A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, while there's nothing graphic, there is discussion of sex, virginity, first times, STDs, and other sexual content. There's also a bit of swearing, alcohol, and drugs. Strong, fluid, and respectful characters are an asset to this novel. Readers will root for the smart Aislinn -- and Seth, too -- as they tackle difficult decisions. This book has inspired sequels and an upcoming movie.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
All her life, Aislinn has been able to see faeries, and they are everywhere, invisible to mortals except for her. And these are not your average cute Disney pixies -- they are the same size as humans, and can be very nasty, especially to those mortals who can see them. To survive, Aislinn has had to learn to pretend not to see them, and to live behind steel walls, which keep them out. All Aislinn wants is to explore her growing relationship with Seth, finish high school, go to college, and lead a relatively normal life. But now she's being stalked by the faeries, especially one, Keenan, who is the Summer King and wants her for his Queen. Keenan is able to endure steel, and will have Aislinn whether she agrees or not -- if she doesn't, the power of his mother, the Winter Queen, will be unchecked, and winter will descend on the earth forever.
Is it any good?
Marr hits all the right notes -- strong characters, a bit of suspense, a tinge of horror and fantasy, and romance that's not laid on too thick -- all placed in a resolutely modern setting. Unlike so many novice authors, Marr is careful and nicely restrained. She doesn't feel she has to let loose with every idea she has ever had in some sort of pyrotechnical display that leaves the reader's head spinning. She keeps her story focused, which helps build the suspense and keeps the attention on the characters.
All of them, major and minor, are interestingly complex (except possibly Seth, who's a little too much like every teen girl's fantasy), and operating with mixed motives. There's even a nice bit for Niall, one of Keenan's advisers, who stays in the background for most of the book but steps forward near the end to talk Keenan back into his better self. The book is an assured piece of work from a newcomer to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mix of content here: This book has both fairies and discussions of sex, virginity, etc. What age do you think this book most appeals to? The author says that she made her own daughter wait until she was 13 to read it. Do you agree?
Why do you think fantasy novels are so popular with teens right now? What do you find appealing about them? How does this book compare with other fantasy novels you've read? Can you think of any common elements?
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