This was a very sweet read. Julie has a hard time fitting in. Her mother, Rapunzel, or Zel as she likes to be called, runs a beauty parlor. Her grandmother, Gothel, is the wicked witch who imprisoned Zel in the tower. She is now reformed and runs the Wishing Well Motel. Her true job is protecting the Wishing Well so that no one makes any wishes. Zel and Julie, along with Julie's brother, Puss in Boots are charged with keeping the Wild Wood trapped under Julie's bed and prevent it from growing again. With all this going on in her home life, it is no wonder that Julie has trouble fitting in at school. Then the Wild escapes and Julie's mom goes to defeat it and doesn't come back. It also takes her grandmother and Julie decides to go and get them back. What follows is quite a journey for Julie as she discovers things about herself and her mom. She also is faced with a big decision that will decide the fate of the world and the Wild.
I was really impressed with this book. Julie is likeable and strong. She wants to be a normal girl but she knows too much for that to be possible. With Rapunzel for a mom, the Seven Dwarfs as dinner guests, Cinderella, Snow White, and Goldilocks as regular visitors how could she hope to be like everyone else. What was very touching was how much Julie longed for her father. She knows so little about him since Zel won't talk about what happened to him. Julie combs fairy tale books for any scrap about him. Then the Wild escapes and starts to take over the town and then the area. Since Zel defeated it last time and allowed the fairy tale people to finally escape, she goes to fight it once again and is captured.
This book might have been written for young adults but I found it to be a great read for adults as well. I would urge anyone with kids to read this with your children. It was a very inspiring read without being over the top. The plot was very original and creative. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how Julie was going to beat the Wild. I will be interested to see what Ms. Durst comes up with next.
Next Book -
Out of the Wild
Razorbill / Penguin Young Readers, June 2008
Three blind and tail-less mice catapulted through the cat door, skidded over the linoleum kitchen floor, and collapsed in a furry heap at Julie's feet.
"Uh, hi," Julie said to the mice.
The cat door bashed open again as Julie's brother, Puss-in-Boots, launched himself inside...
Twelve-year-old Julie has grown up hearing about the dangerous world of fairy tales, "The Wild," from which her mother, Rapunzel, escaped.
Now The Wild wants its characters back. Julie comes home from school to find her mother gone and a deep, dark forest swallowing her hometown. Julie must fight wicked witches, avoid glass slippers and fairy godmothers, fly griffins, and outwit ogres in order to rescue her mom and save her Massachusetts town from becoming a fairy-tale kingdom.
Sarah Beth Durst weaves a postmodern fairy tale that's fresh, funny, and sweetly poignant.