Fairest of All (Whatever After, book 1)
By Sarah Mlynowski
Expected publication May 1, 2012 by Scholastic
Everything was fine for Abby until the mirror in her basement ate her. Well, not perfect - her parents had just made her move to a new place and she wasn't having much luck with new friends. But she could have dealt with it. Then, her brother was playing around an old mirror in their basement one night and the next thing they know, Abby and Jonah are in a forest. Soon, they come across a small cottage and a girl with lips red as blood, hair dark as night, and skin white as snow...
I have to start by saying that I really love the cover art for this book - I find it absolutely adorable and certain to appeal to girls in the targeted age range of the novel. As for the book itself, this is basically a new take on Snow White - Abby and her younger brother Jonah seem to fall into an alternate reality where Snow White's tale is actually happening right now. When the evil Queen shows up trying to tempt Snow with a poison apple, the brother and sister can't help but step in and stop Snow from eating it. But, uh-oh, this means Snow may never meet her prince. How will Abby and Jonah fix Snow's story? And how do they get back to their world? This is a very quick read and a fun little story if you're a fan of fairy tales. It's interesting to see a realistic and pleasant dynamic between the siblings - I always love seeing positive sibling relationships. I think Abby is a good heroine - she's very concerned with fairness and doing the right thing but often doesn't think things all the way through. She strikes me as very realistic - a good person but still flawed. Jonah is realistic as well - kind of a pain, but in an endearing way. I liked that Mlynowski tried to give the fairy-tale characters some personality - they are usually pretty flat in the originals. This is quite a charming little title and I'm sure it will be a hit. Can't wait to see what comes next in the series - there was a hint of darker and more complex things to come!
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.