Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Polly and the One and Only World

Don Bredes's new young adult (YA) fantasy is called "Polly and the One and Only World." Don's first novel, "Hard Feelings," was an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults in 1977, a New York Times Notable Book, and a 20th Century Fox feature film. 

"Polly and the One and Only World" is set in a much-diminished future America called the Christian Protectorates, a poor country ravaged by coastal flooding, drought, and cataclysmic social upheaval. The story features 15-year-old Polly Lightfoot, a maiden witch of rich heritage and tender ability in the craft. When the story opens, Polly is forced to flee New Florida, where she has taken temporary refuge to escape a military purge of the country's infidels, pagans, and followers of false creeds. With the help of her steadfast familiar, Balthazar, a raven, and her brave teenage companion, Leon, Polly undertakes an epic journey from the deep south to the wild north to be reunited in Vermont with her family and to save her ancient craft from obliteration.

Don Bredes is a versatile, visionary novelist. His frightening, vividly realized depiction of our stricken land in the stifling grip of fundamentalists offers young readers a galvanizing motive for preventive action. Gloomy though Polly's world may be, her story does not make use of the horrific realism found in dystopian novels like Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," or even in Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games." Rather, "Polly and the One and Only World" gives young readers a vision of a future that will inspire them to appreciate their own freedom and their own ability, today, to work for positive social and political change.

About the Author

We have two copies of Polly and the One and Only World to give to one of our lucky readers. This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents who are 13+ years of age. Those under 18 must have parent permission to enter. The prize will be shipped by the publisher; Reading Lark is not responsible for prize delivery.

The giveaway runs from October 9-16. Winner will be notified via email on October 17.


  1. Polly is an iconic but human heroine. She is tough, kind, brave, and funny - Bredes lets you into her world but not so far that she can't surprise you. Her familiar, a raven, speaks with a no-nonsense brutality that is just perfect; red in tooth and claw to be sure.

    This is a book that young adults, and any adult, should read. In these troubled times, it reminds us that goodness lies in deeds, not hollow words, and that any of us can be heroes. I look forward to rereading it. Bravo.


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