I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker by E. D. Baker
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 2014-10-07
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Middle-Grade
Source: the Publisher
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Cory is a young tooth fairy in training who wants to be anything but that, except there's no way the Tooth Fairy Guild or her mother will let that happen. After yet another bad night on the job, Cory quits to explore other things—like babysitting an adventurous Humpty Dumpty, helping Suzy organize seashells by the seashore, and attempting to finally rid the spiders that plague Marjorie Muffet. But it isn't until Marjorie asks Cory to help set her up with a boy that Cory taps into a power s he never knew she had. As she tries to understand her new-found romantic visions, will Cory finally discover her own true path?
Just as she did with her Wide-Awake Princess series, E. D. Baker spins a tale that is poised to launch her to the top of the fairy tale canon with a new series that fans of Gail Carson Levine and Diana Wynne Jones.
Honestly, it was difficult for me to get through the first part of this book. I really thought I was going to give up on it. But because I was sent an ARC and because it looked so cute, I didn’t put it down. I’m still a little undecided as to whether I’m better off having finished it or not, but I can say that the second half of this book is WAY better than the beginning. I will also say that I don’t think this book offers quite as much appeal for adults as some middle-grade books I’ve read and what I would have wished for with this book. But I do think that the younger audience will enjoy and appreciate this book more than adults. The fun and cute factor is high, high quality plot and adult crossover appeal, a little low.
When the book opens, Cory is a tooth fairy and right in the middle of one of her worst nights ever. She does not enjoy collecting teeth, she does not enjoy the dangers and obstacles that come along with the job. She also doesn’t like the low pay and the poor hours. Because she is having such a bad night, she is extra whiny and annoying and sounds very spoiled. This was the first time I almost put the book down. I did not like her attitude at all. Of course later on I was able to sympathize with her a bit more when she took the time to explain her feelings about the job but I did not like or appreciate all of the complaining in the beginning. After this night on the job, she decides to quit the Tooth Fairy Guild and try to find a job that will let her help people and make her happy. This is when the book turns around and I started enjoying it more.
The best parts of the book are when Cory goes out into her world by taking on odd jobs to help people in her community. She accepts jobs doing things from babysitting to canning to mowing and lots more. She meets people she’s never known and makes new friends. But because her work hours aren’t in the middle of the night anymore, she also gets to see her friends more often and we get to know them as well. I liked getting to see this side of Cory, the side that liked helping people and working with them and doing things that she enjoyed. I liked the message that life shouldn’t just be about what your parents want from you or that you should accept the easy way in life even if it isn’t what you want. It may be a lesson that’s maybe aimed at an audience a little older than the actual book’s audience’s age, but still a good lesson to hear about.
There’s also another part of the book that is a sort of mystery and shows what can happen when people don’t stand up for what’s right. It was an interesting addition to the book and thought it added some much needed depth to the plot. It was also another good lesson about not giving up when you know something is wrong and finding and trusting the right people to help. Cory has a couple friends that she trusts and who prove to her that they’ll be there for her, even when she’s fighting a more powerful enemy. I liked that it wasn’t necessarily the people you would have thought it would be.
In the end, The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker was a cute book. It’s a fast read for adults but not necessarily one that might hold their interests. The plot isn’t quite developed enough and the characters are a bit too shallow for an adult to truly like this book. But as far as the intended audience, I think this book will be one they’d enjoy. It has a cute romance that begins as friendship, it has a main character who makes a decision she feels is best for her and sticks with it, and ends up fighting for her rights. Fair warning, the book does have a bit of a focus on the girls having boyfriends especially in regards to one friend who it mentions always has a new boyfriend (it is a matchmaking story after all), she has a terrible relationship with her mother, and there is a scene in which someone is kidnapped. It isn’t a violent scene but there are moments of pain. Overall, I’d recommend this book to young middle-grade readers but I’m not sure I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 13.