Author: Sarah Cross
Publication Date: 4/10/12
Blurb: Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.
In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.
But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.
I really wish that I had just set this one aside and left it to its fans. At around 80%, I knew that it was absolutely not going to work for me. But there were moments leading up to that point where I was very intrigued. And 20% is so little to leave behind. And there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my head going, “but what if the ending swoops in and saves it all?”
The beginning of this book is so promising. Mira is an orphan, living with her godmothers in a small home with a ton of restrictions. She’s not allowed to drive or touch sharp objects of any kind and above all she’s not allowed to go back to Beau Rivage, the mysterious town where she was born. Her parents died in a horrible fire on her christening day, and her godmothers whisked her away. As the book opens, they fight over whether to make her 16th birthday dress blue or pink. Two guesses as to which fairy tale this is….
Mira doesn’t care about any of the restrictions, really, but she’s determined to get back to Beau Rivage. She has to know what happened to her parents and she yearns to see her birthplace. So, she spends months piecing together an elaborate and false online romance. She writes increasingly personal emails to a fake internet boyfriend, from a place far away from Beau Rivage. She leaves her godmothers a trail of breadcrumbs in the opposite direction and then makes a calculated run for her birthplace. This is the only intelligent and independent action she takes in the entire book.
When she gets to Beau Rivage, she meets Blue and his brother Felix. Blue is infuriating and impossible and immediately warns her away from his brother. But Felix is hot and rich and he installs her into his suite, so of course that means she’s “in love” with him in a matter of hours. Of course, Blue fascinates her too, with his blue hair and blue emo-soul. He writes poetry for his band; he flusters her; he has a heart-shaped birthmark on the small of his back; he smells of “metal and industrial strength styling products.” And of course, after a while she wants him too but she can’t have him, because he might KILL HER (by kissing her, but apparently flirty full-contact “tickle fights” are perfectly okay). No matter that his brother carries the same danger, because she loves his brother – his brother that she’s barely spent any time with.
Mira spends the rest of the novel either making wild assumptions based on little to no evidence, ignoring very obvious clues, or pining for a boy she barely knows while simultaneously angsting about poor maddening Blue and trodding all over the one love interest who is actually a kind person. She’s painfully, painfully naïve, spineless and incredibly easy to manipulate. She’s that heroine who shouts, “I don’t need your help!!!” like a toddler while simultaneously falling off a cliff. And her insistence on her own strength becomes even more ludicrous as the book progresses because she seriously doesn’t do a single thing for herself. Her parents? You know, the entire reason she came to Beau Rivage in the first place? Well, she’s content to sit back and let Felix take care of that. Even when he finds brand new information, she does nothing to act on it. Even at the very end, during the major climactic scene, she tells someone else to go after the love interest for her and just sits there, fretting as the clock runs down.
Perfect Musical Pairing
Emily Osment – Once Upon A Dream