Rating: 3/5 stars (I reserve 4 and 5 stars for books that really struck me on a personal level or stuck with me in some deep way. This book was lots of fun but not, for me, super deep. I almost feel bad rating it only 3 stars, though, because it makes my feelings sound lukewarm. I wholeheartedly recommend Rallison as good solid fun, just not generally as particularly life-changing.)
Clean rating: G, totally G. Rallison tends to be that way. Super squeaky clean, which is something I love about her. I rarely have to worry that there’s anything offensive in her works.
Short summary: This is book 3 in a young adult series (but they are all stand-alone, just united by the same really lousy fairy godmother). Sadie has a horrifically embarrassing experience on a reality talent show, which earns her a pity fairy godmother and three wishes. Chrissy, her godmother, interprets her wishes in a predictably dreadful manner and sends Sadie to live in a fairy tale. It just gets worse from there.
Recommend it? Are you looking for something light and fluffy and fun? Also, can you tolerate painful embarrassment—as in, situations so dreadfully embarrassing, you cringe for the characters who are living through them? Do you think it would be fun living in a famous fairy tale? (You’re wrong, by the way.) Then this is good series for you to try.
Janette Rallison novels in general: In fact, especially if you enjoy the painfully embarrassing teenage scenes, I would recommend most of Janette Rallison’s novels. My favorite was Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, mostly because it had an absolutely fantastic, completely ruined staging of West Side Story. I would totally pay to see that performance. Just One Wish was also hilarious and one of my other favorites, while touching on more serious stuff than most of the others (the main character’s little brother has cancer). Mostly when I read Rallison, I think, “Wow, I’m glad my teenage years were not that horrendous.” But in a funny-painful way, not in a drama-angsty way.
What I liked: I enjoy the utter absurdity of Chrissy’s interactions with her charges and also how she interprets their wishes. I know I’ve already said the word “painful” several times, but that’s how it feels—painful the way that lots of people love America’s Funniest Home Videos (which I actually can’t stand; I prefer fictional emotional embarrassment to real physical pain). I also enjoy how Rallison addresses the inherent plot holes in our famous fairy tales—which I like to do as well—but in a very humorous way.
What didn’t work for me: I’m happy that Rallison has enough of a fan base that she makes money now independently publishing a lot of her books, but in this case I think she needed one more person to copyedit. There are just some minor things, and mostly they’re not distracting (well, except for one spot which was clearly marked as a sort of “to fix” item that didn’t get fixed). But to me they’re distracting, even though minor. Otherwise, I’m sure I could nitpick, but because it’s just a fun, fluffy novel, I’m not going to.
Last words: I really hope I never get Chrysanthemum Everstar as a fairy godmother. And if I do, I’m going to choose the wording of my wishes very, very carefully. I advise you to do the same.