Entwined by Heather Dixon

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Title & Author: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books/2011

Source: Amazon

Format: Kindle eBook

Other Books by Author: Illusionarium, Perchance to Dream: Classic Tales from the Bard’s World in New Skins

My Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Oh my goodness, let me start this review off by saying I freaking LOVED this book. This is my first ever fairy tale retelling I’ve read and I am so, so, sooo happy it was my first as well. With fairy tell retellings being on the rise lately, I kind of turned my nose up at them and didn’t think I’d be interested. I was participating in a challenge on Goodreads where the one option was to choose a retelling based off of a fairy tale, myth or legend. I knew I didn’t want to read the same ones everyone else had been reading (and even raving about lately) so I looked up lists on Goodreads and that is where I came across Entwined. Before finding Entwined I had never even heard of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which made this is ideal book for what I was looking for.

I was immediately sucked into Entwined. I loved the characters, the storyline, the setting. To put it short, I loved absolutely everything about this book. I don’t even know where to start with it. Overall it took me 2-3 days to finish during the work week and I spent a majority of my free time outside of school work reading. I loved the main character Azalea. She was such a strong, independent female lead character. Her sisters were just as amazing as she was and I would love to see sequels written for some of them. The whole palace and it’s garden and the silver forest was described in such detail it seemed magical.

As for the storyline, I feel like I can’t say too much without giving spoilers away. I thought the storyline did an excellent job retelling and extending the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It had romance thrown into it, along with some magic/supernatural moments and quite the action packed ending. The girls love of dancing was clear throughout the novel and their will to continue dancing although they were in their year of mourning showed how determined they were to continue doing what they and their mother loved.

I honestly would recommend anyone looking for a new book to get lost into to read Entwined. Don’t pass it by because it’s a retelling. If I had done that to Entwined, as I had done to so many other retellings, I would have missed out on an amazing book which is now definitely on my favorites shelf. If you love fairy tales, then there is no doubt you will fall in love with Entwined like I did.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

I know practically everyone says, don’t judge a book by it cover, yet I feel like we all still do it. I will be the first to admit that 9 times out of 10 I pick up a book or click on a book online because I like it’s cover. From there though, the summary is the ultimate deciding factor if I will actually read the book or not. Belzhar was included.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Expected Publication: September 30, 2014

How I Acquired This Book: ARC Tour

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If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

(Summary from Goodreads)

The first few times I scrolled past Belzhar on both Goodreads and Edelweiss, I never once clicked on the title to find out more about this book. At first glance the title made it seem like it would be a strange book and the cover itself didn’t grab my attention. Thank goodness I finally clicked on  it (after seeing it pop up several times) because Belzhar was absolutely, without a doubt amazing. It took me a few hours to read this book from cover to cover. It was so much better than I ever could have expected. I’ve called other books I have read and reviewed original before, which they were, but I feel that Belzhar was original on a completely different level. First, it dealt lightly with some difficult topics that a lot of teens in our society go through everyday/year. Second, the added “magic” I guess you could call it just took the story so much further.

I enjoyed that although the book was focused around one main character, Jam, the reader got to know the other four students in the Special Topics in English class as well. We were able to learn all of their stories and knew them as well as we did Jam. Out of all the characters in the book, there were only two I did not like. One was a very minor character, while the other was pretty important but my dislike was not present until some of the final chapters. The rest of the characters I fell in love with. I loved seeing them open up to the other students and deal with their pasts with the help of their journals. When beginning this book, I have no idea the power of these journals that each student had.

It’s hard to go into too much detail without giving anything away. There are a few surprising moments throughout the book and it will have you unable to put the book down. I really, really love Belzhar and cannot wait to buy my own copy when it is published later this month. I am also really hoping that the author writes a sequel to follow up with the students during their winter break and spring semester. In a way the ending was left open where a sequel could definitely be possible, but at the moment I do feel like this was written as a standalone novel. I cannot wait to see what other young adult books Meg Wolitzer writes in the future.