I included Fairy Tale in this database after finding it on several young adult booklists for 2009 (see http://www.goodreads.com/list/book/3472820.Fairy_Tale). I also wanted to include a variety of supernatural creatures in order to provide an accurate cross section of the paranormal genre.
Author: Cyn Balog
ISBN-10: 0385737068 ISBN-13: 9780385737067
City and Publisher: New York: Delacorte Press
Copyright Date: 2009
Author’s Website: http://cynbalog.com/
Reader’s Advisory: Morgan Sparks is a very well adjusted high school student, mostly due to the stability of her relationship with her childhood sweetheart since they were in diapers, Cam Browne. When Cam starts acting strange a week before their sixteenth birthday, Morgan finds out that the fairies want him back.
Plot Summary: Morgan Sparks is comfortable in high school; she has a role as her high school’s fortuneteller and a boyfriend and (best friend since birth), Cameron Browne. Cam is a perfect, star-quarterback, can-do-anything kind of guy. When a stranger shows up at his house, accompanied by a pink floating blob that looks kind of like hair gel, Cam starts to change. Morgan finds out Cam is really a fairy, switched with Pip, the Browne’s real son, at birth. Cam is destined to return to the fairy world and be their king, and Morgan must figure out a way to stop his fate and keep him at her side.
Critical Evaluation: Fairy Tale is believably written in Morgan’s first person voice. Her feelings for Cam and the increasing weirdness of their situation allow the reader great empathy with her. The plot is a little problematic. Themes of destiny and choice are interwoven throughout. When Pip, the boy that was meant to live Cam’s life, shows up, a magic spell makes everyone believe he has been living Cam’s life all along and entangles Morgan’s feelings. But as she comes to love Pip, the book makes it clear that love is not something the spell can create. However the reader can’t help but be uncomfortable as Morgan exchanges one boy for the other, especially as her relationship with Cam was so well developed and the things she loves about Pip are so similar to what she loves in Cam.
Fairy Tale is a good book for teens interested in fairies, but not an excellent one. Although the mythology is there, the book takes place entirely in the real world. Only two characters are actually fairies.
Reading Level/Interest Age: 12 and up
Curriculum Ties: Fairy Tale has elements of the folk story Tam Lin, wherein a human woman must hold onto her lover as fairies try to drag him back to their realm. This modern version (with an entirely different ending), could be included in a class on folk tales or traditional fantasy.
Booktalking Ideas: Bring in a snippet of traditional recording of Tam Lin which mixes into Third Eye Blind’s Never Let You Go and play it before you give a short summary of Fairy Tale as a modern version of an old love story.
Beasties and Supernatural Elements: Fairies, Psychic Powers (Fortune Telling)
Influences from Other Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy
Challenge Issues: Fairy Tale is fairly non controversial, aside from the supernatural elements present in all books in the paranormal genre. Morgan’s switching of affections from one boy to the other does feel a little icky, but it is not offensive.
About the Author: Cyn Balog has a degree in communications. She worked in a number of different jobs and industries before selling her first book, Fairy Tale, in 2007. She has sold two more books, which will be released in 2010 and 2011 (more details at http://cynbalog.com/about/).