Tag Archives: fairy tales

YA Book Review- The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Every four years, two children disappear from the small village of Gavaldon: one beautiful, delightful child, and one ugly, horrible child. No one knows where they go, but the village children will come across new fairy tales years later that star characters eerily similar to their missing playmates. Most of the villagers find this to be a terrible situation, but beautiful Sophie has been waiting all her life for her chance to be stolen away and become a fairytale princess. Her best friend, miserable Agatha, decides to try and protect Sophie the night she hopes the mysterious Schoolmaster will steal her away, but when he comes he decides to take them both, and before they know it they have arrived at the School for Good and Evil. Something is very wrong, though. Agatha has been taken to the School for Good, and Sophie to Evil. When they confront the Schoolmaster, they learn that their very own fairytale has already begun to write itself and is out of their hands. That doesn’t stop Sophie from trying to get in the School for Good where she thinks she belongs, while Agatha makes desperate attempts to get them both back home. Will the girls get out, switch schools, or learn to rule the Schools they’re in?

This book is non-stop action. The author made his name as a screenplay writer, so this story really moves like a movie- which is what it is rumored to be in a couple of years! Also, this is the start of a series, so look for the sequel in early 2014. This book is perfect for fans of Harry potter, and anyone who loves magic, action, and school stories!



YA Book Review- Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlison

Diribani and Tana are stepsisters who are trying to provide for Tana’s mother ever since Diribani’s successful father died and left the family with nothing. One day, when each of them makes a fateful trip to the local well for water and has a run-in with the goddess Naghali, their words begin to turn in to objects as they speak- Diribani speaks flowers and precious jewels, while Tana speaks toads and snakes. The prince of their region soon gets involved and determines that Tana should live a secluded life in a holy grove, and Diribani will join the royal caravan back to their palace. Both girls accept their new lives dutifully, making sure to remember that the goddess must have a plan for their new gifts. Soon, though, it becomes clear that the people of their community who do not agree with their religion and think them witches are out to ruin them, and they both find themselves trying to thwart danger while also protecting the people they love.

This beautifully written tale is based on the classic fairy tale titled “The Fairies” by Charles Perrault. The kingdom that the author sets the story in is based loosely on Indian regions, but is essentially fictional. Give this book to any readers who loves re-written fairy tales, beautiful descriptions, representation of multiple religions, or strong female characters.

toads and diamonds


YA Book Review- September Girls by Bennett Madison

On an island where regular people go to spend their summer vacations, there lives an ever-growing group of gorgeous and mysterious blonde Girls. They have no family, and no history, and each one only stays for a few years. They are not interested in most men, but there is a certain type of boy that they are all always looking for. Sam is one of those boys. His father’s eccentric idea to quit work and drag Sam and his brother to the beach for the summer has brought Sam to this place of Girls. He immediately does not trust the fact that they are desperate for him, an average high school boy, but they easily overlook his star-athlete frat-boy brother. When one of the Girls connects with him at a party, he starts to investigate the mystery behind them. Slowly he begins to unfold a story of  imprisonment, heartbreak, and magic.

First, a warning: this book is for older readers, as it includes mature language and situations. This story is so vividly told that you will feel as if you are walking the hazy shoreline right next to Sam every day. The mystery surrounding the Girls is rooted in an old and classic fairytale, but told from the perspective of the innocent mortal who gets caught in the middle of an ancient curse. Sam starts out as a typical high school guys who is influenced by his simple-minded friends, but comes through at the end a completely changed and emotionally complex character. This is not your standard fairy-tale retelling, but it is a good one and a good coming-of-age tale as well.

September Girls

YA Book Review- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

If wishes were real things you could spend like money, what would you wish for? Karou’s friends don’t believe that her blue hair grows naturally, but it does, because of a wish she got for her birthday. She was raised by strange creatures she calls monsters that are part human and parts of lots of other animals. Brimestone’s shop, full of teeth from all kinds of creatures, is where she learned to read and write and play. She’s been sent to school all over the world through the strange shop door that opens to different cities every time she leaves it. For high school, she’s been attending an art school in beautiful Prague and living her life as mysteriously as she can while maintaining a few good friends. Things are nice and as normal as they can be for her- until the day she meets an angry angel on the streets who she soon learns is out to destroy her family and the life she knows behind the shop’s doors. What she doesn’t realize is how much has been hidden from her about the lives of her monster friends, and how important she will be in the dangerous battle that is looming between angels and devils.

Laini Taylor weaves an incredible tale of heartbreak and beauty and life and death. Her words will make you want to visit Prague and peak in to alleyways to see if her characters are real. This book is great for anyone who likes supernatural romances and strong female characters. Bonus: it’s the first in a trilogy and you will not want to miss the other two books!


Book Review- Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman is best know for his trilogy that begins with the story The Golden Compass, but with this new book he decides to rewrite some of the oldest and most popular fairy tales. Pullman takes a scholarly approach to translating the Grimm’s stories, and at the end of each fairy tale he gives some details about the structure of the tale and why he translated it the way that he did. Classic stories written beautifully combined with a look behind the scenes and in to their histories make this a great addition to the collection of any fairy tale enthusiast.

Give this to a classic story lover, or to someone who wants to know more about the origins behind the recent flood of books that take fairy tales and place them in modern times.

phillip pullman fairy tales

YA Book Review- Scarlet (#2 of the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer


Last week’s post was about the first book in this futuristic series featuring famous fairy tale characters. This book, which is due to be published this February, stars none other than Red Riding Hood. Life on her quiet farm in a small French town never seemed out of the ordinary to Scarlet. That is, until her grandmother mysteriously disappears and no one will help Scarlet find her. Throw in a dangerous, surly stranger that goes by the name of Wolf and the reappearance of her once charming but now deranged father and you can quickly see that her life will never be the same. Expect to see the return of some of your favorite characters from the first book, including Cinder herself. I won’t reveal too much here so I don’t give away anything important, but Marissa Meyer sure knows how to write a story.

Once again, this book is great for sci-fi lovers, fantasy enthusiasts, action seekers, and also romance fans.


YA Book Review- Cinder (#1 of the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer


It seems like fairy tale retellings are everywhere these days, but I definitely don’t hear anyone complaining. This particularly imaginative version of the classic Cinderella involves Earth in the distant future. Cinder is a mechanic, and a cyborg (half human and half machine) which alienates her pretty well from the rest of society. She works to support the lifestyle of her stepmother and two stepsisters. Meanwhile, a quick and deadly plague has been haunting the planet for fifteen years, and the constant threat of an attack from the cold and calculating people of the moon society called Luna. Just how, exactly, does this involve Cinder? Is her budding friendship with the handsome Prince Kai actually putting his life in danger? Read on!

This book is great for a lot of people, including those who like science fiction, fantasy, and action. This is also the first in a series, so settle in for a long and exciting ride with these characters.