Author: Alex Flinn.
I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all. It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission. There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys. (Summary from goodreads.)
While it was fun to notice all the fairy-tale references, especially the less-common ones, there were so many I felt they blended together. The book felt like stone stew, with everything hode-podged together until it was hard to keep track of the main conflict. The main character was something of a doofus, and didn’t notice what was right under his nose. I.e., it was clear from the beginning that the girl was falling for him, and it didn’t occur to him until right towards the end. And it was not fun to read through his practically drooling over the princess. She was pretty, he was a teen boy in secular literature, I suppose it was inevitable. The princess was as unclear as the rest of the book. At first she seems like a party girl, then she denies it and to back up her claim, shows an astonishing ability to play drunk without having touched a drink. Yet despite this one moment, she spends the rest of the book acting exactly what she is rumored to be.
One sentence summary: Everything but the kitchen sink in popular mythology comes together to befuddle and confuse a not-overly-intelligent main character in his quest for happiness.
Sexual content: Tabloid claims character slept with an alien. Character thinks (multiple times!) about how ‘hot’ he thinks a female character looks. Several kisses. Characters accidentally discover a boy in another character’s closet, and she claims to have been merely ‘having a fling with him’. One character offers to marry another.
Language: 3 exclamations of ‘oh God’, 1 scatological term
Violence: Swan is shot, recovers. Character is stung by a scorpion, recovers. Several giants fight, are knocked unconscious.