Book: Wondrous Strange (Lesley Livingston)
Stand-Alone or Series: Series, Wondrous Strange #1
Genre: Young Adult
Preview at Harper Teen!
Description (From Goodreads):
17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.
I have heard quite a bit about Wondrous Strange, both good and bad reviews. I was excited to read this novel and I quickly dove into the story. The book effortlessly weaves in and out of the Shakespearean story of a Mid Summer Night's Dream, bringing the characters to life. Kelley, a young actress finds herself in the midst of a battle over her life and loyalties. Early on in the book, she meets Sonny, a mortal who was raised in the faerie realm and now stands guard of the gate that divides the fairy realm from the mortal world.
Let me begin with saying that I loved this completely original and unique plot. I have never read a book like Wondrous Strange, even though I have read multiple faerie books. There are plenty of surprises intertwined into the story, so you are racing through the pages. The characters were also extremely unique and endearing. Kelley, who you find out happens to be faerie royalty, really struggles with her new found identity. She is frightened by the faerie world and all power that comes with it. Sonny, her love interest, is also a character who suffers a sort of identity crisis. This is one of the things that I really enjoyed about this book; both of the main characters are flawed - they make mistakes and are not always sure of themselves; which makes them more realistic.
However, there were two things that bothered me about this book. The first was how quickly Kelley accepted her rather unique lineage and circumstances. I know that if some random guy came up to me and tried to tell me I had faerie blood in me I would most likely call the cops. It would take a lot of convincing, and I mean a lot of convincing. I would be shaken up for days. Kelley, is initially upset by this revelation, but is down with everything like two pages later.
The second problem I had is along the same lines. I had a difficult time with how quickly Sonny and Kelley's relationship progressed. I feel like the bulk of the relationship was missing - they went from be irritated with one another to making vows of love practically overnight. I know that this is marketed as sort of a romance novel for teens, but I think it would have been great to see a little more build up. I always enjoy the build up in books, and their romance was seriously lacking in that department.
But, all in all I enjoyed this book. It was unique and exciting and I will definitely read the next book in the series. I also think it is a great way to get teens interested in and excited about a Shakespearean play.