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Cloaked Hardcover – February 8, 2011

109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-9-Flinn reimagines a fairy-tale world in her latest novel. Teenaged Johnny works as a cobbler in his mother's shoe repair shop in a posh hotel in South Beach. He spends his days with his friend Meg and designs his own line of shoes while dreaming of wealth to free his family from the confines of poverty. Unexpectedly, the striking Princess Victoriana of Aloria comes to the swanky Miami hotel for a royal visit. The super-hot partying princess pleads for Johnny's help in finding her missing brother, and offers of money and a royal marriage convince him to take her seriously-even when she explains that the prince has been turned into a frog. With the aid of a magical cloak and some headphones that allow him to hear animals speak, Johnny embarks on a journey wherein he encounters talking swans, a fox named Todd, and two angry giants. When he lands in hot water with an evil witch bent on destroying him, Meg comes to his rescue. The pair journey from South Beach to Key West, to Europe, and to Manhattan; and in the end, Johnny finds wealth, fame, and true love. Flinn cleverly plays on some lesser-known fairy tales to make this book a fun, romantic adventure with likable characters. Rapid action and amusing situations make it a quick read that will easily entice even reluctant readers.-Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

A princess, a cobbler, a witch, and modern-day South Beach mash up in Flinn�s latest fairy-tale retelling. Johnny works tirelessly in a luxury hotel�s shoe-repair shop, dreaming of becoming a high-end shoe designer. He sees an opportunity to get his shoes on famous feet when a hard-partying European princess moves in. Victoriana notices Johnny, too, and thinks he is just the one to find her brother, Prince Philippe, who was turned into a frog as blackmail for Victoriana�s hand in marriage. She gives Johnny a fistful of cash, a transporting cloak, and an earpiece that allows him to understand animals that used to be human, which are a lot more plentiful in Florida than he ever imagined. Instead of a well-known classic, several lesser-known tales combine here to give the book a nice blend of the familiar (the frog who needs a kiss to transform) and the novel (how will a puny kid best two giants?). Readers will keep turning pages to figure out just how many transmogrifications Johnny can resolve, and whose dreams will come true. Grades 6-10. --Heather Booth

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060874228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060874223
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #950,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alex Flinn was born in Syosset, New York. She learned to read at three and wanted to be a writer at five. She received her first rejection letter (from Highlights magazine) at eight. At twelve, her family moved to Miami, Florida, where she had a really hard time making friends, due to congenital shyness and a really bad haircut. So she read a lot and tried to write a novel but never finished because she had no idea what to write about.

Flinn attended a performing arts high school program, similar to that portrayed in her book, Diva, then majored in vocal performance in college. Panicked upon realizing that there weren't a whole lot of jobs for opera singers, Flinn went to law school.

Law school was, it turns out a really good place to learn to write for teenagers. Writing for teens and writing for judges are very similar because both judges and teens have a lot of demands on their time and minimal time for reading. Also, Flinn interned at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, trying many domestic violence cases, which were later the inspiration for her first novel, Breathing Underwater.

Breathing Underwater was published in 2001. It received many honors, including being chosen a Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. It was followed by Breaking Point, Nothing to Lose, Fade to Black, Diva, and Beastly. Beastly is soon to be released as a motion picture. Her newest book is A Kiss in Time, a modern Sleeping Beauty.

Flinn still lives in Miami with her husband, two daughters, a dog, cat, and African Spur-Thighed Tortoise. She enjoys performing arts, biking, and travel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By sarah on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you are familiar with Alex Flinn's work, you are already aware of the fantastic, whimsical feel of her stories. Like in her debut novel Beastly, with Cloaked, Flinn crafts a charming, magical story that will delight young readers, as well those as who are simply young at heart.

The thing you have to remember about Flinn's work is that is it is not meant to be taken completely seriously - it has an airy quality that lends itself to her magical storylines. Cloaked is a "modern fairy-tale mash-up" that is about an unlikely hero, Johnny. Johnny is a seventeen-year-old boy who works at his family business, repairing shoes. He is feeling down on himself, because he feels his life is going nowhere, when a beautiful Princess from a foreign land enlists him to help find her "bruzzer" (Princess speak for Brother). Johnny is soon swept up in' a whirlwind adventure that had him traveling to globe and running for his life.

You follow Johnny, accompanied by his best friend Meg, as he takes on his dangerous quest. There are talking animals, a magic teleporting cloak, scary bikers, crazy witches and two terrifying giants. Johnny is an interesting character who I found to be incredibly humorous. He could be a bit slow on the uptake though - sometimes I found myself in awe of his cluelessness (I don't know if that's a word, but it is now); especially when it comes to girls. But overall, it is easy to root for Johnny, everyone loves the underdog.

I feel like Cloaked was a great read, for the type of book it was meant to be. Like I said before - it's not a serious book; it is meant to be light, entertaining and whimsical. If you look at it under a microscope, I am sure you would find flaws. Often times plot advances aren't exactly logical - but they aren't suppose to be.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kate McMurry TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Seventeen-year-old Johnny has worked hard for years to help his mother keep their family shoe-repair shop afloat since the day his father mysteriously disappeared when Johnny was a young boy. Even though the shop is associated with a ritzy South Beach hotel, it doesn't make much money in the summer off-season, and Johnny and his mom have to choose between paying the electricity bill for their apartment or paying the rent. Johnny would far rather be creating designer shoes for the wealthy than repairing shoes they already own, but he's afraid the rest of his life he'll be stuck in his dead-end job, because his mother needs him and he can't desert her.

Then suddenly one day, a real, live princess shows up at the hotel, and she changes Johnny's life forever. A witch's curse has transformed her brother into a frog, and only a good, kind, loyal boy like Johnny can save him. With the aid of a magic cloak that can transport him anywhere he needs to go, and the advice of various magical animals that were once human, Johnny sets out on a wild adventure with the promise of a $10,000 reward from the princess and her hand in marriage if he rescues the frog prince.

I discovered this author the way thousands of people are these days, because her book Beastly has been made into a movie, which I am very much looking forward to seeing. I read and enjoyed that book, which is a contemporary, fairy-tale retelling. This book is, too, but it goes a step farther. Rather than dealing with only one fairy tale, it is a "modern fairy-tale mash-up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Looking for some light and fun reading, I was steered towards YA fiction author Alex Flinn and ended up enjoying her modernized tweaks on fairy tale classics like "The Beauty and the Beast" and "Sleeping Beauty" (BEASTLY and A KISS IN TIME, respectively). CLOAKED, her newest fairy tale fracturing, is more of the same. Or maybe a bit less. More on that in a bit.

Johnny Marco is an impoverished teenager living in sunny, spring breaky South Beach, which is how you can tell that fate or the gods have it in for you. Johnny knows he's so poor he'll never go to college, knows he's stuck working in the family shoe repair shop ensconced in a posh Miami hotel. The kid's dad had done a bunk years ago, leaving his struggling mom to raise him. Johnny dreams of designing the most swanky of footwear - and, no, he's not light in the loafers - but he realizes how far-fetched the daydream.

His world gets topsy-turvied when, out of the blue, a stunning princess implores him to undertake a quest, to find her brother who'd been abducted and transformed into a frog. In exchange, the princess vows to marry him, cure him of poverty. Once Johnny accepts the fact that magic really does exist (this is amply demonstrated to Johnny) he eagerly champions the cause. To help him, the princess gives him a wad of cash, a teleporting cloak, and earbuds which allow him to speak with animals who were once humans. Johnny's best friend, Meg - and right here wheels should be spinning in your head - also gives him a gift, an opal ring which she tells him to put on should he get in trouble because it'll bring him luck. And off Johnny goes.

It is what it is. Fluffy and lite, CLOAKED was enjoyable but I wasn't so immersed into the author's world-building.
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