Fairest by: Gail Carson Levine

Published: 2006

# of pages: 326

Quote: "I gave her Mother's voice, bell-like and clear as mountain air." -Aza p.108

Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, has performed another excellent job with her novel Fairest. I was so impressed at how unique and original this story was, even though it is an adaptation of the fairytale of Snow White. Although Levine does borrow from Snow White, she incorporates the traditional fairytale into her own story in subtle ways.

Aza, an innkeeper's daughter, considers herself ugly and has a strong desire to be as beautiful as the other women in the kingdom she lives in. Circumstances suddenly allow her to experience life in the royal castle, which means meeting the prince and falling into the middle of the queen's schemes and deceptions. She also encounters a magic mirror which will change her life in even more drastic ways.

This book was obviously written for young adults, but I was able to overlook the simple prose because of the intriguing storyline. Also, Levine does include some advanced vocabulary throughout the novel. It makes me happy that she doesn't dumb down her choice of words for the readers. It contains many important lessons, including the reminder than outward appearances aren't what really matters in life. I recommend this to fairytale lovers, readers who enjoyed Ella Enchanted (that book is briefly referred to in Fairest), and all young adults. When I have children, this will definitely be on their bookshelves!

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