Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
327 pages, HarperCollins, 2009
17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.
Have I mentioned lately how many gorgeous covers there have been lately? I mean, really, I feel like there are so many books on my TBR list that I feel compelled to read simply because they have a beautiful cover. This one is definitely no exception. I found this blog where Lesley Livingston spoke about this cover and it was pretty cool. Check it out if...you're interested.
I've had this one sitting on my "maybe purchase" shelf on my NookColor for awhile now. Fortuitously, my advisor plucked the three books in the series from her shelf and handed them to me during my last advising session. Woohoo! Now, onto my musings about this book.
Kelley is your average seventeen year old. Well, with the exception that she graduated high school early, dropped out of her theater program, and moved to NYC to try to make it as an actress...at the age of seventeen. Oh, did I mention that she's not quite human? No? Well, I suppose I should have.
In Wondrous Strange, Kelley has just been promoted from backstage-lackey/understudy to the lead role of Queen Titania when the lead breaks her ankle. In a moment, Kelley's world changes...little does she know it's about to get stranger. Practicing her lines in Central Park one evening, she is approached by a handsome stranger, who gives her a beautiful flower and then vanishes before she can even say thank you. Meet Sonny Flannery, a changeling who is part of the Unseelie Court's Janus Guard, a group of thirteen slated to protect the mortal realm from faeries attempting to escape into their world. Sonny knows that something is different about Kelley...something he can't quite figure out. When Kelley attempts to rescue a drowning horse in Central Park and then is stunned to find it in her bathtub at home...well...I bet you can imagine that things only get crazier from there.
I really enjoyed Livingston's writing. She introduced a compelling story and beautifully wove in elements of Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream. It was really beautiful. This was such a compelling book--the kind the pulls you in and then knocks you out of your reverie only when you've finished. Reading the last page was like being pulled out of another world. Kelley is a strong female lead. I enjoyed her a bit more than many of the other slightly clueless females who have dominated YA fantasy lately. While she may have accepted the truth of her heritage a bit more easily than one would expect, I felt like she was willing to take the reigns of her own destiny and work with it. The romantic story between Kelley and Sonny is beautiful (quick to develop but beautifully real regardless), but I can't wait to read the other books in the story to watch it develop (hopefully!).
Have you read this book? Comment and let me know what you thought of it!