Flinn, Alex. Towering. Harperteen, Expect May 2013. 292p. Grades 7-10. Fairy tale/Realistic Fiction.
Never having read any of Alex Flinn’s other works, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Towering. I think it was really, really weird and overall I felt kind of ‘meh’ about it. However, I think the weirdness worked in a way and I can see this book having a following. It just wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea. I really like strong character development throughout a novel and it just wasn’t there for me in this book.
Towering is a modern retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale. Instead of an evil stepmother, you have a loving grandmother that really does want what’s best for her granddaughter. Rachel (our modern day Rapunzel) is locked away in a tower in the middle of the woods in upstate New York. She has never seen the outside world and only reads the classics. She sits all day wondering what it would be like outside her tower. Enter Wyatt. He is fleeing his own demons and comes to stay in a small town in upstate New York. Wyatt realizes there’s something different about this town, people keep disappearing. He is also the only person who can hear Rachel, and they can hear each other inside their heads. Kinda cute, kinda creepy/weird. Towering has a huge case of insta-love. Rachel and Wyatt say, “I love you.” by day two of knowing each other. This kind of insta-love in a modern retelling irks me. If it was set in fairytale world, I might have been more inclined to believe in it.
My biggest problem with this novel is the ending. It’s anticlimactic. The villains aren’t realistic at all. You don’t really get to know their motivations at all. It would have been nice to have read a little more about them. The only character who got any depth to them was Wyatt. Rachel doesn’t really have a personality. She is blah and doesn’t have any thoughts of her own. To compensate for the weirdness of the ending, it would have been beneficial to have more character development for someone who goes from never being outside of her tower to saving the town.
**Note I read an advanced readers copy of this book**