Christal’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B
This was my first Alex Flinn novel and, though nothing revolutionary, Towering was a very sweet retelling of the Rapunzel story. Ms. Flinn took the basic elements of the classic tale and incorporated them into a modern story that was interesting and well-paced.
One would think the Rapunzel archetype would be the main character, but the story really comes alive through the eyes of the other main character, Wyatt. Wyatt is a teenaged, city boy who ends up moving in with an older family friend in the isolated Adirondacks area. Though initially weary of the lack of amenities he is used to, he is also running away from some recent trauma related to the loss of his best friend. Wyatt really drives the story forward, taking control of the situation and investigating all the creepy things that happen to him.
Ms. Flinn has created a gothic mystery that winds throughout this story and sits both apart and entwined with the Rapunzel elements. Ms. Greenwood, the woman who Wyatt is staying with, lost of her daughter Danielle seventeen years ago and no one knows why or what happened to her. When Wyatt arrives, he finds her secret diary and thinks he sees her ghost. He begins reading the diary and investigating both Danielle and her lover. What he finds leads him to Rachel, our Rapunzel, and unveils a centuries-long mystery that has been affecting the entire town and causing many people to disappear.
As Wyatt reads Danielle’s diary, he begins to hear noises that sound like someone singing. He decided to follow the voice and this is how he find Rachel. She lives in a tower in some remote woods and can’t remember the last time she was around anyone other than her Mama. Wyatt and Rachel have a bit of supernatural insta-love going on, but I thought it was okay in the context of this story. Rachel was very sweet and a bit naive, but she was also very strong and determined to set things right. It was cute watching Wyatt introduce her to little things from the modern world.
The mystery aspects played out well and it was fun to see how Ms. Flinn tied everything together. The stories of Danielle, Rachel, Wyatt, “rhapsody,” Rachel’s mama, and the missing people all come together in the end to make a cohesive and interesting conclusion. Towering was a quick read and Ms. Flinn’s solid writing style and creepy atmosphere make this a safe bet for fans of fairy tale retellings.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing an ARC copy of this book!
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