First things first- from here on out, upon entering Barnes and Noble we WILL stay to the right of the store. There is a reason that for years now we’ve been comfortable visiting only the right side of the store and that reason is simple- I am old.
I haven’t really given too much thought to being a thirty year old woman reading young adult literature. With series like Harry Potter, Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books and Twilight there has been no reason to make a distinction between “their books” and “ours”. I can’t argue that some of the writing by YA authors is far superior to some of the crap I’ve picked up in the fiction section over time. That said, there is a difference and while it’s been fun to giggle like a teenager, I belong on the old people’s side. Just not with the red hat ladies just yet.
On with the story…
At first this one threatened the validity of my shallow “Yes, you can judge a book by its cover” theory. Glitter rarely ever lets me down but I’ll admit that I was a little worried with this one.
It’s a fairly simple little story. Zara’s stepfather (Daddy for all intents and purposes) has recently died of a heart attack and her mother is at a loss as to what to do for her. This element of the story is actually very touching, and the emotional implications his death brings to Zara’s life stay pretty consistent throughout the book. Death of a parent is some pretty heavy stuff and I like that the author kept that story line at the forefront of everything that Zara was doing because without it the overall silliness of the story would have run amuck. Anyway, Zara is sent to live with her step-grandma, Betty in an insignificant, cold, small town in Maine. Here it takes the nice neat path of new girl, new town, new school, new friends, new rivals, new……boys. Things aren’t what they seem, nor could they possibly be because that’s the way stories work. It is at this point that my eyes glaze over for the next hundred pages or so.
Zara is being stalked by the King of the Pixies. Yeppers. The King of the Pixies. Boys have been disappearing from the town and only the union of the pixie king with his pixie queen can stop it. How do we know he’s a pixie? Why hell- we Google it. Apparently if you Google “What would make you suspect that someone is a pixie?” you will discover the basis for this story!
I tried it. This is what I got:
What would make you suspect that someone is a pixie?
Zara’s Google tells her that pixies are not nice beings. They capture human boys and well….drink their blood. The pixie king, who is Zara’s biological father wants Zara’s mother to return to him in order to quell the “need” for young boy’s blood (think about that for a second).
Alright I can go along with that. I can dig it. What I really can’t wrap my brain around is the fact that the author is trying to tell me that these are high school juniors, in the library (you know that doesn’t happen), googling pixie hunting. Take a moment to think back on your own junior year and see if you arrive at the same place. The author chooses to paint a rather innocent portrayal of teen life and since I just recently fell in love with a story that ended with the teenage heroine knocked up by her vampire husband I guess I can give a little here.
The story redeems itself a little over half way through, where the requisite hot hero guy turns out to be a werewolf. Of course that opens up the possibility of pretty much everyone else involved in the story being something other than human- and they are. Were-tigers and were-eagles and were-bears oh my! It’s a little over kill but once again we remember what genre we are reading here and shrug it off.
It ends nicely enough with destruction of the pixies, reuniting of mother and daughter, true love and a bit with a dog (er...wolf).
I can forgive the simplicity of the story. I think it could have actually worked if she hadn’t gone the pixie route. Make up a sinister sounding name as an alternative- put it in italics and roll with it. I like the idea of pixies being scary but being stalked by the king of the pixies just doesn’t instill the fear that simply calling them something else could create. The writing was a bit distracting as well, and seemed to jump from one point to the other with literally no segue causing a “How the hell did we come to that conclusion?” reaction that prompted some back page turning. Zara’s listing of different phobias as a means of reducing anxiety were a nice little something though. With them I can at least say this was educational.
I can’t say it was a bad book. It was actually a cute little story, even with the elements of the ridiculous-but it did put me in my place- that of an old person.