I could criticize the focus on “fixing” and of the correlation between unwantedness and disability, but the book is focused on unwantedness in a broader fashion; Ava is as challenged by her circumstances as she is by her clubfoot.
Jacobus nailed the struggle with addiction, she nailed physical limitations, she nailed alcoholic and disability-related depression, she nailed the chaos of the active alcoholic, and she nailed the hopelessness and despair that can come from all of it.
While Call’s disability informs his character, it’s hardly the focus of the story, and I appreciated that. What I liked even more was the way Black and Clare treated Call’s disability when they did mention it.
A princess with a clubfoot. Who can resist? We can’t, and apparently the Schneider Family Book Award jury couldn’t, either. Merrie Haskell’s 2014 win of the award was just one of the reasons we wanted to discuss her MG fantasy novel Handbook for Dragon Slayers with her.