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Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale by…
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Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale

by Tamra Torero

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NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley to review.

Well, what can I say? I didn't expect to give such a high rating to this novel, but it definitely earned it. The writing style was really nice, and except for a couple of places, there were no grammatical mistakes. Nothing that needed to be fixed.

It was a light and bright read with a really positive twist. It had been a while since I read a book that made me see pink in the world, so I really loved that. Most books leave me with an emotional overload that has me either depressed or exhilarated. This book left me with a calm, peaceful feeling in my heart. It's truly amazing.

The story was paced neither too fast, nor too slow... just the perfect in-between. There was some action, there was friendship, and sweet romantic twist that made my heart flutter.

Some real-life teen issues were touched - like popularity, jealousy, power hunger, cliques and so on. But the way the author dealt with it all was so subtle, so positive and powerful that it had a really sweet effect on the 'bad' (but not evil) characters.

Now let's talk characters:

*Shayla - well, when I started reading the book, I thought that I wouldn't love a girl who isn't comfortable in her own body. But the way she grew up into her skin was really awesome, and I just loved the changes. I loved her thought process, and how she didn't put herself as the most important. She was ready to sacrifice herself for the people she loved, and that was really altruistic.

*Josi - the ever curious friend, who made me laugh throughout the book with her sarcasm and observations. I wasn't at all surprised when she figured out what Shayla was all on her own.

*Jace - I can only say that I loved the transformation in him. He really turned into a sweet guy in Shayla's hands. For a second, when he learned what she was, I thought he'd freak out and run. But he didn't. Perhaps that was sort of unrealistic, but then again, she had kissed him by then and I think he was really pulled into her. In any case, I loved the guy :)

*Bree - popular girl numero uno, who fell off her cheerleading queen-of-everything thanks to Shayla. The change in her was just... smack awesome!

*Nadia - evil person with agenda, who played her game pretty well. I had no idea who she really was until the end though. But I was sure she was the one who 'observed' and caused trouble in Shayla's peace. ( )
  VanyaDrum | Jan 26, 2014 |
Shayla has had an interesting life so far. She got the chance to travel the country with her grandparents while she did homeschool. After her grandfather passes away though, Shayla's grandmother decides it's time to settle down. Settling into a new public school would be hard enough, but Shayla also has to contend with the fact that she is, in fact, a faerie. Well, half a faerie. Not only does she have to learn to work her way through the social structure of school, but she also has to learn how to deal with her faerie magic. This all may be harder said then done.

This is a very cute book. I really felt for Shayla and all the changes going on in her life. The teenage years are hard enough without having to worry about how to hide your pointed ears from the rest of the school. Luckily Shayla makes some good friends along the way, and she even manages to catch the eye of a handsome young man. I found Shayla's problems to be, for the most part, very relatable. We may not all be faeries, but I think we've all wanted to disappear for a bit. I just never realized the problems disappearing could make too.

I kind of saw where the plot was going, but I still had great fun reading it. Although the book still managed to give me a surprise or two in there too, so that was good. This is just an easy read that will let you escape for a bit into a world that may seem very familiar. Young girls will enjoy the book too, and they will probably see a lot of themselves in Shayla. ( )
  l_manning | Jun 11, 2013 |
Step into a world where faerie’s exist and high school is still the biggest obstacle.

This was a wonderful coming of age story with a magical twist to it. The beautiful imagery and descriptive wording transports readers into a world similar and yet different than their own.

Shayla is a young girl who not only has to deal with her unusual powers, but the pressures of high school. I really enjoyed getting to know her she was a sweet character and I understood much of what she was going through. I had a great time reading about Shayla’s journey and seeing how she handled all of the new changes in her life as well as seeing how much she grew.

This is a fairy tale for all ages that fans of fantasy will really enjoy! ( )
  kcody03 | Jun 16, 2012 |
First of all, because I feel this is important, I’m going to point out that this story isn’t in any way bad. It’s very reminiscent of the stories I would read on FictionPress back in the day (the good ones, that is as anyone who’s been on FictionPress will know that it has a very wide range of quality). It’s enjoyable from start to finish. It’s a high school tale with a paranormal (half-)faerie twist. The only problem is that there is very little by way of danger.

It stays in the fairly safe zone of the cliché high school story: new girl (albeit with a half-faerie twist); geeky guy best friend; unpopular girl best friend; popular cheerleader who’s nasty to everyone and looks down on her ‘followers’; good looking jock who takes an interest in the new girl; posse who surrounds evil cheerleader and romantic interest jock.

For a long time, the focus is on Shayla fitting in at public school after having spent her whole life moving around the country with her grandparents in their mobile home. Obviously, public school is very different to the home-schooling that she’s used to. Not to mention that the faerie half of her can make things difficult – such as turning invisible or having to find a way to deal with her pointed ears when she’s required to tie her hair back in science class.

I really didn’t understand where the romantic interest came from. For Shayla, sure, he was good looking and she felt some form of attraction. For Jace, I am completely clueless. As of the very first day he shows interest in her and there’s no explanation as to why he would. What was with him inviting her to be part of the student council or committee or whatever it was? It gets mentioned when he invites her to be a part of it and then it gets dropped. They never have a meeting or anything like that. In that way, the romance didn’t really work for me. It was sweet, but it didn’t have a foundation. I might have overlooked this a few years ago but as it is, I found I wasn’t particularly interested in whether or not Shayla and Jace had a future together.

The other thing is that only one lesson is ever shown: first period science class. There are also plenty of scenes in the cafeteria, but we never see Shayla in any other class. Why not? Well, possibly to keep from boring the reader with passages where little happens, but it got to the point where it felt like science class was the only one that existed.

Eventually some sort of threat is introduced, but it doesn’t actually becoming very threatening until the very end of the book. I think I just wanted more of a sense of danger from the book. As it was, it was mostly about day to day life in high school. I’ve done that once and it’s not something I’m in a rush to get back to (though of course my lycée experience was very different to the typical American high school experience).

As for the ending itself, there were a lot of new, different ideas introduced very quickly that were never expanded on. Had they been introduced earlier on in the story, I might have cared about them, but as it was they only garnered some form of mild interest from me. The author had stuck me in a situation where (I think) she expected me to get caught up in the action but because all of this had had no lead up, I didn’t really manage to get beyond a mild interest.

Mister Digby was an interesting character – possibly the most interesting. He was one of the few where the author managed to leave me unsure of where I stood with him. I went through phases with him. At first I thought he was another faerie, then I thought he was some form of troll, and then I just couldn’t figure him out at all. The descriptions of him were good, though. I kept imagining something similar to Professor Flitwick form the Harry Potter books.

As I said at the start of the review, the book isn’t bad. It’s just slow and it should be taken as such. This is not the sort of story where the action keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s one to be enjoyed in a moment of calm. I think it’d appeal to younger female readers (maybe 12 or 13+) more than it will to older readers. There are loose ends and things that could have been improved but overall I enjoyed the story. ( )
  Readaba | May 1, 2012 |
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Half-faerie Shayla Witherwood has the ability to go invisible, shape shift her facial features, make her classmates dream about butterflies, and heal with a kiss.

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