Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson


I took park in a book blog event called Nerds Heart YA . What it is is that books that were written in 2011 and were overlooked are chosen for this competition. The books have to fall under the following categories.

  • Person(s) of Color (POC)
  • GLBT
  • Disability
  • Mental Illness
  • Religious Lifestyle
  • Lower Socioeconomic Status
  • Plus-size

The two books that were passed on to my division of the contest was Tall Story but Candy Gourlay and Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson. The Blogger, which I was paired with, was Sam from Parenthetical. After some debating we chose the book to go on to the next round. Our decision was Toads and Diamonds.


“Set in the fictional Indian land of Hundred Kingdom, Tomlinson’s memorable novel employs magic realism to explore a universal truth: an individual’s gifts and talents are not always as they might seem. Stepsisters Diribani and Tana are blessed by the goddess Naghali-ji in very different ways. When Diribani speaks, flowers and gemstones fall from her mouth. Tana’s talent seems to be more of a curse: she produces frogs and snakes when she talks. While Diribani is held at the opulent court of the Believers, where her every jewel is collected and tallied for the kingdom’s profit, Tana is chased from her village by its snake-fearing residents. Taking on the disguise of a mute stable hand, she returns, and with her unusual abilities, she saves the land…”



I have to say that this was quite a good book. The story line was interesting as it was taken from a French fairy tale, which Sam told me. I voted to choose this book as a winner because of the story line. I have never really read a book that is taken off a fairy tale. I have read fairy-tale-like stories but not one taken from an actual fairy tale. It was about these two girls who met a goddess in human form (she was testing them.) One of the girls was gifted with speaking jewels and flowers. The other girl was gifted with speaking toads and snakes. Each thing that the girl got was a gift and a curse. People tied to kill the girl who spoke jewels but jewels can buy riches. The girl who spoke toads and snakes was feared and kicked out of cities but snakes were needed to get rid of insects. Each girl had to learn how what she was given was a gift and a curse. It was a very touching story.

One thing that I did not like though, was that I did not really think that the author described the characters very well. I personally could not picture them in my mind at all. What they were wearing may have been described but what they looked like was not. I could not imagine them. That puts me off a book very much if I cannot imagine what I am reading.

I chose this book over the other one also because Tall Story, I felt, did not go anywhere. It just was kind of boring and did not appeal to me that much.

So, Parenthetical and I have chosen this book to be passed on to the next round in the Nerds Heart YA book blog event. Hopefully the next set of bloggers will like it.

Please check out Parenthetical’s review of Toads and Diamonds.