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Swain's depiction of the elf village Alverland, home to 15-year-old Zephyr before her family moves, is an idyllic community of people who live off the earth and are always kind. Thus it's a challenge for the gorgeous elf to make her way in modern-day Brooklyn, navigating traps set by mean girl Bella, not to mention learning how to send text messages. Her misunderstandings are funny at first but the joke gets old, and inconsistencies, such as why Zephyr has heard of the Keebler elves but not YouTube, distract. Bubbly Zephyr is appealingly earnest, but too naïve to be believed (she wants to "kick dandelion fluff or dance on the clover" when she's happy and doggedly believes Bella is kind, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary). Bella manipulates Zephyr into spilling secrets about her friends, resulting in Zephyr's friend Mercedes making public the secret that Zephyr kissed Bella's boyfriend. The route to a predictable happy ending involves a sick grandmother and Bella's realizing what it really means to be an elf-being kind to others and true to herself. Ages 12-up.
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Heather Swain lives in Brooklyn, New York.