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Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
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2,8151072,067 (3.75)120
  1. 51
    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
  2. 20
    Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley (foggidawn)
  3. 00
    Mira, Mirror by Mette Harrison (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In these richly imagined fantasies, a plain but musically talented servant (Fairest) and a witch transformed into a mirror (Mira, Mirror) offer unique perspectives on the fairy tale of Snow White. Both books feature strong characters faced with complicated choices.… (more)
  4. 00
    The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry (stephxsu)
  5. 00
    Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (megan003)
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Aza might have the most unusual and loveliest voice in all of Ayortha, a kingdom of singers. But because so many people--including Aza herself--consider her to be ugly, she'll go to foolish lengths in her attempts to magically become pretty in Fairest, a novel by Gail Carson Levine.

Oh, fairy tales aren't my go-to type of reading, and I don't reach for many middle grade books to read either. But I once saw and enjoyed the movie Ella Enchanted, based (loosely?) on the Newbery Honor book by the same author. As I used to read more fantasy as a child, it's been my plan for some time to dip back into fantasy fiction of the mythical and magical variety. So, when I happened to come across this novel, I figured, "Hey. Why not?"

This fantastical tale turned out to be quite engaging with excellent drops of genius along the way. There's blackmail, betrayal, and some violence, but also endearing kindness and romance in the story, along with Aza's down-to-earth lesson that young people (and, I daresay, grown folks as well) can learn from. The novel didn't leave me with a Chronicles-of-Narnia kind of "wooow," but still, every minute of it was worthwhile to me.

So, I'll say this book is my small, happy step back into the mythical and magical side of things. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Dec 21, 2016 |
Not me favorite by far. Boring, and drab! ( )
  Shadow494 | Jun 20, 2016 |
Lovely story. If at all possible, try to listen to the audio book, it really makes the songs come alive. ( )
  Half-elf28 | Jun 1, 2016 |
Aza is no a member of the court. She's not a princess, a lady or even a maid. She's an innkeepers daughter, a innkeepers daughter that makes great changes.

I thought this book was overall pretty good. It wasn't in my opinion as good as Ella Enchanted but still good none the less. I think I had a harder time believing this story over Ella, but for a little girl that likes these types of stories, a great one.
( )
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
Narrated by Sarah Naughton and full cast. An enjoyable listen complete with original music composed for the songs that Aza and her countrymen sing (singing is big communication form). It's like listening to a Broadway show! ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
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Dedication
To David, who has a chamber in my heart.
To Rosemary Brosnan, who sweetly wields the knife.
Many thanks to opera star Janet Hopkins for introducing me, with kindness and encouragement, to the mysteries of singing.
First words
I was born singing. Most babies cry. I sang an aria.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060734108, Paperback)

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be pretty . . .

Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land, and the most unusual. She can "throw" her voice so it seems to come from anywhere. But singing is only one of the two qualities prized in the Kingdom of Ayortha. Aza doesn't possess the other: beauty. Not even close. She's hidden in the shadows in her parents' inn, but when she becomes lady-in-waiting to the new queen, she has to step into the light—especially when the queen demands a dangerous favor. A magic mirror, a charming prince, a jealous queen, palace intrigue, and an injured king twine into a maze that Aza must penetrate to save herself and her beloved kingdom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In a land where beauty and singing are valued above all else, Aza eventually comes to reconcile her unconventional appearance and her magical voice, and learns to accept herself for who she truly is.

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