Book: Cloaked by Alex Flinn
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
Publication Date: February 1st, 2011
Description (From Goodreads):mJohnny works after school in a shoe repair shop in a swanky hotel in Miami. He loves shoes and is talented; he even aspires to be the next Manolo Blahnik. But the real reason that he is working so hard is because his dad left when he was a baby and he needs to help his mom pay the bills. At least he has his friend, Meg, who works at the hotel coffee shop, to keep him company. When beautiful Princess Victoriana comes to stay at the hotel, Johnny is thrilled when Victoriana invites him to her suite. There she tells him that her brother has been turned into a frog, and that she needs his help finding him in the Florida Keys. Johnny thinks she is crazy and does not believe her, until she gives him a magical cloak that immediately transports him to another location. Armed with the cloak and a magical earpiece that can help him talk to other transformed humans Johnny sets out to save the Prince ...
If you are familiar with Alex Flinn's work, you are already aware of the fantastic, whimsical feel of her stories. Like in her debut novel Beastly, with Cloaked, Flinn crafts a charming, magical story that will delight young readers, as well those as who are simply young at heart.
The thing you have to remember about Flinn's work is that is it is not meant to be taken completely seriously - it has an airy quality that lends itself to her magical storylines. Cloaked is a "modern fairy-tale mash-up" that is about an unlikely hero, Johnny. Johnny is a seventeen-year-old boy who works at his family business, repairing shoes. He is feeling down on himself, because he feels his life is going nowhere, when a beautiful Princess from a foreign land enlists him to help find her "bruzzer" (Princess speak for Brother). Johnny is soon swept up in' a whirlwind adventure that had him traveling to globe and running for his life.
You follow Johnny, accompanied by his best friend Meg, as he takes on his dangerous quest. There are talking animals, a magic teleporting cloak, scary bikers, crazy witches and two terrifying giants. Johnny is an interesting character who I found to be incredibly humorous. He could be a bit slow on the uptake though - sometimes I found myself in awe of his cluelessness (I don't know if that's a word, but it is now); especially when it comes to girls. But overall, it is easy to root for Johnny, everyone loves the underdog.
I feel like Cloaked was a great read, for the type of book it was meant to be. Like I said before - it's not a serious book; it is meant to be light, entertaining and whimsical. If you look at it under a microscope, I am sure you would find flaws. Often times plot advances aren't exactly logical - but they aren't suppose to be. You aren't suppose to examine it closely, you are simply suppose to reveal in the experience of it. Flinn was trying to emulate the excitement, innocence and magic of a fairytale and I feel like she succeeded.
If you go into reading Cloaked with an open mind, I am sure you will find it an enjoyable read. It is a charming and delightful story that can be devoured in a sitting.