Just to warn/prepare you: Answering these might take just a little longer since Summer Reading begins today and I don't know how easy daily will be. We'll see. But wish me luck--I am so nervous!!!!
1. What were your impressions of Ani/Isi in the first few chapters? Did you relate to her in any way?
In the first few chapters, I didn't like Ani very much. Maybe one or two small things, but overall, not really. I had thought at first that it was interesting Hale used her as a main character. She seemed too weak. Too self-doubting with too much room to grow to become a character I would really enjoy and want to emulate. But I should never have doubted Hale, because she did just that. And by the end of the book, Ani/Isi had become one of my favorite literary characters. I love her! It surprises me sometimes how much I love her. But then, I wonder if it wasn't just Ani that needed the self discovery, but that we needed to learn who she was, too. Isn't that how it is with people in general? We should get to know them better before we make judgements?
I think one reason I didn't like her so much would be that I could relate to her in some ways, and they were exactly the ways I didn't want to. So finding her overcome those obstacles, fears, and weaknesses was even more rewarding and uplifting for me.
So, in the first few chapters, no. But as Ani became Isi, yes, I loved her.
2. Did you have suspicions about Selia before the trip began?
Well, I knew something was supposed to happen to cause Isi to become a goose girl. (I mean, it's the title of the book. And it's in the book description!) And I knew I didn't trust Selia. But I had no clue the part Selia would play. Especially as the book progressed. That was one well-written villainess.