(This is an old review I wrote for Fairy Tale Fortnight in April, so the layout isn't updated...but rest assured, my feelings are the same!)
Until the day when Jack, an attention-starved high-schooler from Miami, Florida, happens upon the hedge of briars during his boring and uneventful trip to Europe. When he enters the castle and finds Talia, he feels the unexplainable urge to kiss her - not to mention he suddenly knows her name. When he does kiss her, she wakes in his arms and he is forced to help her - and save his own hide from her angry father, the King-No-More of Euphrasia. But with Talia convinced he is her true love, he won't be getting rid of her very easily. At least it'll make his parents mad...
My thoughts -
I devoured this book easily. It wasn't that the writing was easy to read (however, that is also true), but more so that the story flowed so well I couldn't put it down. There was no break in the character development or story-line. I was entranced in the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty as though I hadn't heard it a hundred and one times before.
I was absolutely surprised at how much I liked this book. Jack and Talia are both memorable characters; the events of the story are well-placed; it is very original for being yet another retelling of a fairytale. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the present tense, first person standpoint, which normally really bothers me. But not this time. This time I was thoroughly engrossed and loved feeling as though I was there. And on top of that, this book is funny. And I mean FUN. NY! Laugh out loud, giggly, hilarious, whatever you want to call it. It pretty much made me laugh all the time. (Especially Talia's reaction to telephones and TV's...and Jack's reaction to the clothes she gives him from her time-period. They were both so confused!)
Alex Flinn does a great job at comparing and contrasting the culture Talia comes from and the culture that she has now been thrust into. The innocence of the 16, 17, and 18oo's is greatly played upon. Talia is disgusted by all the almost-all-the-way naked women at the beach, and is shocked by the half-naked women around town (compared to floor length dresses and covered bosoms...yah, they were practically naked). She hates how the young girls are flaunting themselves in Jack's presence; how Jack's friends treat each other and themselves (which is terrible); how Jack feels like he can't talk to his parents or sister. (What a culture we live in, to not know how to use the power of speech! Talia's point on this is quite driving and really struck me as serious and realistic.)
There was only one (literally, only one) drawback in this story for me. The love story. I know, I know. Sucks, doesn't it?
Well, the love story was good. It was sweet and innocent.......but a bit choppy. It wasn't until I was half of the way finished when I realized this. Nothing much, except the first kiss at the beginning and Talia being beautiful, happened that would make the characters love each other. (And that's not even very convincing, sorry!) No deciding factors, no developing thoughts about it. Just, half-way through: "I think I'm falling for him." and "I think I'm falling for her." Jack's attempts to save Talia from her curse (read it to know what I mean!) were great but still...there was something missing. And their moment of discovering that they truly love each other had no spark, no firecrackers. It was just... "Yay, they love each other." Not: "Oh my GOSH they are so in love and are so passionate about each other!!!" Which kind of disappointed me, since I know Alex Flinn has that capacity. She did it masterfully in Beastly. I just wish there had been more of that in A Kiss in Time.
My favorite character -
Jack. He was great and real. Easy to get along with, but kind of a push over. Passionate about things, but afraid to tell his parents what he wants to do with his life. Blind to his faults, but when they are presented to him, he wants to change... These are all things that make a character real and human and just plain awesome.
My favorite aspect of the story -
Tali'a's innocence. Now, she may know that she's drop-dead-gorgeous, but she knows this in a...young kind of way. The way her "newness" affects the story and Jack's life and makes him a better person is just phenomenal. I loved that and applauded her when the story was over.
One word I would use to sum up this book (and final thoughts) -
Cute. So, so cute. Everything about it was cute, even the romance. I think the lack of "passion" in the romance was what made it "cute". I will most definitely be reading this book again, and hopefully soon. I am officially a huge Alex Flinn fan and recommend this book to ages 15/16 and up.
For the parents - Teenage boys will be teenage boys... About 10-15 short references throughout the book to hot girls, their sizes, and what they're wearing. But the biggest thing is the party: drinking and girls. A bunch of underage high schoolers get together to drink and make out (and possibly more, though it wasn't even referenced to). Talia is taken unawares when this guy from Jack's school gives her too much to drink and he tries to take her clothes off once he gets her further away from the party. It's a very quick scene (with minimal description - nothing much happens 'cause the dude doesn't get very far before Talia lashes out), during which Talia realizes her folly, Jack realizes his stupidity in bringing her as a way to get back at his ex, and both learn a huge lesson in maturity.