384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062134516; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062134547.
Gr 8 Up—The author of Beastly (HarperCollins, 2007) offers another classic fairy tale reimagined in a contemporary setting. The first part takes place in the 1980s and tells the story of Violet, an ugly duckling who discovers that she's a witch and makes herself beautiful so she can have everything she's been denied—especially the attention of her childhood friend Greg. However, despite her newfound beauty, Greg chooses popular Jennifer instead. The second section jumps to present-day and is told by Celine, Jennifer and Greg's daughter. After Jennifer's death in a suspicious zoo accident, Violet reappears and sweeps Greg off his feet. The stepmother's attitude toward Celine chills as she grows into a beautiful adolescent and the teen takes comfort in a new friend, Goose, who is a small person. When Greg dies suddenly in a car accident, an older witch intervenes and hides Celine, telling Violet that the girl has been killed, but eventually the evil woman uncovers the lie and suceeds in poisoning Celine. The third part follows Goose on his desperate attempt to wake his friend from her magical coma. Convinced that only a prince can save her, he sneaks into the hotel room of Celine's favorite pop star, Jonah Prince, to convince him to kiss her. This retelling of "Snow White" is at times clever but also heavy-handed. Celine has recurring nightmares about apples that make her feel "unsafe" and Violet has a fascination with mirrors that gets overplayed. The sympathetic backstory for the evil witch is an interesting twist. Realistic dialogue and a lively writing style will help readers gloss over the author's missteps.
VERDICT This title will be popular with younger teens who enjoy Flinn's previous books and are willing to overlook the overdrawn plot points.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 6000+ annual reviews of books, databases, and more

As low as $12/month