A brilliant retelling of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel Untangled gives an old story a modern twist that often had me laughing.
Bennett's "Author's Note" at the outset gives us the heads-up that this yarn will be a unique adventure, and it truly is.
In this alternate universe, Rapunzel is a girl who lives alone with her mother, marooned to the world by an illness that makes her über-susceptible to germs. (She's not quite forced into a bubble, but it's close.)
Her only connection to the outside is via the Internet, which was necessary for her homeschooling projects. One fateful day, Rapunzel Facebook-friends a stranger named Fab Fane Flannigan.
Their budding friendship shifts her world, introducing her to wondrous things like M&Ms, and she can't go back to the way things were before.
The sweet romance is especially touching when Rapunzel might just be killed by a kiss, and her tenderness with Fab Fane is expressed in other ways.
But her mother has a reason to keep her safe-keep her hidden-that has nothing whatsoever to do with Rapunzel's best interests.
This is a YA, though [vague spoilers for those interested in adult subject matter] there are some scary scenes, a short imprisonment and a starvation-deprivation-torture sequence-it wasn't graphic but mildly psychologically terrifying-appropriate for 13+?
I love that this retelling of Rapunzel, Untangled is so refreshingly different from the original story that it's impossible to know how the story ends. It was hard to put the book down, and when the climax approached I had no idea what to expect. Will love conquer evil, or will Rapunzel meet her destiny-and possibly her death?
As someone who enjoys good fairy tales, this story was a real treat.
So, yeah, I'm doing a little squealing, happy dance! Thanks, Joanna, and Seattle Post Intelligencer!
Get your copy of Rapunzel Untangled here: