Review for Towering by Alex Flinn

Towering by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Towering
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 3 stars

Towering is a retelling of Rapunzel. Rachel has lived her whole life in a tower, guarded by Mama, not her real mama, of course. But she says that her real mama was murdered and Rachel must stay hidden in the tower because those people might still be out there to harm her as well. Wyatt’s life is in desperate need of change. He’s mom decides the best thing for him is to ship him off to this little town in the middle of nowhere to live with her teenage best friend’s mother. But when Wyatt arrives, he is immediately plagued by ghosts and strange voices that sing to him that no one else can hear. Drawn by the beautiful voice, Wyatt sets off to find its origin and stumbles across Rachel’s tower. Then they are off to fulfill Rachel’s destiny of saving the town.

Let me just preface this review with two statements.
Statement A: This is just MY OPINION and I hope that everyone else’s opinion differs.
Statement B: This is the type of review I dread writing because I was looking forward to reading this so much and am so disappointed with it.

I was overjoyed when I got approved for this eARC. I have adored all of Alex Flinn’s previous fairy tale retellings and couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Rapunzel isn’t my favorite fairy tell, but I loved the recent Disney retelling and was overly excited to see Alex weave her magic….but it just fell flat for me. Both Rachel and Wyatt (all of the characters actually) seemed extremely one dimensional. The plot twist was extremely predictable and the whole story just felt a little blah to me. Then, once you get towards the end and the prophecy starts to unfold, it just all seemed too farfetched to believe. Crazy, right? It’s a fairy tale retelling and those are always rather fanciful and I never have a hard time buying into it, but not this one.

With Wyatt, again, he felt extremely one dimensional. His recent past has a major tragedy and I truly sympathize and cannot imagine going through something similar, but the whole thing with Astrid on New Years and not feeling anything and then Rachel magically inspires feelings upon first meeting her? Instalove. Ugh. I was also irritated because Josh goes out of his way in the beginning to be nice to Wyatt and invite him out and stuff and Wyatt just basically forgets about him once he meets Rachel. I HATE that quality. Yes I realize your significant other is extremely important to you, but they shouldn’t become your entire life! You’ll end up with Bella Swan syndrome if they leave you. X_X

Then there was Rachel, who I just couldn’t get behind at all. One on hand, hurray for having a YA heroine who saves the guy in the end instead of the other way around, but she just felt as blah to me as Wyatt. She didn’t illicit much of an emotional response from me, even when doing dangerous things. The only thing about her that I liked is I found her lack of knowledge of the outside world amusing. The only character that felt fully fleshed out was Mrs Greenwood because we get to see all different sides to her, the mother, the protector, the sad old lady, and so on. I felt pretty bad for her.

The plot was predictable, the writing felt bland, and I am just wholly disappointed. I don’t know if I feel this way because I’ve changed or if it truly is a step down from the level of awesomeness that was A Kiss In Time and Bewitching. I know I’ve stepped away from YA lately, reading more NA, and I really hope that that’s why I didn’t love this like I wanted to. I hope everyone else reads it and adores it as much as her previous works. So my advice for everyone is just give it a try, hopefully you’ll love it.

****Thank you to Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, An Imprint Of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 336 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Library
RATING: 5 stars

Remember Kendra, the witch who cursed Kyle in Beastly? Well, not it’s time we hear more from her. Bewitching gives you a peak at the life she had before all the witchy stuff started and tells you several different stories where she uses magic to help. And there is the big surprise, she actually wants to help people, not punish them, but you know what they say about an angry witch, she’ll get her revenge and Kendra is as guilty of wanting people to get their comeuppance as anyone else. Within this volume, we get 3 of Kendra’s lost causes. The main one is the story of Emma and Lisette, a new twist on Cinderella, then we get Louis and his search for a bride via a The Princess and The Pea retelling, and finally a version of The Little Mermaid that I don’t know how to categorize. All these go on with a little bit of commentary from Kendra from time to time.

What I was expecting from this novel was to follow Kendra’s perspective as she curses and helps people and while we do get a bit from her, all of the beginning and then small pieces after that, the main story is told via Emma. The way this is set up is you get Kendra’s background and then it transitions into Emma & Lisette where we see the twos first meeting and then at random points, the tale stops for Kendra’s commentary and a few tales to showcase her failures so we can see why she isn’t jumping in to help until she is sure of what to do.

With Emma and Lisette, we get a taste of what Cinderella might have been like if the stepsister was actually the one being duped. Emma is a sweet, smart, overly trusting eighth grader when her dad (who is technically her stepdad, but they have the normal father-daughter relationship) tells her that he’s first wife has died and that his biological daughter is coming to live with them. Nervous and excited at the prospect of getting a sister, Emma is tentatively optimists about this and when she meets Lisette, her hopes soar because she is sweet and kind and actually wants to spend time with Emma….or does she? Some things just don’t add up. Like how Emma’s things go missing and Lisette just happens to have identical things or how Emma is suddenly left behind on all the father-daughter trips because she overslept even though she knows she set an alarm. I found this particular tale quite engrossing. I wanted to keep reading and I ended up using time I was supposed to use reading some eARCs from Netgalley to finish this, but it was worth it.

Emma was that heroine that you sympathize with while wishes she’d speak up. The situation with Lisette doesn’t improve, it just gets worse, and I think we can tell definitively that had Emma just said something instead of keeping quiet, things would have turned out completely different. Emma was also someone that I identified with (not because I have evil siblings) but because she was a bit odd and most days wanted nothing more than to curl up on her bed with a good book. Lisette, on the other hand, was the girl I just wanted to punch. She’s that girl that can charm her way out of anything, that conniving girl who has all the males in her life fooled into thinking she’s sweet and kind but really she’s a backstabbing bitch who will fuck over the entire planet to get what she wants.

As for the two other small tales, I found Louis tale endearing and Doria’s (the mermaid) tale boring. Louis gained my sympathy, but Doria just annoyed me. Either way, with both tales, all I could really think was “Can I please get back to Emma?” I did like the bits of commentary we got from Kendra, but with these I just wanted more of what was happening with Emma. I think that might have been the point, to build suspense or whatever, but really it just annoyed me.

It was all worth it in the end though, because Emma does get her happily ever after, maybe just not in the way she was expecting. If you are looking for more of Alex Flinn’s magic, or just a great fairy tale retelling that doesn’t take you exactly where you were expecting to go, this is it. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Review for Beastly: Lindy’s Diary by Alex Flinn

Beastly: Lindy’s Diary by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Beastly: Lindy’s Diary
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLICATION DATE: January 31, 2012
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 144 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this for a little while now. I adored Beastly (and several of Alex’s other works) and the idea of re-reading Beastly from Lindy’s perspective was hype enough to make me want to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed. This little novella is exactly what it’s advertised as, a retake of Beastly via Lindy. If you’re read Beastly, you already know the basic plot. Kyle is an asshat and Kendra curses him to live as a beast until he finds someone to love him. Lindy turns out to be that someone.

I loved seeing her side of things. She’s sweet and caring and really has a thing for Kyle, though she tries to hide it. She struggles to make ends meet, but you don’t really hear her complaining about her situation. School, work, tutor on the side, try to keep her dad out of trouble, and she manages it all gracefully. There aren’t many people who could in that situation. Seeing “Adrian” through her eyes was also interesting to read about. I loved that she knew that he loved her without having to hear him say it or be reassured continually that she was worthy of someone like him. Basically, she is a great change of pace over the sloppy, whiny, heroines that dominate YA.

Reading this did have a downside though. It highlighted all of the ways the Beastly film disappointed me. I like it well enough on its own, but when compared to the book, it’s fucking terrible. They changed so much, most of it for reasons I don’t understand. Yeah, I get that wearing a fur suit constantly during filming is a hassle, so I can kind of understand why they did that, though I don’t agree with the change, but changing Madga’s name? Changing Lindy’s appearance? Removing the magic mirror? So many senseless changes that he beauty of the story gets lost in it.

Review for A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn

TITLE: A Kiss In Time
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLICATION DATE: April 27, 2010
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 371 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

I write really sucky reviews, but I’ll just say this much. I first came across Alex Flinn because a very close friend of mine suggested that I read Beastly by her. I adored it, it was a wonderful and funny modern take on Beauty & The Beast. All I can say about A Kiss In Time was it was even better.

Review for Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly by Alex Flinn

TITLE: Beastly
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLICATION DATE: October 2, 2007
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

So, I’m a pretty crappy review writer, but I’m trying to write more of them, so here it goes. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a modern twist on a classic tale, written in first person with perfect moments of humor and seriousness. Prety easy read, simple story with perfect fairy tale ending. Though I will admit, it ended a little too well and played off that whole last minute rescue thing, it was still highly enjoyable.

Liked: The chatroom sessions sparesly spread through the story, the fact that the heorine isn’t a stunning beauty
Disliked: the almost too perfect ending