Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Fractured by Joanna Karaplis

Sorry it took me so long to review this, I really wanted to do it earlier, but I set some ground rules for myself: no personal reading or blogging until exams are over. This was actually very depressing because I’m about to start reading Torment by Lauren Kate AND I really wanted to write this review because I enjoyed the book so much! Anyway, I am now free from school, so here’s my review!

Title: Fractured: Happily Never After? 3 Tales
Author: Joanna Karaplis
Publisher: McKellar & Martin
Publish Date: November 1st, 2010
Genre: YA, Fairytale
Pages: 119

Everyone knows a fairytale or two. They’re the kind of stories that seem to stick with you. Maybe it’s the magic. Maybe it’s the handsome prince. Or maybe they’re just the absolute perfect place to lose yourself for a little while.

But what would happen if Snow White were around today? Would Cinderella still need a fairy godmother? And would the Little Mermaid show up on YouTube?

Joanna Karaplis has put an unexpected spin on Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid; she’s quietly fractured the stories and then reassembled them for the 21st Century. So, while there may not be a whole lot of horse-drawn carriages and magic potions, you can be sure that there will be at least one evil witch and maybe even a handsome prince (or two)…

Fractured is a collection of three modern day retellings of fairytales. The first is called Snow White and the Seven Dorks, where the main character is an outcast at a small school and she falls in with the “dork” crowd. The second is Cyberella, which is told entirely in blog posts, chat messages, and text messages. Lastly is Swan Song, a retelling of The Little Mermaid about a girl trying to kick start a singing career, but who keeps hitting roadblocks.

The thing about these stories is that the themes are ones that everyday high school students might meet daily: crushes, reality shows, big career dreams, drugs, self-consciousness, and more. Joanna really captured teenage life and made her novel very relatable and realistic. In that same vein, this means that not all stories have a “happily ever after.” Here’s more of a mini review of each story:

Snow White and the Seven Dorks:
What I liked about this one was the ways in which Joanna incorporated the original fairytale. One example was showcased in my teaser last week. She also found a creative way to keep the main character’s name as “Snow White.” The story itself flips back and forth between when Snow first moved to this little town, and a school dance that she is attending with the most popular guy in school. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to Snow and her situation: not making a lot of friends in school and thus wanting to be accepted even more, attracted to the most popular guy in school, and the pressure of using drugs. It made me think about how this is a real life situation for some, and I like that Joanna isn’t afraid to address it in her novel.

This one was a really quick read because of the way it was written in blog posts and text/chat messages. The one thing I had to remember to do when reading is checking the time stamps on each entry, because the story is slightly time sensitive. The story is about Cindy and her friend Matt who get tickets to an exclusive Halloween party where their favourite reality TV stars will be in attendance. Cindy meets her favourite star, but doesn’t know it because the stars, as well as body doubles, are all masked so that attendants can guess who the real stars are. It follows the fairytale in that the reality star doesn’t know Cindy’s name and then tries to find her the next day. Like I said, it’s a quick read and also really cute.

Swan Song:
This story was by far my favourite. It was the longest of the three and I think it really evoked the strongest emotions in me, and potentially others as well. The story is about Adriana, a hopeful singer who is unhappy with her physical appearance and feels that it gets in the way of her chances of becoming a star. She is even willing to go through plastic surgery to fix it. I really liked her best friend, Fiona, who was always supportive of her, but at the same time tried to help Adi see that she didn’t need plastic surgery to be great. She was truly what a best friend should be like. I found this story to be least like the original fairytale. It took me a little bit of thinking about the story to find parallels. I think I was just so encompassed in the story itself that I didn’t have time to think about how it compared to The Little Mermaid. I have to warn you, this one really pulled at my heartstrings and I almost cried. I won’t tell you whether it was out of joy or sadness, but remember you were warned.

I highly recommend this to anyone who likes reading fairytales or fracture fairytales, or stories that are really relatable. Joanna was really able to centre this novel in the everyday teenager’s life, which I think is great. It’s a quick read no matter what your reading pace, considering it’s only 119 pages. I definitely recommend picking it up!

Thanks to Goodreads and Joanna for the copy! (won on Goodreads)

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