5.24.2022 | Tuesday


category: Book Reviews

Toweringtitle: Towering
author: Alex Flinn
published: 14 May 2013
publisher: HarperTeen
genre(s): folklore
pages: 293
source: bought
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

rating: two-stars

the blurb

High in my tower I sit. I watch the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall green forest stretch to places I might never see.

Mama, who isn't my mother, has kept me hidden away for many years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books—great adventures, mysteries, and romances that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me—my life is not a fairy tale after all.

Well, at least no one has come so far. Recently, my hair has started to grow rapidly and it's now long enough to reach the bottom of the tower from my window. I've also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful green-eyed man.

When Mama isn't around, I plan my escape, even if it's just for a little while. There's something—maybe someone—waiting for me out there and it won't find me if I'm trapped here Towering above it all.

my review

Fairytale retellings are my kryptonite. That being said, some are good and others are, well, not. This one falls somewhere in the middle.

Towering is a modern-day Rapunzel retelling. Modern-day, which meant I wasn’t really expecting an actual tower. But there was. Right in the middle of the woods. This is where things began to go wrong for me. The story is set in upstate New York, in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s an area I’m fairly familiar with as I’m from only a couple hours north, a small town settled in the foothills of these mountains. A abandoned tower just waiting for a Rapunzel requires quite a bit of belief suspension. Nor is anything about how the tower came to be explained, which makes sense as I think it would be hard to come up with a logical explanation.

Equally odd for me was the way in which Rachel was raised. She was kept in this tower, isolated from the world, and kept in a time not her own. Her only connection with the outside world, aside from her keeper, was through the books she was given. Books by authors like Jane Austen. There was no explanation for that either, for why she was being raised to be even more socially dysfunctional than a lifetime of isolation would force her to be.

And then the instalove. It truly was instant. It felt so bizarre. Rachel’s be isolated for as long as she can remember, told that the outside world is dangerous. So the moment she meets a boy, there is no hesitation. She welcomes into her lair and then makes out with him. And then the love begins. Ooookay.

The plot itself had promise, but it was so convoluted that it was just hard to swallow. It’s hard to talk about the plot without creating spoilers, but I will say that there is a certain amount of acceptance of loose facts required to get through it. Frankly, there are parts of it that just don’t make sense.

So, yes. There it is.

About Alex Flinn

I grew up on a street called Salem Court. This probably influenced my interest in witches. When I was five, my mom said I should be an author. And when I was eight, I got my first rejection letter from Highlights Magazine.

I learned to read early. But I compensated for this early proficiency by absolutely refusing to read the programmed readers required by the school system — workbooks where you read the story, then answered the questions. When the other kids were on Book 20, I was on Book 1! My teacher, Mrs. Zeiser, told my mother, “Alexandra marches to her own drummer.” I don’t think that was supposed to be a compliment.

My family moved to Miami when I was in middle school. I had a really hard time making friends, so I spent a lot of time reading and writing then. By high school, I’d made some friends and gotten involved in various “gifted and talented” performing arts programs. I studied opera in college (I’m a coloratura — the really loud, high-pitched sopranos.) and then went to law school.

It was law school that probably helped with my first novel. Breathing Underwater deals with the serious and all-too-common problem of dating violence. I based the book on my experiences interning with the State Attorney’s Office and volunteering with battered women. I thought this was a really important topic, as 27 percent of teenage girls surveyed have been hit by a boyfriend. I’m happy that the book is so popular, and if you are reading this bio because the book was assigned for school, I’m happy about that too.

I think I write for young-adults because I never quite got over being one. In my mind, I am still 13-years-old, running laps on the athletic field, wearing this really baggy white gymsuit. I’m continually amazed at the idea that I have a checking account and a mortgage. So I try to write books that gymsuit girl might enjoy. It’s a way of going back to being thirteen . . . knowing what I know now.

Right now, I live half a mile away from my old middle school, in Palmetto Bay, a suburb of Miami, with my husband, daughters, dogs, and cats.

Rating Report
Overall: two-stars

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