Jan. 20th, 2011

This semester, I am taking a Young Adult Library Services class.  Unlike my other classes this one is completely online, so there are some attributes quite unique to this course.  One of my assignments is to read one YA novel a week and post a review about it on our class Young Adult Literature (YAL) blogs.  This is to help us all become acquainted with many different YA titles, though I can already tell you that it will be rare to see me without my nose in some book (whether it be a textbook or novel) or typing on my computer.

I'm actually quite excited about this assignment because I like YA literature and this is basically reading fun books for school credit!  Plus, every Wednesday, the English PolyCom class has set aside 30 minutes for the kids to do some silent reading.  The main teacher also has a book to read and he's told me I could do the same, so I could read while I'm at work and write my review when I get home (one more reason why working at the high school is such fun).

Also, since I have been less-than motivated (or inspired) to blog with any kind of regularity, I have decided I am going to cross-post my book reviews from my school blog to this blog.  I think this will make it more fun for me and also give my loyal readers (all five of you) something enjoyable to read from me.  Just as a heads-up, there is a certain format I need to follow for my class, but I don't think any of you fine literate folks will have any trouble following my train of thought.

In other news, I regret to inform you all that I have turned to the dark side.  Yes, it's true - I have a Twitter account.  I have several reasons for this: (1) - Some of the blogs I follow haven't updated lately, but they have posted new things on their Twitter feeds, so I figure if I want their updates, I should have a place to do that.  (2) - I have been anything but positive toward Twitter, but without actually trying it out.  I came to the conclusion that I should at least try it out before I throw it completely out the window.  If, after a month or so, I decide I have no real use for it, I will delete my account and will need never deal with the Twitter-sphere again.  But who knows - maybe I'll actually come to like it (I can hear Twitter junkies all around the world laughing maniacally).  In any case, if you're interested in following me, my username (handle, tag, thing, whatever) is @wildcat_media.

There goes the phone again - I swear, it's rang about five times since I began this post.

(Here comes the fun of seeing whether Blackboard content will mesh well with LJ)

Title: Golden: A Retelling of "Rapunzel"

Author: Cameron Dokey

ISBN: 1-4169-3926-1

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing (Imprint: Simon Pulse)

Date of Publication: June 2007

Reading Level: 12+

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Keywords:

Books in Print suggested these: [Books in Print is a library cataloging database]

JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic
JUVENILE FICTION / General
CHILDREN'S FICTION
MAGIC - FICTION
WIZARDS - FICTION

These are the ones I thought of before I looked at BiP:

Folklore, Fairy Tales, Heroes, Fantasy, Family Relationships, Romance, Adoption

Plot Summary: Before Rapunzel was born, her parents make a deal with the sorceress, Melisande, when she catches Rapunzel's father in her garden.  If Rapunzel's mother cannot love the child when she is first born, the baby will go to Melisande.  When Rapunzel is born without any hair, her mother declares that she does not love her child and Rapunzel is raised by the kind sorceress.  When Rapunzel turns 16, Melisande tells her adopted daughter of Rue, Melisande's biological daughter, who was locked in a tower by an evil wizard.  Rapunzel must help Rue break the enchantment keeping Rue in tower in two days or they'll both be cursed.

Comments: This is a very solid retelling of "Rapunzel" with some surprisingly modern themes.  The idea that the sorceress in this story is actually Rapunzel's adopted mother may appeal to young adults who have been adopted or who are in foster homes.  In fact, adoption comes up again with the introduction of Harry, a boy whose parents have died and he has been raised by a traveling tinker names Mr. Jones.  Melisande's reasoning for taking Rapunzel from her parents is explained (whether or not it's to the satisfaction of the reader) is given in the fact that Melisande's power is that she can see into the hearts of others and see what people really treasure and cherish.  Rapunzel, though not Melisande's biological daughter, inherits this gift which helps her save Rue from the tower.

I quite liked the twist of making Rapunzel completely bald.  It makes for some nice character development in the story.  The townspeople don't trust Melisande and it only gets worse when Rapunzel's kerchief falls off and everyone sees she is bald and only assume that she was cursed by the sorceress.  This makes the friendship of Mr. Jones and Harry that much more important when they are finally introduced.

I did get a little lost in the middle where Melisande and Rapunzel travel to the tower where Rue has been locked away (Rue is the one with the long golden hair in this story).  Some of the mechanics of Rue's curse were a little fuzzy, so I didn't quite get what Rapunzel was trying to do when... well, I don't want to spoil the ending.

Overall, a very good read with some wonderful characterization.  This book is part of the larger "Once Upon a Time" series, so if you're looking for other classic fairy tale retellings, there are at least twenty other titles in the series (many are also written by Cameron Dokey, if you are a fan of her style).

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December 2011

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