Saturday, June 29, 2013


by Alex Flinn
296 pages
Middle School+

Rachel lives in a tower, seeing no one but Mama, an older woman who comes in to take care of her.  Everyday Mama comes, bringing her food, supplies, and conversation.  Mama is so nice to her, she can't help but think what the outside world is like.  Never seeing anything but the occasional deer and squirrel (which she knows from studying books), she sings to pass the time.

Wyatt needs to escape.  His feels like his life is in shambles, and he needs a change of scenery.  At his mom's request, he goes to live with the mother of an old friend of hers, Mrs. Greenwood.  She lives alone in this big, empty house in the middle of nowhere.  While grateful for a place to stay, Wyatt is kind of creeped out by Mrs. Greenwood the first night when he accidentally tries to sleep in her missing daughter's bedroom.  Not quite sure what to think of her, he moves to another room, but takes a diary with him.

Since Wyatt has made friends with some of the local kids, he gets invited to a New Year's party out at a remote cabin.  While they are walking from the car to the cabin, Wyatt hears something strange: a voice singing on the wind.  Though the other dismiss the sound, he can't stop thinking about it.  Drawn by it, he comes back during the daytime to try and figure out where it is coming from.  He struggles through the woods, searching for the source of the music.
Rachel has been watching out her window.  The snow is beautiful, but she feels like something is going to happen, like someone is coming.  Using some special lenses, she spies something different: a boy in a blue coat walking through the woods.  He's coming closer and closer, until he starts crossing the frozen lake.  Unfortunately, it's not completely frozen.  As he disappears, Rachel is faced with a choice: does she leave her tower, the home she has always known to rescue someone she has never met before?

Really interesting book.  Obviously a retelling of Rapunzel, but definitely mixed up from the traditional tale.  Rachel acts outside of the typical Rapunzel character, plus there are some added elements in the story.  Some of those elements felt forced at times, but it was a way to modernize the story and give an explanation to why Rapunzel is in the tower, so they are kind of needed, but still felt a little out of place.

I did like Rachel's character and how she isn't just waiting to be rescued.  She is timid and scared, but she still gets out and does things.  Much better than the traditional Rapunzel character.  Overall, the characters are fairly well written: they grow, change, make realizations, and progress.  Good characters to flesh out the traditional tale.

Overall, pretty good story, but not fantastic.  I liked it, glad I read it, but not sure if I would read it again.  I will recommend, especially to girls that want another fairy tell retelling.  Boys might like it too, since part of it is told through Wyatt's perspective. I did like all the connections and twists in the plot line! Good book!

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