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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales)* by Maureen McGowan- young adult book review
Also by Maureen McGowan:

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales)
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales)
by Maureen McGowan
Ages 12+ 320 pages Silver Dolphin Books April 2011 Paperback    

Did that story about the princess sleeping for a hundred years ever strike you as… pointless? Sure, the bad fairy was hurt that she didn’t get invited to the big party at the palace, but how did sending the kingdom to snoozeland make it better? What sort of curse is that?

Thanks to author Maureen McGowan, we now know the rest of the story. Natasha wasn’t just a fairy with a bad attitude – she was a vampire! It starts to make sense, doesn’t it? Vampires only come out at night, and with a whole kingdom of potential blood donors sound asleep, Natasha and her minions can feast all they want.

Smarter than she seems in the old version of the Sleeping Beauty tale, Natasha also gets her revenge for the missing party invitation by specifying that, while everyone else in the kingdom of Xandra will sleep soundly from nightfall to dawn, the lovely little princess Lucette will sleep during the daylight hours. Once the curse takes hold in Lucette’s sixteenth year when she pricks her finger, she will forever be kept from her adoring parents.

The over-protective King Stefan tries every way he can think of to save his daughter, even insisting that she wear leather gloves 24/7 to avoid the injury that will set the curse in motion. Frankly, King Stefan lives in a world of denial. He can no more save his daughter from the inevitable curse than he can stop her from growing up and becoming a strong young lady with a mind of her own.

Luckily, Lucette was born with a sense of duty and compassion. Even before she learns of Natasha’s curse, Lucette decides that she will be a vampire slayer. Despite the guards and gloves and constant scrutiny of her father, she manages to develop her skills as a fighter and eventually becomes quite the force to be reckoned with. If only she hadn’t removed those gloves in order to use the slayer’s most powerful weapon – the wooden stake - more efficiently.

Lucette is tough, there’s no question about it. But alone in the night, with all her allies snoring, not even Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer can defeat a hoard of bloodsuckers… at least, not without some help from outside forces.

McGowan’s interactive novel allows readers to make Lucette’s choices for her at four critical junctures. We all think we know best and that we’d make wiser decisions than these silly fictional characters, right? Here’s the chance to find out. There are eight possible outcomes in this one book, so essentially the reader gets to create her own story. But can we really change the path of Lucette’s destiny? Or are we as helpless against the forces of fate as King Stefan?

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is a masterpiece of structure and story, and Maureen McGowan is to be applauded for her attention to detail and possibility. Although the books are aimed at a young adult audience, they are sophisticated tales that engage readers of all ages. This is a series that is both original and creative, and so full of potential that fans will be clamoring for more and more and more.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Deborah Adams/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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