Here is the truth: I am a sucker for things that remind me of my childhood. This is probably why I am still so enthralled with Madeline, Babar, the Aristocats, and Harry Potter.
This book was totally a throwback.
The obvious first reminder: The Frog Prince. When I was young, and we were traveling back from my grandparents' house, mom always told me the story of The Frog Prince. Dad told Rumplestiltskin, but that's not relevant. Anyway, I loved that story. It's my favorite Disney movie, as a side note.
The next story that I remember is the shoe maker. My grandparents are British, and I just remember my grandmother telling me this story and the story of the Fisherman and the Magic Carp. I don't know if her being British is relevant, but I associate these stories with Britain now, which is completely illogical, but hey! That's what happens.
Anyway, as you might have guessed, I loved this book. Alex Flinn is one of the writers I like best. I've read women authors who write from a male's point of view, and usually they fall into two categories: You have Stephenie Meyer writing Edward (highly unlikely how chivalrous he is) and then the type that writes the overly horny guy who constantly gets turned on. I don't know; maybe boys really are like the latter, but that's not what I particularly want to read. However, Alex Finn somehow manages to write male characters who seem real. There's the jerk in Beastly, the cocky and somewhat childish guy in A Kiss in Time, and then super sweet but awkward Johnny in this novel.
While I'm on the subject of characters, the ones in this book are awesome. Take the Princess, for example (I honestly can't remember her name). She was really cool. She acted so well that her own brother didn't believe Johnny when he told him the truth. That's crazy.(view spoiler)[Speaking of, one thing that I would have liked would have been for Johnny and the Princess to actually end up together. Not that I don't like Meg, but COME ON. I knew from the third page or so that they would end up together. Completely predictable. (hide spoiler)]
But seriously. Loved this book. I loved the characters and the pacing, and...yeah. All of it.