeers are definitely the stars of this show. These young women are not without scars, and often have more self-confidence than themselves, but they are not defined by their flaws. The fraternity completely embraces and supports Tania, unlike the small town she comes from. In the end, I wanted to join the ranks of these loyal and upright young women. May we all be lucky enough to find such camaraderie in our lives!

Alethea Kontis is an award-winning voice actor and author of over 20 books for children and teens.


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