By: Alex Flinn
review copy received from publisher
Summary (from HarperTeen): I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.
My Review: I love fairy tale retellings. They are the literary equivalent of a hot bubble bath. In fact, some of my gushiest reviews have been about books based on fairy tales. There also is the well-known fact that I am a mega Shannon Hale fan girl. I also really enjoyed Alex Flinn's BEASTLY, which is coming out in a film adaptation in March.
So did I love this book? Yes with a little sprinkling of no.
I liked recognizing a few of the lesser-known fairy tales that I read as a child. We had a volume of Grimm's fairy tales and also one by Hans Christen Anderson. They are full of short delightful fairy tales. (Except for The Little Mermaid. Sea foam? Really?) I would imagine that for a reader who had not been exposed to these stories, it would be new and exciting and interesting.
I guess I just felt like the story needed a dash of salt. (What's with all the baking metaphors? I must be hungry). The whole thing just felt kind of rushed, almost like the book was a series of small adventures with no real big climactic scene at the end. And, the part that I REALLY wanted to hear about, which was Megan's back story, was almost completely overlooked. It was so disappointing.
But, as usual, Alex Flinn had some very witty dialogue and laugh-out-loud situations that I loved.
Johnny was easy to relate to. He's not a wealthy kid or particularly smart. He has a passion for shoes (which was unusual and fun), and and enjoys being with his friends. And he has a good heart. All things I like in characters. (Okay, a love for shoes is not a prerequisite for me to connect with a character).
As I mentioned above, I really wanted to know more about Johnny's friend Megan. As the story progressed we learned bits and pieces about Megan, but I never felt like those pieces were adequately put together. I would have liked to have had a more clear picture of who Megan was by the end of the book.
Ultimately, I think this book is better classified for a middle-grade audience. It was silly, light-hearted and a very fun read.
Alcohol and Drugs: None