Review Blog

Aug 31 2015

The Rapunzel dilemma by Jennifer Kloester

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Penguin Books, 2014. ISBN 9780143571087
(Ages: 12+) Modern interpretations of familiar fairy tales can be fascinating to read. I recall those of Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine - cleverly told with a touch of something magical, which stays with the reader long after the story has been read. Jennifer Kloester's modern day version of Rapunzel (a companion novel to The Cinderella Moment) lacks the skilled approach, which brings the fairy tale to the fore. Rich girl, Lily, longs to join the London Drama Academy, and when successful for a trial period, meets fellow students who do not believe that she has been granted a place entirely due to her talents. Ronan Carver, a talented but mysterious art student, seems to understand her. They begin meeting in the old tower room, which was previously providing a haven for her. Now her world is split between her drama studies and her love for Ronan, and real life is very different from being on stage. The author is said to have been inspired by the stories of Georgette Heyer - but I can't help thinking that the influence of other historical romances has made this novel rather light and silly, relying heavily on teenage angst and envy. The Rapunzel Dilemma is readable and gives some insight to life in a competitive world for aspiring youngsters but it lacks a strong and contemporary storyline.
Julie Wells

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