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Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5581012,354 (3.75)110
  1. 51
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    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)
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    Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (megan003)

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A country girl moves to the city and is befriended by the prince and the queen, one of whom isn't what they seem. Fairy tale bits mixed in.

I wanted to like this more than I did. But between the constant emphasis on looks and the silly way that people would sing instead of speaking, I had trouble even finishing it. I like musicals, but it just doesn't have the same effect on paper.

I did like the original world Levine created (singing aside), and I was especially interested in some of the nonhuman characters. It might have been more interesting if it had been used with its own story instead of trying to twist it to fit the fairy tale retelling. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Jul 17, 2015 |
I would recommend this book for folks under 16 (after all it is a young adult type of novel) and not for anyone who has read a lot of great literature. But not because of the content.

I usually think of young adult novels/teen fic novels as classified that way because of content and not because of writing. My recommendation is because of the writing. The style really grated on me. It was choppy. And while I love the idea of a “singing” kingdom. And I love the idea of singing what you are saying, even if it isn’t lyrical, it makes for some hard reading. Contrast the difficulty reading the song content with the almost too facile style of the rest of the novel.

Besides the writing itself, the plot moved along in fits and spurts. Levine succeeds in having the “aha” of the story elude you. Generally, this is a good thing. But here it was more because there were too many twists and turns to follow–a wee bit on the overly contrived side of plotting.

The reason why I think it’s worth recommending to younger folk is that the message is very clear: beauty has nothing to do with what you look like or how great your talents are. I like that and for that reason alone, I'm giving it 4 stars. Our society puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on girls, at younger ages than ever before, to be beautiful and supremely talented. I like that in this tale, the girl is ugly and has immense talent, and even that can’t make everything right for her. It’s only once she starts to understand herself, be comfortable in her own skin, that things seem to fall into place. And that is a true life message.

If I read anything else from this author, I am reasonably certain it will only be as a “mommy preview” before my daughter reads it. There are too many great reads out there to bother with mediocre writing.

(Unless, of course, I’m feeling brain dead and want some low-class chick lit–I’m not very demanding about much with that style of .) ( )
  mullgirl | Jun 8, 2015 |
all over Clan except CC
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Gail Carson Levine once again hits the ball on the head with another classic, Fairest. In this adaption of Snow White, Aza, an ugly commoner suddenly rises in social status when she becomes the lady-in-waiting to the new Queen of Ayorthia. Because of her strong singing abilities, she ends up in the middle of a huge mess, all while struggling with the concept of beauty and how others see her. ( )
  SimoneAlexis | Sep 9, 2014 |

It was definitely not of the same calliber as Ella Enchanted, which is one of a kind. But I liked the not so subtle message, and the realness of the problems and feelings. Overall, a good children's book. ( )
  lyssa73 | Aug 2, 2014 |
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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.
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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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Average: (3.75)
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