RazorBill (Penguin Young Readers) - Fiction/Fantasy
Love? He loved her? It was as if the trumpet girl had released a dam. More questions tumbled into Princess's swirling mind: How could he love her? He barely knew her. She barely knew him. She barely knew herself."Indeed," said his mother, the queen. "Your brother said the same about the girl from the last midnight, and she was little more than a scullery maid with high-quality shoes, when all was said and done." She fixed her gaze on Princess, and Princess felt like wilting. "Are you a true princess?"
Was she? She didn't know. If she wasn't a princess, what was she? This time, when Princess reached back for a memory, it felt as if she slammed into a wall inside her head.
A modern-day fairy tale, Into the Wild tells the story of Julie, daughter of Rapunzel, sister to Puss-in-Boots (he must be adopted) and granddaughter to a witch. All have escaped from the Wild, a place where fairy-tale characters are doomed to repeat the same stories over and over, again. The Wild lives under Julie's bed and it occasionally turns a shoe into a seven-league boot or steals a pair of jeans. But, the Wild is at least under control where it lives . . .
. . . until, one day, someone makes a wish in the magic wishing well and releases the Wild. Utter disaster rules as the Wild grows, sucking regular people into stories and dooming the characters who once escaped into returning to their old fairy-tale lives.
Julie has uncomfortably straddled the normal world and the world of fairy tales for her entire life. Now, with her mother locked inside a tower, her brother searching for his true love and granny on the verge of baking small children, Julie has no choice but to save the day. But, it's very important that she not allow herself to become one of the stories -- or, if she does, she absolutely must not reach an ending because then her memory will be lost and she will be doomed to repeat a story, as well.
As Julie ventures deep into the Wild, she faces all kinds of fairy-tale dangers. Can she outsmart the wicked witch she once knew as her grandmother, pass all of the necessary tests and save the world from the Wild? Or will she get caught in a story and never see her family, again?
Oh, my gosh, what a ridiculously fun book! I read this book two weeks ago and it's still as vivid as if I'd just closed the book. Sarah Beth Durst spins a marvelous tale and I absolutely can't wait to get my mitts on her next two books, Out of the Wild and Ice. Into the Wild has all the requisite features of a hero's journey. Julie is a reluctant heroine who goes on her quest with trepidation but gradually learns to trust her own instincts.
I did easily figure out who had wished for the Wild to grow, but that didn't bother me. It's a wildly imaginative, modern-day fairy tale that blends the old with some hilarious and often frightening new twists.
My thanks to Book Nut for the recommendation. Confidentially, I try not to visit Melissa's Book Nut blog too often because she can easily turn my wish brick into a wish mountain in under a month. Frightening. I'll keep working on all the books that are her fault and then, once I've hacked that pile down a bit, will go back for more ideas. If you love YA and aren't terrified of what Melissa can do to your wish list, visit her blog. Melissa's an awesome reviewer.
4.5/5 - Magical storytelling with a delightful modern twist, a heroine who is easy to love and a terrific cast of characters.
In other news: I've been so busy with family, chores and sick kitty that I haven't spent a great deal of time online and didn't bother to do a NaNoWriMo update but I stopped deliberately at just over 30,000 words because I wanted to take my time making sure I didn't write myself into a corner (which, unfortunately, I have done in the past). I love my setting, my characters and my idea, but the plot definitely needs work.
In case you're wondering, I'm very happy stopping at 30,000. Altogether, I wrote close to 44,000 words during November. If I could have lumped the two stories together and tossed in another 6,000 words to win, I probably would have because I had 10 days left when I chose to stop -- more than enough time to come up with 6,000 words and certainly enough to have won if I was willing to take the chance that I'd just end up throwing half of my work down the toilet. Since I've won twice, I didn't feel obligated to kill myself trying. I'd rather stop at a point that I feel gives me more room to maneuver; I do tend to write myself into a tangled mess when I write fast.
So, I consider NaNoWriMo a success. I like what I'm writing; I didn't burn out to the point that I can't even stand to look at my story, and I hammered out quite a bit of writing. Fractured or not, 44,000 words in 20 days is a decent output.
Kitty Update: We have found out our beloved Miss Spooky is terminally ill. She's got "a bone marrow disease," but the doctor said there are 10 different possibilities and the treatment is the same for each -- antibiotics and steroids to support a system that is no longer producing antibodies -- so we aren't going to put her through the stress of testing her bone marrow to determine which disease she's suffering from. We found this out when her good eye (she went blind in one eye after the first episode) began to bleed internally and pressure started to build.
Miss Spooky can apparently see a little light but she's functionally blind and has spent most of the day (since I brought her home from the kitty hospital, this morning) curled up on a fat blanket on the floor. She ran into a few walls before I finally got her to relax and settle down. She's a little freaked out. While Spooky had adjusted well to being blind in one eye, she seems to be pretty distraught about not being able to see much out of either eye. I can't say I blame her.
That's about all the news from the House of Bookfool. I haven't finished many books, but I hope to have a Children's Day, sometime soon, and I've got a couple of book tours coming up. If I can, I'll squeeze in my October Reads in Review, tomorrow.