Thursday, November 20, 2008

Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst

Main Character: Julia
Location: Partly in an undefined real-world place, partly in fairy tale land
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Fiction, Fairy Tales

Julie is a girl from two worlds. She lives in the real world and goes to junior high, but her brother is a cat--Puss-in-Boots to be precise--and the Wild, the remnants of the fairy tale world, is kept under her bed. You see, Julia's mother is really Rapunzel (or Zel for short) and while she may look like a simple hairdresser, she was once a fierce warrior who defeated the Wild and freed all the fairy tale characters to live their own lives. Well, almost all of them. Her prince, Julie's father, sacrificed himself in the final battle.

So Julie has never really felt like she belongs anywhere. She longs to know more about her father, but more than anything she really wants to just be a normal girl with a normal life. After dinner with her mother, grandmother, and Snow's seven, her frustration spills out and she tells Zel she wishes Zel wasn't her mother. The next day, her mother is gone and the Wild has escaped her bedroom and begun to transform the town. Julie knows that she--the one person who knows all about the Wild but has never been there--is the only person who might possibly escape the Wild's traps and help her mother defeat it once again.

This was a fun book, with all its references to classic fairy tales and even a few lesser known ones. I loved Julie's friend, Gillian, who puts up her own unique battle with the Wild. Boots' dilemma of wanting to find a soul mate--or at least another talking cat--even if it means losing his freedom is touching; he reminded me of Hoggle in the movie Labyrinth. I even enjoyed the fact that the librarian is the villain. Well, maybe villain is too strong a word, but still.

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