cover image The Tower Room

The Tower Room

Adele Geras. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $15.95 (150pp) ISBN 978-0-15-289627-0

Set in the early 1960s in an English girl's school, Geras's novel--the first of a trilogy--is a loose variation of the Rapunzel story. No evil witch holds Megan captive, however; instead, she and her two best friends choose the privacy of a tower room. Her prince is Simon, a young science teacher who climbs a scaffolding to tryst with Megan. Megan's spinster guardian Dorothy, who has herself developed a romantic attachment to the young man, discovers their secret meetings and expels them both from school. The story, told from the London garret where Megan and Simon are living, ends with Megan cutting her waist-length hair and moving back to school. While the new slant on an old fairy tale is engaging, the message, if any, is not clear. Megan's sexual involvement with a teacher, however young and handsome, may alarm some readers (and parents). Even if later installments in the series help flesh out Megan's decisions, readers may find the lack of a convincing resolution makes this an unsatisfying love story. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)