Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

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Genre: Fantasy

Young Adult Library Services Association 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults pick

I really wanted to love this book. Enchanted is a fairy tale in its purest form, making no mistake about it setting, a world in which fairy tales are true and magic is an everyday occurrence.

Enchanted is the story of Sunday Woodcutter, a young girl who has grown up in a family at the center of all fairy tales. Sundays sisters area all stars of familiar fairy tales and her family, while of simple origins, is at the center of the kingdoms stories and legends.

Each of the seven daughters has a gift, and Sunday’s is a gift for writing. She soon finds herself at the center of her own fairy tale when she meets a talking frog – a man who has been enchanted – in the woods near her home.

Enchanted has glowing reviews, but I found it a frustrating read. Reading the author’s notes makes it clear that the story was a challenge to herself to combine as many fairy tales as she possibly could, and I can’t call her experiment a success. The story raises questions and mysteries it never fully resolves, leaves stories half told, jumps around, and moves at an odd pace – for example, Sunday fall in love with her frog prince in something like two days, with very little justification or provocation, and the Woodcutter family’s hatred of said prince is illogical and never fully explained or justified. The story of Sunday’s brother Jack is frustratingly choppy, and the king’s story is just plain odd. To name a few issues off the top of my head.

The book does have a certain appeal, chock full as it is of magic, fairies, balls, beauty and romance. It will probably appeal to young, female fantasy lovers, but I can’t recommend its story. It’s also worth noting that I discovered after reading that it is, of course, the first in a series of books about the Woodcutter daughters, so perhaps the story comes together more as the series progresses.

Teaching resources:

Author’s website: http://aletheakontis.com/

Alethea Kontis’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Thieftess 

Alethea Kontis’s podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/princess-aletheas-fairy-tale/id421140242

Sur La Lune Fairy Tale Database: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/

Sample essay prompts based on past MCAS Exam essay prompts:

1. Often in works of literature, a character encounters a situation that requires courage. Select a character from Enchanted who encounters a situation that requires courage. In a well-developed composition, identify the character, describe how the character reacts to the situation that requires courage, and explain how the character’s actions are important to the work as a whole.

2. Often in works of literature, a character develops a friendship with or feelings of love for someone of whom others disapprove. Select a character from Enchanted who develops a friendship with or feelings of love for someone of whom others disapprove. In a well-developed composition, identify the character, describe the character’s relationship, and explain how the relationship relates to the work as a whole.

3. Often in works of literature, something positive can emerge from a difficult situation. In a well-developed composition, describe a difficult situation from Enchanted, and explain how something positive emerges from it.

Please leave questions, comments, book review requests, etc. below!


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