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Dorothy Must Die



Dark, violent reimagining of Oz makes Dorothy evil dictator.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers familiar with the characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, will enjoy reading a darker side of the story and comparing the new version with what they know from the classic. 

Positive messages

Strong messages against bullying and about the importance of friendship and family, helping others in times of need, love, being smart and careful, thinking things through, and standing up for yourself and others. 

Positive role models

Readers see Amy Gumm grow from being an everyday high school student who struggles in school and his bullied, to being a heroine in a fairy-tale world. Amy's likable and funny. Although, her sarcasm does get her into trouble -- in school, with her mother, and eventually in Oz. But Amy's also someone who doesn't hold back. She's kind and caring, and helps out those in need. She feels strongly about the injustices in Oz. Even though she joins forces to take down Dorothy and restore Oz to it's former glory, she doesn't want to hurt anyone, including Dorothy. There are other positive role models in Dorothy Must Die, including talking and non-talking animals, and various residents of Oz who aid Amy in her mission.


There's a lot of violence in Dorothy Must Die, with blood and gore is described. There's a destructive tornado, a person melts, flying monkeys get their wings clipped, souls are eaten, a person's arms get taken off, people and animals are experimented on, a person's corpse is re-animated, an animal's crushed and stabbed. Amy's mission is to kill Dorothy. There's and-to-hand combat, fighting with weapons like knives. 


Mild flirting, a hug, and a kiss. 


"Bitch," "bitchy", "ass," "dumbass," "a--hole," "goddamn," "f--k," "s--t."  name calling includes "idiot," and "dumb." Amy, Dorothy, and a Munchkin swear.



Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Dorothy drinks an alcoholic drink. Amy's mother is an alcoholic. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dorothy Must Die is a darker version of Frank L. Baum's classic 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the 1933 movie teens are familiar with. Amy Gumm, a modern teen from Kansas, is swept up in a tornado and brought to Oz to be its new savior. Years ago, Dorothy returned to Oz and became obsessed with magic. The Lion, Tin Woodman, and Scarecrow are also twisted, monstrous versions of their former selves. Amy's mission is to kill Dorothy, and the book has a lot of violent scenes that are very descriptive. There's also fighting and hand-to-hand combat. Strong language includes "bitch" "ass," "a--hole," "s--t", "f--k," and "goddamn."

What's the story?

Amy Gumm (cleverly named after The Wizard of Oz actress Judy Garland's actual last name), is a teen who lives in Kansas with her alcoholic mother in a trailer park. One day, a destructive tornado sweeps through her town and takes Amy to Oz. A big fan of the classic children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, she's extremely surprised to find Oz really exists. She's also shocked to learn that Dorothy, the sweet farm girl from Kansas, has taken over Oz as a maniacal dictator and is obsessed with magic. Through her greed, she's destroyed Oz and is willing to hurt anyone who stands in her way. She's murderous, evil, and wicked, and so are her henchman -- the Lion, the Tin Woodman, and the Scarecrow. She's everything readers thought the Wicked Witch of the West was. But in Dorothy Must Die, wicked is good and good is wicked. Or is it? Amy joins forces with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to take down Dorothy once and for all. But all Amy really wants is to go home. And in Oz, Amy learns there's truly no place like home.

Is it any good?


DOROTHY MUST DIE is an extremely imaginative take on the classic children's story The Wizard of Oz. Once Amy steps into Oz, readers immediately see the Oz they know from the original book series and 1939 movie, then a new darker, twisted version emerges. There are monsters, swearing munchkins, an evil Dorothy, wizards and witches, talking animals, and more.

It's a fast-paced, exciting tale. However, the long section where Amy trains with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked drags a bit, leaving readers yearning for Amy to get back into the Emerald City. The novel ends on a huge cliffhanger, whetting readers' appetite for seeing Amy complete her mission: to take down Dorothy and her henchman.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about retellings of the Oz story. How do you think Dorothy Must Die compares with Frank L. Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz books, the movies The Wizard of Oz movie (1939) and Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), or the musicals Wicked and The Wiz

  • Why are we so fascinated with Oz and its characters? 

  • Dorothy Must Die has been optioned for a TV series on the CW network. It's being developed by the creators of the television series Heroes. Do you think you would watch it? 

Book details

Author:Danielle Paige
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters, Fairy tales, Great girl role models, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:April 1, 2014
Number of pages:464
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Teen, 15 years old Written byJflores14 November 24, 2014

Interesting spin on classic fairy tale is extremely dark

This new classic is perfect for teens who love both oz and wicked. Very original and violent. Content: Violence: lots of fights and tense situations. A girl is forced to squeeze a mouse until it's guts explode. A girl is eaten and mauled by a lion and her blood explodes on the onlookers. Graphic violence is common. Sex: a tender kiss and a guy spends the night in a girls room on occasion(no descriptions) Language: 2 uses of f**k. Multiple uses of s**t, a**, b*tch, crap, damn, hell, and bastard
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old November 3, 2014
I think that this book is pretty good and im in 6th grade and i am reading this book and i really like it and if ur a parent and ur concerned about ur kids reading innapropriate books my teacher gave me this book from her library. its young adult fiction and i think so far its a awesomesauce book ;)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byBobollyBee August 9, 2015
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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