Stray

Elissa Sussman, Author
Elissa Sussman. Greenwillow, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-227455-7
Book - 978-0-06-234577-6
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-227458-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-2881-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-2880-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-8616-7
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Sixteen-year-old Princess Aislynn’s magical outbursts make her unfit for marriage and “ever after,” so she’s cast out to be trained as a chaste fairy godmother. But Aislynn finds it difficult to follow the precepts of “the Path” and the strict rules of Elderwood Academy, where her heart is literally locked away, and her inability to harness her magic threatens to derail her life a second time or mark her as a shunned “stray.” The plot—which draws such references as the thorny brambles and pricking spindles of Briar Rose, and the forgotten slippers and severed toes of Cinderella—is promising, aiming to flip the princess-centric focus of classic fairy tales on its head. Unfortunately, newcomer Sussman’s storytelling is lacking in necessary exposition, asking more questions about this strange, stringent world than it answers and peppering the text with dangling subplots that fail to coalesce or conclude. Perhaps most disturbing is her treatment of Aislynn’s self-harming behavior (she discharges magic into herself, leaving large welts on her limbs), which is mentioned sparingly and too easily dismissed. Ages 13–up. Agent: Samantha Shea, Georges Borchardt Inc. (Oct.)
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