"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Unenchanted - An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, by Chanda Hahn


         Mina likes to think she's an average teen - except for the fact that she doesn't fit in at school, and unexpected occurrences of a Harry Potter nature keep happening to her.  And then comes the day when her mother explains to her that she is the descendant of the Brothers Grimm.  As if that weren't enough, Mina also learns that she is the sole heir of the family curse.  She must fight her way through modernized versions of fairy tales.  Once she's completed all the tales, the curse will be lifted.  Unfortunately, all her predecessors have been killed in the process.  But Mina is determined to beat the odds.

          I was excited to read this book because I was fascinated with the idea behind the plot.  I became less excited after I began the book and discovered how superficial the characters are.  Most of them read like caricatures of teenagers, which I don't appreciate in YA.

           Overuse of adverbs and excruciating attention to unnecessary details don't help the situation.  Nor do odd word choices that most Americans don't use in dialogue.  Character motivation is often unsteady, even within one scene.  Overall, the writing style is very juvenile and full of grammatical errors.  The book demonstrates the need for a good editor.

          I was most disturbed by the often stereotypical portrayal of Mina's Asian neighbors.  I think the author meant their accents to be funny, but the whole "Asian Speakee Engrish" thing has been a dead horse trope for decades now.  And it was never funny even when it was in vogue.  It's simply offensive and has no place in a YA book.  I was also bothered by the fact that the author includes in her bio her experience as a youth pastor, yet she has her characters taking the Lord's name in vain in text-speak.

          If you're looking for a good YA novel for your Christian teen to read, this isn't it, despite the youth pastor image the author tries to convey.  If you're a middle grades reader who is trying to transition into the longer chapter books, then this might be a good book for you to read.

          Two out of Five Stars