Wolves and Roses

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Young Adult -

Christina Bauer, Mon­ster House Books (OC­TO­BER) Soft­cover $13.95 (292pp), 978-1-945723-07-0

Shape-shifters, fairy tales, wicked en­chant­ments, and—oh yeah—asthma in­halers. Br­yar Rose deals with su­per­nat­u­ral and to­tally nor­mal teenage stresses in Wolves And Roses: Fairy Tales of the Magi­co­rum. Packed with ur­ban fan­tasy tropes, the novel is fun, fa­mil­iar fare.

Br­yar Rose may as well have stepped out of a Mon­ster High doll set. Con­ven­tion­ally pretty, she’s in re­me­dial fairy-tale class. By now, her Step­ford­per­fect teacher re­minds her, she should be get­ting ready for her wed­ding to Prince Philpot. Never mind that Br­yar’s only seven­teen, has never re­ally been into kiss­ing, and could care less about ful­fill­ing her destiny as a Magi­co­rum.

Also in de­ten­tion: a goth witch in train­ing, a run­away Cin­derella, and a punk Red Rid­ing Hood. The char­ac­ters feel stereo­typ­i­cal, but as the plot picks up steam, Br­yar gets a chance to show what she’s re­ally made of.

Br­yar’s in­ter­est in An­cient Egyp­tian magic, writ­ten on pa­pyrus scrolls, draws her into a con­spir­acy that quickly takes her be­yond the bor­ing walls of West Lake Prep. A hand­some were­wolf named Knox is her guide as she works to un­ravel the mys­tery of who she re­ally is. Wolves and Roses veers into rom-com ter­ri­tory more than once, and its quick, snarky di­a­logue reads like tele­vi­sion one-lin­ers. How­ever, at its core, Wolves and Roses is a promis­ing first vol­ume in a pleas­antly dark bub­blegum series.

Christina Bauer, who’s found suc­cess with the best-sell­ing An­gel­bound series, fo­cuses on en­ter­tain­ing ac­tion, de­scrip­tive scenes, and easy-to-digest lessons about friend­ship, iden­tity, and self-es­teem. Wolves and Roses isn’t deep, but it’s frisky: a per­fect, fluffy book for girls who like a lit­tle dark magic with their pink lemon­ade.

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