Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Review: Never After

I started this week determined to have a good one, and so far, it isn't so bad. I mean, we're two days in so I don't want to get cocky, but it isn't so bad. It IS ridiculously cold where I am so I am completely over winter and wishing for spring and summer, though. Guess what I have for you today? A book review! I'm sure you aren't at all surprised, but this one is another fun one from this author, who brought us The Descendents, so you know this is bound to be good. 

Never After - Melissa De La Cruz

Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho's sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there's no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.

Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent--he's real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!

Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more. 
I am here for this turning into a series because too many fantastical things were introduced in here that it would be a dang shame to leave it to just one book! If you are in the market for a solidly middle grade book, which no shame if you're an adult who loves them because sometimes we just need something that doesn't crush our souls or make us think too much. 

Filomena is the little book nerd in all of us, over the top excited for the newest installment of her favorite series, and is crushed when she finds out it doesn't exist because her favorite author died years ago. 

Frankly, I think we've all felt the grief of a beloved author who just up and dies on us. Also, I think we all can agree that our first (or maybe second) thought is always, "Is there one last book?!" because that is just who we are. We want the next book. 

What makes this day less of a bummer is she discovers that she is being stalked by a boy named Jack, who swears he's the actual hero from the books because the books are real and she is the one to save it all. (Side note: if Edward Cullen followed me, saying the same thing, I think we all know that I would do an abrupt about face, ditch my life, and skip along with him knowing I'll probably die at the hands of vampires but you only live once, am I right?). 

You know what I loved about this? Filomena is the girl I wish I was in middle school. She's brave when she needs to be, even when she doubts herself. She has insecurities but she's a strong female hero that is a perfect character for young girls (and boys) to read about. Even better? She has a normal family, she's a good kid, she has nice/normal parents that she gets along with, she's willing to learn from her mistakes, and she recognizes the strength in others. 

As an adult reading this I recognized a lot of classical characters from nursery rhymes, which kids will make the fun connections with. I loved that amazing creatures are included in this story, making way for future fantasy readers. (I am a firm believer that every kid can grow up to be a reader if we take the time to introduce them to different genres, and this book is a great way to do just that.)

My only complaint is that I solved the mystery almost immediately. It sounds ridiculous to even list that as a complaint, so feel free to ignore me, because I am an adult so I'm obviously better at you know, solving crime and such. Do I think it will be lame for a kid to read it? No, not at all, I think they'll enjoy picking up the clues and trying to piece it together for themselves. 

Overall, I'm giving this one a solid 4 stars. If you're a fan of Melissa De La Cruz, you'll recognize her writing style and imagination, definitely a fun book to have in a school library or classroom, but also in your home library. I'm excited to see what will come next! 

Thank you to Roaring Book Press for sending me a copy for review, this was a fun, quick read. 

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Why Girls Are Weird said...

This isn't usually my type of book but it sounds good!

It's freezing here too, and we're dealing with possibly frozen pipes, which is fun. Is winter over yet?

Shooting Stars Mag said...

We are getting SO MUCH SNOW. Which is nice. But I will be happy to have warm weather again and I can sit outside. hah

This sounds SO GOOD. I love middle grade books. How fun there are various nursery rhyme characters that you recognize, etc. That's a fun addition.