|Not Your Average Fairy Tale|
by Chantele Sedgwick
"Ash Summerland has it all-good looks, popularity, and the best grades at The Academy of Magical Beings. Ready to complete his last assignment in order to graduate, Ash is confident he will get the apprenticeship he wants. but when he opens the letter from the Council, he is shocked to discover he has been assigned to apprentice Lady Shenelle, Keeper of Happy Endings- aka the head fairy godmother. Ash is forced to grant three wishes to a troubled human girl named Kendall, and ultimately give her a "happy ever after." But Kendall turns out to be more than he bargained for. Still grieving over her father's death, she doesn't want anything to do with Ash. And worst of all, she doesn't believe in happy endings."
This is one I've had on the shelf for quite some time and it hardly ever gets checked out (paperbacks always sit on the shelf more than hardbacks). I'm so glad I read it and I need to really talk it up with my students, because I liked it alot. It is a fun and entertaining book with a different premise - a guy as a fairy godmother - and yet it also has a lot of heart and some good action/suspense. As soon as I finished it I ordered the next one in the series, Not Your Average Happy Ending (I sure wish I could get hardbacks of these!). This is an author to watch. I also loved her most recent book, Love, Lucas . She has a way of dealing with serious teen issues realistically, while still having the main characters keep a moral compass alive. I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate that in YA authors! I'm a firm believer in expecting greatness out of teenagers and not assuming they will all delve into bad behaviors, so I love all authors who expect greatness out of their main characters.
The main characters in this book are very well drawn. We feel Kendall's heartache at the loss of her father and the grief that has weighed her down and changed who she is. We laugh at Ash's exploits and conceit, while loving his charm and wit. We are happy that Ellie is a loving and supportive sister, and are entertained by the bond between Sam and Ash. The romance between Kendall and Ash is sweet and believable.
I felt like the build-up to the conflict in the story was a little slow. It was apparent that Dax hated Ash, but someone who hates you because you are popular and get the best grades doesn't seem too threatening (even if he does have magical powers). However, when the conflict reached it's zenith I did get a little nervous for the main characters. It looks like the next book in the series is going to have some much more serious conflicts, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.
All in all, Not Your Average Fairy Tale ticks all the boxes for a contemporary/fantasy/romance YA novel. I definitely recommend it.
Areas of concern:
*A smarmy, arrogant high school boy who is trying to hook up with Kendall.
Actually a very clean read (without being cheesy).