by Danielle Page
First sentence: “I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday — one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, started taking pills, and begin exclusively wearing bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.”
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Review copy handed to me by my manager who said “Get on this.”
Content: A pregnant teenager, a moderate amount of swearing including a few f-bombs, and some violence. The book belongs in the store’s teen section (grades 9+).
At first glance, the idea of this book is awesome: Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, didn’t want to be in Kansas after she went home, and found a way back to Oz, where she has taken over and is not only a tyrant, but she’s a bully. And she’s draining Oz of its magic. It is going to take another girl from Kansas — Amy, of the trailer park — who finds her way to this new and drained Oz, to kill the tyrant and save Oz from certain ruin.
See? Sounds pretty cool, right?
Well, not so much.
It’s not that this one was Horrible, per se. There were a lot of things to like about it, starting from the cool idea. I liked the way that Page developed the magic in the world, and made the Wicked Witches if not the good guys, at least the better ones. I liked Amy, and her willingness to try even though the odds were against her.
But that was about it. I won’t delineate my entire complaints (which include having Amy say “I was used to cornfields back in Kansas..” UM, where??), but rather my main one, this: why is this book not a stand-alone? There really was nothing in this book that either 1) warranted that it be 460 pages or 2) meant for it to go longer than one book. I think with some better plotting and editing (and less of the pregnant bully in the beginning) this could have been a tight, fun, cool romp in a unique version of Oz.
I guess I’m a bit miffed that it’s not, and that’s effecting how I see the book. Others (who don’t mind the whole drawn-out-ed-ness of this one) may find it more enjoyable. Part of me hopes she finds success with this, because it’s a really cool idea.
I just wish the execution was better.