Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: Harper Teen
In this modern twist of Snow White, readers get the perspectives of all the primary characters. Violet is brilliant but ugly enough that her classmates and teachers despise and bully her. She only has one friend, Greg, until he forgets her and starts dating Violet’s worst enemy. While Violet is dealing with losing her only friend she meets Kendra, a witch who can help her change the way she looks and teach Violet how to use her magical gifts. Violet becomes obsessed with using magic to become beautiful, but nothing she does seems to be able to change Greg’s mind. Years later, Greg’s daughter, Celine, loves her new stepmother, Violet, until suddenly Violet no longer seems to like her at all. When Violet attacks Celine, Celine has to rely on the help of Kendra and her friend Goose to find her a true love’s kiss to save her life.
This book is obsessed with beauty, trying to get the message across that beauty is not everything. It also deals with themes of bullying and stereotyping. Goose is arguably the best character in the book, packing a lot of personality and charm into his short frame. A lot of the other characters, such as Greg, are one-dimensional and are only there to serve a purpose. Celine herself seems to only have the fault of being too pretty. The teacher’s dislike of Violet because of her ugliness in spite of being intelligent and a good student makes little sense. Some of the fairy tale adaptions into the modern world are very clever, but sometimes with so much contemporary the magic seems out of place. While not the best fairy tale retelling out there, the modern take and the book not taking itself too seriously makes it an interesting retelling of a classic story.