ABC's Once Upon a Time finished its first season last night, in a finale full of excitement and magic. Season two won't start until October and if you're a fan like me you can always check out some of these books to help you get through the summer.
In Adult Fiction
- The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. After his mother's death, twelve year old David spends his time locked in his bedroom with his imagination. With war threatening his life in London, his father and his new wife move to a secluded house. With his whole life changing around him, David seeks comfort in The Book of Lost Things. When his stepmother gives birth to a son, David's feelings of frustrating are transferred to his new baby brother. When he finds himself in a strange world reminiscent of his book, full of danger and magic, he will have to decide what's really important.
- Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. This book is a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz has become a modern fairy tale that everyone knows, and this book looks at the old story from the perspective of Elphaba, the Witch of the West. This book inspired the musical, but the novel is much darker. This book examines the life of the infamous Witch of the West, going much more in depth to how she became the person she she is when she meets Dorothy.
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Tristan Thorn lives in a small village in Victorian England. His village is completely ordinary, but it sits near a wall that leads to a world of magic. When Tristan wants to win the hand of a local girl, he vows to leave his village for the other side of the wall to retrieve a fallen star. In a world of flying pirate ships and witches, Tristan's quest for true love takes him to unexpected places.
In YA Fiction
- Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marrillier. This book is a retelling of the Grimm Brothers' Twelve Dancing Princesses, in which five sisters in Transylvania travel to a magical realm every full moon. With magical frogs, forbidden lovers and magic, this book is just amazing. You can read the review here.
- Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Tracy Lynn. Set in Victorian England, this retelling of Snow White is an original take on the story everyone knows. While this book was a bit bizarre, it was an interesting take on Snow White. You can read the full review here.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The first in the series, this book combines the story of Cinderella with science fiction. Cinder is a cyborg who also works as a mechanic. With a life threatening disease and the Lunar Queen threatening New Beijing, Cinder finds herself valuable in the quest to save the world. Cinder has no memory of her life before she became a cyborg, but her past may be valuable if she wants to help protect New Beijing. As Cinder struggles with accepting who she is and being not fully human, she wonders if the Prince could ever love a cyborg. You can read the full review here.
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. In this retelling of the Grimm Brothers' Maid Maleen, a brave maid is to be imprisoned with her Lady in a tower for 7 years. As Lady Saren mourns for the life she lost, her maid Dashti is happy to have enough food to live on. The girls find themselves torn between two suitors who wish to marry Saren: the kind Khan and the terrifying Lord Khashar. They soon become caught in a war, and Dashti will have to draw on her bravery and abilities to save the kingdom. You can read the full review here.
- Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. Gemma has always been a mystery to her grandchildren. While they know she left Europe after World War II for the United States, they don’t even know her birth name or who Becca’s grandfather was. The one thing Gemma does talk about from her old life is the story of Sleeping Beauty. After Gemma’s death, Becca finds herself wanting answers about her family’s past. Old mementos lead Becca to Chelmo, a concentration camp in Poland. As she searches for the pieces of Gemma’s past, Becca tries to find the connection to the story she loved so much. Becca has heard about Briar Rose and the dark fairy’s curse so many times she knows the story by heart. As she uncovers the story of the past, she learns that life isn’t a fairy tale.
- Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. In this retelling of Rumpelstilskin and the Miller's Daughter, Charlotte Miller is left with the responsibility of her family mill after her father's death. When her estranged uncle comes to care for her and she learns of her father's debts, the pressure to sell the mill begins to take its toll on Charlotte. When a mysterious man appears who promises to spin straw into gold, Charlotte has no other choice but to make a deal with him. As Charlotte keeps making deals with this strange man, she finds herself with debts she could never pay. As she looks for answers about this mysterious man and his connection to her family, she will have to find the truth about the past to protect her family. You can read my review here.
- Beauty by Robin McKinley. Beauty has never liked her nickname, which has never seemed to fit her. She is the brains of the family, and when her father is supposed to be a prisoner in a enchanted castle she finds a way to protect her family by serving in his place. The castle is inhabited by a Beast, who surprises Beauty with his kindness. The castle is abundant in magic, and slowly it becomes another home for Beauty, although she never stops missing her family. Every night, the Beast asks Beauty if she will marry him, and every night she refuses. As time goes by, she finds it more and more difficult to refuse him and hurt him so. Is it possible to love a beast?
In Junior Fiction
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. In this retelling of Cinderella, Ella is a young girl who has been cursed with having to be obedient. When her father remarries a horrible woman with two daughters, they use her curse to make her to do things she can't control. While Ella loves Prince Char, she knows that her obedience could hurt him if someone were to find out. If Ella wants to find her happy ending she will have to look within herself to break the curse. You can read the review here.
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. The first in the series, twelve year old Maggie finds herself swept into something right out of a story when she learns that her father can bring characters out of the pages of books when he reads aloud. When he brought characters from a book called Inkspell, Maggie's mother was taken to the world inside the book in return. As the dangerous villains from the book come and find Maggie and her father, she learns that she shares the same ability.