Monday, February 25, 2013


Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review. We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors!

This month's Book Pick is ENTWINED by Heather Dixon. (She gets bonus points for the most adorable website EVER.)
Entwined by Heather Dixon cover
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

First Line: "An hour before Azalea's first ball began, she paced the bedroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz."

This is a great first line. In very few words, it introduces us to the main character, gives us an idea of her age ("her first ball" would seem to indicate she's on the verge of womanhood), and lets us know that dancing is going to be important in the book.

Highlights: ENTWINED is an imaginative retelling of the Grimm fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." I must confess to never being a particular fan of the original story, but this book had me hooked from the very beginning. Heather Dixon's writing is fluid and easy to read.

The villain is wonderfully creepy. Azalea's initial infatuation with him makes sense--but the reader is right there with her as she starts to realize everything is not as it seems, and by the end of the book, we're just as freaked out by him as she is.

And isn't the cover gorgeous? I know we're not supposed to judge... but I have to admit, I saw this book in a bookstore and had to have it, before I'd so much as opened it.

Notes for Writers: I was especially impressed by how the author handled the romance in this book. The romantic subplots for the older girls are done exactly right--I really believed in each, and they felt organic and real.

Dixon also uses a clever method to help keep the girls straight: each of the twelve is named after a flower, and they are in alphabetical order from oldest to youngest. This ensures the reader isn't overwhelmed by the sheer number of main characters.

A Good Read For: Fans of fairy-tale retellings, and writers who want to see romance and villainy done extremely well.

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