Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
I love Alex's books and I couldn't find a copy of Cloaked anywhere, that is until I went home to Sunderland for a week and took a trip to the Metrocentre. That place has one of the biggest Waterstones stores going and a lot of American imports. What do I find buried in the YA section? Yup! Cloaked in all it's hardback glory :-)
Anyway, before i delve into my review I'll give you a brief synopsis:
Johnny is a teenager who works in his mothers shoe repair shop trying to make ends meet. His father has been missing since he was very small and they make very little money. Things take a twisting turn when Princess Victoriana makes a visit to Miami and asks him to go on a quest to rescue her brother who has been transformed into a frog. With the promise of enough money to allow him and his mother to live comfortably, Johnny sets out looking for the Prince armed with a magical cloak and with the help of animals that aren't quite what they seem.
I loved this! I am a sucker for a fairytale retelling and this one had everything. Not only was this based on 'The Frog Prince' but it also has some elements of some other not so known tales like 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' and 'The Salad'.
I was truly fascinated by how all these elements came together to make a seamless and enchanting fairytale that any romantic will love. With everything from talking swans and foxes, magical spells, witches and giants there is literally something for everyone whether young or old, male or female.
The romance is beautifully told and I loved the relationship Johnny forms with his best friend Meg over the course of the story. Usually romances are love at first sight and this one was different and I loved it for that and I was also captivated by the journey both Meg and Johnny take together and the way things play out. There are some scenes that are so hilariously funny I was almost doubled up laughing at some of the situations they got themselves into and as for kissing frogs? Well, I might try that myself ;-)
Honestly, if your going to read a fairytale this year make it this one. It's funny, romantic and one amazing adventure from start to finish and has more twists than a hedge maze. This is definitely going to be one of the books I keep for rereading.