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What Danielle Did Next

A YA and NA book review blog

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Towering - Alex Flinn I'm a huge fan of re-tellings of fairytales, and there's been a real spate of them lately.  I've read some really good ones but unfortunately Towering by Alex Flinn was not one of them.I hadn't read Alex Flinn before but had heard great things about her previous novels in particular Beastly and Rapunzel is a favourite fairy tale so great combo right? Ugh wrong. I knew that bringing a fairytale into a modern setting was going to be problematic but I was staggered by how disjointed this book was.The book is told from three points of view - Wyatt, a young guy who moves to live with his mom's dead best friend's mother to get some distance from a tragedy in his life, Rachel, the Rapunzel character, who lives in a tower and is taken care of by a mysterious character called "Mama" and has special healing powers and amazing hair and Danielle, the dead best friend of Wyatt's mom whom we learn about through her diary entries.Gosh, I actually find this review hard to write as I think back and realise just how bad it was and I really should have DNF'd it. I don't think I've come across a book less enjoyable. The characters were so one dimensional and the plot line bordered on ridiculous that you couldn't actually use the fairytale aspect as an excuse because that would be an insult to fairytales. I'm going to go through each POV to explain what I mean because it's unfair and unbalanced to just rant. (although I'll probably end up doing that anyway)Wyatt moves to a new town to stay with Mrs. Whatshername (Danielle's mother, I can't remember her name) after his best friend dies. That was actually the only moment that Wyatt behaved like a well rounded human being when he told the story of how it happened...anyway - He moves, is picked up by a neighbour and dropped off at Mrs.WHN's house in the middle of the night.Great hostess that she is, she doesn't come out to meet him so he wanders in and finds a bedroom and promptly starts rooting through all the personal belongings in what turns out to be Danielle's room and reads her diary. Then the ghost of Danielle appears, does a Cathy from Wuthering Heights spiel and freaks poor Wyatt out.Mrs.WHN shows up, screams at him and hauls him out of the room and tells him to sleep elsewhere. The next morning, all is well and Mrs.WHN is all sweetness and light and all "Hey, you want to watch Star Trek?" which she does for the whole book and Wyatt is all "Hey, thanks for losing your shit at me last night but yeah lets watch Star Trek and put your creepy daughter's appearance down to a dream..."Wyatt spends the next few interminable chapters reading Danielle's diary (who's actually the coolest character in the book despite being a bit of a gullible idiot) and trying to figure out her disappearance, we'll touch on that in Dani's section of this rant/review. As a character - Wyatt was just blah, he had zero personality, there was nothing about him that was remotely memorable. He came across as clueless and gullible and didn't question any of the weird occurrences happening around him. When he meets up with some kids from town and goes to a remote cabin to make friends/make out with annoying chicks, he hears this mysterious singing (I think Ariel from The Little Mermaid was swimming in the lake at the time) and this Siren call lures him to a remote tower where BAM it's Rapunzel!!!...I mean Rachel.Okay, we all know that fairytale princesses aren't the sharpest tools in the box, they are forever getting kidnapped, letting rats make their clothes and birds braid their hair etc but they usually have some gumption but if Wyatt was blah, then Rachel was the quintessential fanfiction.net Mary Sue! She was just the most wishy washy character I have ever come across and there's a point where Flinn obviously tries to make her into something special where she rescues Wyatt rather than the other way around but it just doesn't work and she came off as so utterly vacant and just ugh.Wyatt and Rachel meet...and then comes the INSTA-LOVE. Yeah capital letters because it was...BAM! EYES MEET - I LOVE YOU, NO I LOVE YOU MORE, NO I LOVE YOU MORE (ugh just shut up already!)It was insane, like Hans Christian Anderson would eye-roll the shit out of this!They spend the rest of the book staring into each other's eyes and cooing at each other and they do solve a couple of mysteries I suppose - Which brings me to Danielle.Mrs. WHN's daughter has been sheltered all her life and is never allowed to hang out with Wyatt's mom and is going stir crazy one day when she sees Hot Guy outside her window. Rather than screaming at the top of her lungs at the lurker, she sneaks out and promptly falls in love with HG.They have some picnics, make love beside a lake and eat some freaky hallucinogenic salad(Yeah... I said salad - accounts for all those cracked out bunnies you see everywhere) and then HG runs away and Danielle is left pregnant and then she disappears.So then...SALAD DRUG RING!! Oh yes! Why hasn't 60 minutes done a report? Nefarious criminals abduct young people and then steal their essence? Or I don't really know, I thing I may have banged my head against the wall too many times in the last few pages BUT Wily Wyatt and Ridiculous Rachel and Mrs.WHN save the day and break up the drug ring and watch Star Trek and you know this tune... it's Happily Ever After...Seriously WTF?So yeah, I didn't connect with this book for the reasons above. It was so cheesy, it would knock out a mouse. The storyline was messy, things just happened without any real reasoning to back them up and when the story finally started to come together it was too late. Overall it was the blandest, most ridiculous book I've ever read and the reason I shall be making a DNF shelf in future.Many thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for supplying me with a copy for an honest review.