Thursday, July 11, 2013

Towering, by Alex Flinn

Alex Flinn is at it again with another fairy tale retelling. This time she puts a modern spin on Rapunzel with Towering. But don't expect a lighthearted Disney romance (for that, check out Tangled). This novel is, in its own way, every bit as dark and suspenseful as the original Brothers Grimm version. 

When Wyatt moves to a remote Adirondack town to escape the aftermath of his best friend's violent death, he hopes to find some sort of peace. To forget. Instead, he finds a mystery: Here several teenagers have vanished without a trace, including Danielle, the daughter of his host, the creepy but kindly old Mrs. Greenwood. Oddly, no one in town seems bothered by any of these mysterious disappearances. Then there's the voice he hears on the wind, the voice no one else seems to hear. Or is it just that they won't admit to hearing it? What's going on here? When Wyatt decides to follow the voice, he stumbles upon a ruined tower hidden deep within the woods...and finds Rachel, a girl his age who has been a prisoner in the tower all her life. And this is where the fairy tale part comes in: Rachel has the look of a fairy tale princess. And, for some reason, her hair grows with surprising speed and strength. Plus she has other unusual powers that reveal themselves as the story develops. As Wyatt and Rachel inevitably develop feelings for each other (because this is a fairy tale after all), they set in motion events that will blow the cover off a secret drug testing operation that has been plaguing the town--and its teenage residents--for decades. Expect plenty of action, mystery, and, of course, the sort of romance you'd expect from a Flinn retelling. Overall, lots of teen appeal. 

Towering is perhaps Ms. Flinn's best retelling since Beastly. However, a word of warning to parents and tween readers: Towering includes some violence, teen pregnancy, and other sensitive topics that make this book better suited to older teens (14/15 and up). --AJB

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