In this lyrical fairy tale from fantasy veteran Attanasio, geeky teen Chester "Chet" Hubert must rescue flame-haired daydreamer Flannery Lake from the Otherworld, when all he really wanted was a date. Flannery's grandmother, Nedra Fell, screws up a Wiccan ritual in an attempt to cheat Death, who decides Flannery will make a welcome substitute. After Flannery is hit by a school bus, she falls into a coma and her soul is lured to the Otherworld by a deceitful "techno-pagan" who promises her love but plans on feeding her to a demonic dragon. Luckily, Nedra convinces the smitten Chet to rescue Flannery in a colorful adventure reminiscent of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and as magical as the best work of Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen and Holly Black.
©2005 A. A. Attanasio (P)2012 A. A. Attanasio
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My daughter and I listened to this the other day en route to another location many miles away, and oh how we loved it. I saw myself as a young boy in the awkward Chet who was madly in love with the beautiful flamed-haired Flannery. Most authors would have described Flannery as having 'red' hair, but Attanasio is in a calibre all his own when it comes to peaking our imagination and vision with incredibly descriptive daisy-chains of flowering choice words. This magical journey of a young boy braving the 'Otherworld' for an odd ball girl he is in love with (yet, she doesn't know it ... yet) is a charming story all ages will enjoy.
Nedra Fell, the old witch and grandmother of Flannery, was illustriously entertaining in both narration and cleverness - my grandmother reincarnated! She is a character that is bigger than life and one not to be reckoned with. My daughter loved Flannery and her passionate indepedence and love of nature and animals. Chet made us both smirk with his triumphant, albeit clumsy and anxious efforts in the name of love. Arden was the snake all fathers dread slithering into their daughters lives. How the Theena Shee 'changed' - as the Dragon's lair 'changed' was another favorite part, along with the 'chase'. Beauty is as beauty does, and all the beautiful 'glamour' the fairies wore, was only skin deep, as is very true with humans.
Destiny Landon and Lee James did an amazing job with the main character voices which really brought this story to life.
Nedra's responses to Chet's inquiries or silent expressions made us laugh. This was definitely an upbeat, magical, whimsical fantasy of young puppy love in a magical world, with all the struggles of being seen as someone important and desirable in another's world.
This is a young adult book that I think would be enjoyed by those who like Harry Potter type stories, with adventure, innocent love, wisdom from elders who get you through the confusing times in life, and belief in what is not seen. We loved it!
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