Tuesday, September 1, 2015
I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this earlier this year from Cynthia Leitich Smith, who is an author, and also blogs at Cynsations. I didn't even realize it was autographed to me personally until I finally picked it up to read! Here is the autograph:
I haven't read very many of Alex Flinn's books, but the ones I have, I've enjoyed for the most part. And of course, they almost always fit perfectly into my current love of fairy tale retellings, and this one was no exception.
The main character, well, there are two. We start the story in the 80s (when I was growing up, so I loved that!) with a girl named Violet. Violet is not a pretty girl, and she's also not a well liked girl, people think she's weird. She's bullied, especially by a girl named Jennifer. But there is a boy that she becomes friends with after a strange incident in the playground when they're kids. A bird is dead, obviously killed by one of the boys who is a bully. She sees another boy, named Greg, who seems really upset, so she goes over and picks up the bird, and all of a sudden it's okay. Of course she plays it off as it wasn't dead, just stunned. But from that point, she and Greg become good friends. Until 8th grade. They didn't get to spend the summer together, and when school starts, Greg comes back and he's grown, a lot. And now he seems very interested in being friends with Jennifer, and he won't hang out with Violet anymore. When a strange woman comes and shows Violet that she really is a witch, and has powers, Violet thinks maybe, just maybe, she can change herself to make Greg like her.
We join up again in the future with Greg and his wife Jennifer, and their daughter Celine. Violet hasn't been in their life in a long time. No matter how beautiful Violet became, or how talented, Greg was always in love with Jennifer. But one day there is a tragedy, and Jennifer dies. Violet comes into their life, and becomes Celine's stepmother, at first it seems like she's a good stepmother. Soon Violet decides that Celine is always going to come between her and Greg, and Celine feels like she must always stay away from home. Even to the point of hiding, basically leaving her home and living with a new friend she's made, Goose. The strange woman who first was kind of a savior to Violet, now sees the way Violet is, and also tries to help Celine.
This is a wonderful retelling/reimagining of Snow White. I loved all of it, especially the boy band part, and the character Goose and his family. I really felt for Violet, and was rooting for her, until she just couldn't move on past wanting Greg. She had everything, beauty, talent, smarts, and magic, but her whole life the only thing to make her happy would be if she had Greg. And Celine was just a really sweet girl, you couldn't not like her, or even feel like Violet was ever right, even at times Celine felt sorry for Violet, when she knew what her life had been like. Just a really great story, with really great characters. I can't wait to purchase this book for my school library so that my students can read and enjoy it as well!