Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Into the Wild

By Sarah Beth Durst.

Great fun. Fairy tale references all over the place, and there are frequent laughs. It also doesn't suffer from the problems other books of this type tend to have, like unbearable corniness or having the characters leap into trouble for no good reason. Julie has a good reason.

The story? Julie is a junior high student living with her hairdresser mom Zel. Or, well, Zel is a hairdresser now—but her hair points to her past as a princess locked in a tower in a fairy tale. How she escaped is a secret no one seems to know, even though Zel rescued other characters from their own stories in the process, ending the Middle Ages. The Wild now lives under Julie's bed and likes to eat shoes. But somehow, it escapes...

Though some of the side characters seem a little flat (and it could be blamed on the nature of the Wild's fairy tales), Julie and her family are all lively and well portrayed. (Julie's grandmother, the former wicked witch (and still a witch), even turns the talking frog she gave Julie for her fifth birthday back into the mailman—eventually.) The plot segues from one fairy tale to another at a dizzying pace, although it isn't really disjointed: it feels more like a dream trying to make sense out of disconnected events. And the ending is quite clever.

Definitely recommended.

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