Violet knows she's different and not very pretty. After a playground incident, in which she brings back to life a dead crow, she becomes friends with fellow loner Greg. Everything is great until they get to middle school and then once again she finds herself alone. Her chance encounter with Kendra, shows her a secret about herself. Violet learns that she does have some powers and little by little changes her appearance. But still she's bullied and not accepted.
Celine is everything a Photoshop model claims to be but isn't. Celine is the real thing. Her beauty though is a huge distraction. Her family though loves her but when a tragedy takes her mother away, another beautiful woman steps into her life. Before she knows it she has a stepmother, one who is totally into her father but not her. The older Celine gets, the more she looks like the very mother that bullied her own mother twenty year ago. With Celine's blossoming beauty, also comes danger.
What worked: I loved this contemporary retelling of Snow White that hooked me from the very first page. A huge plus of this novel has to be how Flinn shows us the vulnerabilities of Violet as a child and a teen. She's bullied unmercifully from her peers, who prey on her weakness--her lack of beauty. I really felt for Violet and could feel the loneliness and hurt she carried.
Celine's story is one of a very beautiful teen, who is ignored by many because they feel imitated by her looks. When her father remarries Violet, at first things go well. Then when Celine because a teen, things go drastically wrong to the point that she's attacked by animals, burned by irons, gets rashes from her skin care, and even brutalized by the birds outside.
I really liked how Flinn then brings Goose into the picture. He's well liked by his peers but isn't what the world would consider 'handsome' as he's very short. I love how Goose uses the character Tyrion from Game of Thrones as his influence. Goose's optimism is very contagious and rubs off on not only Celine but the reader as well. I totally love the 80s movie references and how he envisions himself not like Duckie in Pretty in Pink but hopes for an ending like in Some Kind of Wonderful. I really loved Celine and him together. Flinn pulls back from the hot guy stereotype and instead reveals how real beauty comes from within.
Twists in the classic fairy tale are throughout this highly engaging novel. How Goose goes out to find the 'prince' to break a spell that Violet cast over Celine is just perfect. That's all I'll say as I won't post any spoilers here!
Unique spin on the classic fairy tale Snow White this story will resonate with readers with it's twist on what is really beautiful. Another winner from Alex Flinn!