29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Snow White with a Head on her Shoulders,
This review is from: Fairest (Hardcover)
Aza is so ugly that she was abandoned as a baby. Fortunately, the innkeepers who found her on their doorstep took her in as their daughter. Teasing and stares aside, she has grown into a beloved member of her family.
Aza's life changes when a special talent catches the new queen's eye. Asked to be the queen's lady-in-waiting, Aza is thrilled--until she learns the price she must pay. Trapped in a deal she dare not break, Aza will face love and danger, and a chance to gain the beauty she always wished she had. In order to find her way, Aza will risk everything she has, and more.
Levine has created a fresh interpretation to the Snow White story. Set in the world of ELLA ENCHANTED, FAIREST introduces us to a young heroine who is forced to rely on her talents and wit where other girls would use their pretty faces. Aza is strong, yet fallible, as she embarks on an adventure beyond anything she ever imagined. Her character is wonderfully realized within Levine's vivid world.
FAIREST provides girls and young women a strong message of self-worth. As they say, beauty is skin (or voice) deep. It is a person's character that counts, and girls are perfectly capable of handling their own problems--or accepting help when they need it. Aza does both in this story. She learns to stand up for herself and what's right, but she also finds out when it's wise to let others help.
As great as this novel is, the ending is wrapped up a little too neat. The villain of the story doesn't seem to get the sort of punishment that they seem to deserve, although this is an issue discussed at one point. Some other loose ends are left dangling at the end of the book, but perhaps this is a lead-in to more modern fairy tales.
I highly recommend this book for girls aged eight and up. In a world where "thin is in" and looks count, this is a super way to reinforce the importance of valuing the individual. Everyone has something special to offer, as long as we're willing to get to know them.
Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer