Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Fair Godmother

When I started to see the buzz surrounding the release earlier this month of  My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison I knew I was going to want to read it.  I also knew that I should probably start with the book that introduced the fairy Chrissy Everstar to the world, and so I read My Fair Godmother first.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight.

My Fair Godmother is a light, fluffy, sweet read.  This is what I was expecting.  I wasn't expecting it to be quite so clever and funny.    And funny it was.  Laugh out loud funny. (Not the best thing to be reading while sitting by yourself in Panera.)

Savannah is not a completely sympathetic heroine.  Sure her boyfriend just dumped her for her older sister.  Sure she monumentally embarrasses herself in front of the entire track team.  Sure I felt sorry for her.  At the same time, she is a little irresponsible, consumed with appearance, is a social butterfly, and could care less about school.  She does need some help to find a date for prom though.   Chrissy her, fair godmother, comes to help and will see all her irresponsibility, shallowness, and apathy and raise it.  Savannah is Chrissy's extra 
credit project as some of her classes have not gone well.  Because she doesn't pay attention.  This trait lands Savannah in trouble time after time.

What all I liked about this novel:
  • The medieval time period that Savannah was sent back to for living out her fairy tales was surprisingly authentic.  Sure there was magic and everyone spoke modern English (which could be explained away by the magic).  There was no fairy tale sparkle put on the setting though.  It isn't a perfect representation of life in the middle ages by any  means, but it is far better than most books of this ilk.  Everything is dirty.  People smell (including Savannah, who does not get to take a bath as Cinderella).  
  • The way the author played with the Cinderella and Snow White stories, adding a good old fashioned quest tale to the mix was delightful.
  • I liked that Hunter and Jane, while hurting Savannah, were not portrayed as stereotypical "jerk" and "boyfriend thief" characters.  I found the way the relationships between the three of them evolved and resolved was realistic.
  • Tristan.  The one thing Chrissy got right.
  • I enjoyed watching Savannah come to recognize her strengths and weaknesses and how to use and overcome them. 
  • The clever wittiness had me rereading several passages over again.
The only thing about the book that struck me as off was Chrissy's voice.  Sometimes she sounded a little too wise for her character.  I couldn't tell if that was the author's voice coming through or if this was supposed to demonstrate how Chrissy is a lot like Savannah.  Whichever, her wisdom does not impress her teachers which is why she is back to mess up another teenager's life in My Unfair Godmother.  This time the shenanigans will involve Robin Hood and Rumpelstiltskin.  I can't wait to get my hands on it.

This book is one that will work well for middle grade readers who are ready to start into the world of more advanced YA literature.

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