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I Belong


Early Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

StrayTitle: Stray

Author: Elissa Sussman

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062274554 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062274557 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

“I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.”

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

Quick & Dirty: Stray is an enchanting original fairy tale that will completely captivate you.  It surprisingly covers a lot of realistic issues in a fun and interesting way. I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite like this before!

Opening Sentence: Aislynn’s hands were bleeding.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Princess Aislynn has never really felt like she was good enough. She is a princess so she figured she would grow up to be graceful, beautiful, and the curse would never be a problem, but that’s not what happened. There is magic inside her that is always fighting to get out and she doesn’t always have the purest thoughts. Girls that don’t learn to control their abilities are much more likely to stray from the sacred path that has been put in place to protect everyone.

All girls of noble birth are introduced to society at the age of 16 and if they aren’t married by the time they turn 17 they are sent to become fairy godmother’s to other noble girls. It is finally Aislynn’s 16th birthday and she couldn’t be happier to be introduced to society. But something terrible goes wrong at her ball and instead of meeting prince charming she is shipped off to become a fairy godmother. She is assigned to Princess Linnea, an orphaned girl that has had a rough childhood. As they get to know each other Aislynn comes to realize that she wasn’t as different as she thought and that maybe magic isn’t such a bad thing. There is so much Aislynn doesn’t understand, but she knows that there are people out there that will do anything to make sure she doesn’t stray!

Aislynn is a very interesting character to get to know. She has some wonderful traits but at the same time lots of flaws as well. She is a very caring person and she is always trying to do the right thing, but at the same time because she is so naïve she makes a lot of mistakes. In a lot of ways this was really a coming of age story and I enjoyed watching Aislynn grow into a woman. Even though she started out as a shy girl that was easily influenced, she quickly learned that if she wanted to be happy she was going to have to pave her own path. She was a very easy character to like and connect with.

I adored Thackery and he was probably my favorite part of the story. He is sweet, clever, brave, and stubborn. Pretty much from the first moment I met him I was completely taken with him. To be perfectly honest there isn’t really a lot of romance in the story but there is just enough to make you want more. Their relationship developed slowly and it was done so perfectly. For the most part, Thackery is a pretty minor character in the story, but I am hoping that we will get to see him a lot more in the next book.

Stray is a beautiful dark fairy tale that completely captivated me. To be totally honest, there were parts of the story that dragged and some things were a little confusing. So it obviously wasn’t perfect, but I found that its flaws were easy to overlook because the story was so intriguing. I loved the characters, they were engaging and easy to connect with. The idea was very unique and I can honestly say I haven’t ever read anything quite like this before. It did start out a little slow but it caught my interest enough that I wanted to keep reading and I found that my interest never wavered throughout the story. The ending was pretty abrupt and I am glad that there is going to be another book because I still have lots of unanswered questions. I wouldn’t say that this book is for everyone, but if you like fairy tales or want a unique young adult book, I would recommend you give this one a try!

Notable Scene:

Madame Moira held the glass jar aloft. Inside was a glowing orb, pulsing and blinking like a firefly. Its bright blue light filled the room. The headmistress quickly sealed the jar and, with a ring of keys, unlocked one of the doors in the wall. She placed the jar inside, the glowing thing that had once been a part of Aislynn swiftly locked away.

Aislynn waited for pain. She waited for a sense of loss, of unfathomable sadness, but nothing came. She felt the same. Had it worked? She glanced over at the apple on the headmistress’s desk. The heat that had been there earlier when she had thought about Thackery was gone. She thought about Everett too, and there was no twinge, no ache. Her heart beat steadily on, no longer stopping at the thought of him.

It felt wonderful.

FTC Advisory: Greenwillow/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Stray.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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