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Zephyr #1

Me, My Elf & I

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It's not often you see an elf in the middle of Brooklyn, let alone a tall, blond, gorgeous elf in the middle of one of the most prestigious performing arts high schools in the country. And yet, that's just where Zephyr Addler finds herself: smack dab in the middle of a bustling New York City school, worlds away from the secluded woodland community she knows so well. But Zephyr knows that she has to figure out how to live in the world. And dress in the world. Thanks to a little friendly advice from her new friend Mercedes, Zephyr starts to get the hang of Brooklyn. That is, until Zephyr snags a role in a commercial, beating out the most popular girl in school, Bella Dartagnan. Now with Bella and her friends out to get her, can Zephyr out-maneuver the mean girls (and catch the eye of a certain cute boy) without losing herself?

288 pages, Paperback

First published March 9, 2009

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About the author

Heather Swain

18 books17 followers
Heather Swain lives in a crooked house in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children, and a barkless dog. She is the author of novels for adults and young adults, craft books, and numerous short stories, personal essays, and non-fiction articles.

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5 stars
72 (23%)
4 stars
91 (29%)
3 stars
87 (28%)
2 stars
33 (10%)
1 star
22 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Rebecca Maye Holiday.
Author 29 books126 followers
January 8, 2023
This is a very confusing book. Much of the originality and comedy stands on the fact that the main character is apparently an elf, although there's almost nothing about her that really indicates that she's an elf aside from her bizarre name and some brief exposition about her quirky family (who all seem more like stoners than elves). If I were to guess, I would say that Me, My Elf & I was written either as an inspiration from or trying to cash in on the theme of fantasy creatures in a modern urban world, as kicked off with that awful Will Farrell movie that came out when I was six years old. Anyway, it's not a terrible book, and I can appreciate what Heather Swain was trying to do here: her upbeat, sitcomy humour seems hardwired to perfectly fit her book's early 2000's publication date, with trendy characters and a contemporary New York setting. Unfortunately, being a relic of the early 2000's, the book is also already badly outdated and would probably not appeal to most readers today unless they themselves came of age between 2000 and 2010, possibly.

Copious references to y2k-era slang, MySpace and other bygone fads litter Me, My Elf & I as main character Zephyr Addler, a human-sized elf in the big city, tries her hand at the acting industry while attending an elite school and making new friends along the way. Something isn't quite normal about Zephyr, whether it's her manner of speaking or her doe-like features or the way that magic seems to follow wherever she goes. Previously homeschooled with her siblings in an elf family deep in the forest, Zephyr has vague ideas of how the human world works, but actually fitting in there is another matter entirely. Luckily she's quick to meet Mercedes, a helpful human friend who knows the ways of modern life including social media, slang and fashion, all of which makes Zephyr stand out, especially to a human boy she likes. When Zephyr lands a coveted spot in a TV commercial though, she catches the attention of a bully and has to find a way to handle this before things get crazy.

Setting aside the book's elf-themed aspects, Me, My Elf & I is really just Bratz without the CGI animation. It's your basic girl next-door versus mean girl clash, complete with plenty of drama, cheese and petty feuds. This being said, there's definitely an audience for this book out there somewhere. It certainly wasn't me, but there is a charming nostalgia factor to Me, My Elf & I that some readers will very much enjoy, especially those who love the aesthetics and culture of the early 2000's. Fantasy readers might also appreciate the book, although to be honest, the elf thing almost always comes secondary to the schoolgirl drama and isn't as well-developed as it could be. The idea of elves living like human beings in more creative and nature-based roles is very interesting and seems like a perfect setup for world-building, but here there's more focus on teenage crushes and the antics of a girl trying to understand social networking for the first time. It isn't exactly as captivating as one might expect from a book about elves in Brooklyn, but there's still a kind of fun to the story that makes it worth reading.
Profile Image for Natalie.
2,343 reviews52 followers
December 12, 2018
Since the main character Zephyr is an elf, I was expecting a Christmas theme to the book, but it wasn’t Christmassy at all.

The plot is very similar to Mean Girls but with elves, and it was very dated, with references to MySpace, Friendster, Treo phones, and other now-defunct technology and social media.

I didn’t really care for Zephyr as a character. She was wishy-washy, kind of bratty, and immature.
Profile Image for Kate McMurry.
Author 1 book78 followers
April 1, 2013
Mean Girls Meets Elf, a fish-out-of-water, comic YA fantasy

Fifteen-year-old Zephyr Addler has just moved to Brooklyn with her five siblings, her naturopath mother, and her folk-rock-star father from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Switching from being home schooled in a cottage in the woods to attending a sophisticated arts high school in a big city isn't Zephyr's only culture shock. She's living for the first time among humans.

Zephyr is an elf with the magical ability of casting spells and can potentially live hundreds of years. In addition, like all her fellow elves, Zephyr is a tall, gorgeous, green-eyed blonde who is fit and lean from a vigorous, outdoor lifestyle and a healthy, natural diet. She also shares to a great degree the elvish trait of empathetic kindness.

Zephyr's family plans to be away from Alverland, their secret. elvish home, for only a year while Zephyr's dad is making major strides in his musical career. But the adult elves in their close-knit community--especially Zephyr's grandmother--are very worried about what will happen to the Addler family in an "erdler" (human) city. Zephyr doesn't care about any of that. She's got big plans, and she can't wait to get started on them. She wants to act, sing and, most of all, have a date with a cute erdler boy!

This book is well written, and the story is a comic treat. I enjoyed very much learning about Zephyr's life as an elf. She is immensely likeable, as are her eccentric, lovable family. Zephyr's struggles to fit into the human world are at times funny and at others poignant. I also found it very clever the way the author uses Zephyr's virtues of kindness and innocent naïveté to get Zephyr--and her friends and family--into whacky messes.

Teen girls will gobble up this story! And parents will approve very much of the elvish lifestyle. They don't drink, smoke or engage in uncommitted sex, so the book is G-Rated and could safely be read by girls as young as 11.
166 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2009
This book is the typical story of the new pretty girl at school. She becomes friends with the first people that talk to her. She locks on to the popular boy/boyfriend of reigning queen of the school as the one she loves even though she doesn't know him at all. She butts heads with and bests the jealous queen. All this happens while she maintains her wonderful, sweet self (only deviating slightly to best the mean girl but she feels really bad about it).

All this can still make a good story if it's interesting. This one was not that interesting. This book was not terrible, however. It just took a long time to read because I wasn't interested in finishing. Even the author's attempt at making it unique (Zephyr being an elf) didn't help. Everything in this book was predictable and boring. It did have few moments that were amusing, mostly revolving around Zephyr not understanding something.

I also didn't buy Zephyr and her relationships. As I pointed out earlier, her best friends are the people she meets first and the boy she likes is the first one that talks to her. What beyond that makes them friends or a love interest? Not much in this book.
Profile Image for Ariel.
91 reviews
January 3, 2018
This book came out in 2009, and it feels like it with the cringe-y IMs and slang. As someone who was a teen on AIM in 2009, I can safely say that no one ever sounded like that.

Aside from the cringe worthy writing, it features a "fish out of water" main character in Zephyr who was terribly annoying and came off like a complete idiot before turning into a total b*tch. The love interest is the personification of a human trash bag (because he's full of garbage) and there was so much girl on girl hate, I just couldn't stand it!

Needless to say, I will NOT be reading the sequel.
31 reviews5 followers
November 2, 2020
I know there is another book, a sequel, to this one and I want to know if they are going to find out that she is a elf and has magic powers. I think Zephyr and Timber are perfect for each other and I'm surprised Ari and Mercedes aren't, you know, a couple.
Profile Image for Moriah.
146 reviews2 followers
February 4, 2018
It was interesting to read about how an elf was adapting to human culture. The book definitely showed readers more about human society though.
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,986 reviews43 followers
March 4, 2015
I can't remember the last book I read about an elf, let alone a chick lit book! So this YA novel was cute, refreshing, and needed in the world of realistic fiction and vampires of today's lit.

Zephra ia a teenage elf who has grown up in a secluded town of elves in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her dad is a growing folk artist, and the family moves to New York City so that he can record videos and expand his art. Zephra is excited because she is able to enroll in NYC's performing arts school, where she will be able to sing, act and perform to her heart's content. But first she must learn how to be herself in a world of erdlers (humans). Humans aren't always nice and Zephra learns the hard way. Bella is the popular, rich, famous girl at school who is jealous and wants to ruin Zephra. Timber is the cute ex-pop star who is dating Bella and showing interest in Zephra. And Mercedes and Ari are the students who adopt Zephra as their friend. All in all, this is a cute read with a great chick lit cover. It even has glitter!
Profile Image for Bookworm007.
247 reviews
November 17, 2011
Throughout the entire book I had this nagging feeling that Zephyr was gonna end up with Kenji or someone else and NOT Timber. It was really weird when he said that "nothing special" happened to him during the weekend when, really, he hung out with Zephyr and her family and also kissed her! Zephyr thought he didn't care that much about her and I was thinking that she got stood up or something but noooooo, they still like each other. Oh well, it's cute that way.

I really like this book because Zephyr is new to the "erdler" (human) world and knows nothing about BlackBerries to Googling so she kinda makes a dork outta herself but it was funny. Ha ha I really liked how she thought Mary Kate and Ashley were THREE girls :D

In the end it seems like there could be a possible sequel and if there is one I would so read it!

Ok never mind, I had to edit this because right after I pressed "save review", the sequel popped up :P
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
86 reviews
August 3, 2011
Okay, it's a silly teen fantasy, disgustingly fluffy in parts. But here's the thing. It's the "fish out of water" theme that does it for me. The main character is a teen elf who lives in our world in a secluded elf community in the woods, but she and her family go to Brooklyn, NY to live so that she can go to some performing arts school. Fish-out-of-water tropes ensue! There's a mean girl, romance, and at one point she accidentally outs her gay friend, causing friendship angst! (And the awesome thing about her elf community is that gayness is totally accepted and part of the community, nobody cares who you love) I expected this book to be completely dumb, but even the cheesy parts ended up being charming for me. So I think there are sequels or other books in the series, so yay, a pleasant surprise! :D
Profile Image for Ash R..
67 reviews
March 8, 2010
This book is about a girl who just moved to New York. In her new school everyone thinks of her as a beautiful girl. But others are just jealous of her and what she brought to this school. This makes the school bully Bella make fun of her, and back-stab her!

I can make a text to self connection to this because when I was in elementary school the kids use to make fun of me. sometimes it would be my own "friends". So I can understand and relate to how she feels. We both felt hurt, and sad, also felt like we had no body on our side.

I would give this book a 4 because it was a good book that many people especially teens in the modern day can relate too. Though it was kind of dragging, and long to get to exciting/good parts.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
421 reviews79 followers
December 9, 2014
I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would, but it was a cute story. Zephyr is an elf who starts at an erdler, or human, high school. She desperately wants to fit in, but doesn't always understand the lingo that the other students use. She quickly makes friends and starts to get involved, including signing up for a tv commercial audition. But, she makes an enemy of the most popular girl at the school, Bella, and drama starts ensuing, including a new love interest. I got a little frustrated with Zephyr and her antics, but then I realized how old she was. It was a cute high-school, romance, story with a twist of fantasy. I did like how it all turned out, so I was happy in the end!
Profile Image for B.B..
252 reviews
May 4, 2011
So, this is the first one of the series. I'm reading the next one now, but it's weird I was going to read the second one first... I'm glad I figured out there was a first one... But to talk of the actual story/plot/climax, I didn't like it near the end. She turned into such brat. She should have stayed her nice elf-self. And why would she even waste her time with a stupid boy like Timber? My only guess is that he was one of the "Dark Elves" but then Zephyr will make him good again, or something. And how DUMB that she started talking like a dork when she had perfectly good grammar before when IMing. All in all, I didn't really like the book. Maybe the next one will be better, though...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lia.
Author 3 books15 followers
November 16, 2009
Very fluffy, but parts of it appealed to me, even if the elves were no more than blond people (from Michigan!?) who live very rustically, and can cast spells. It had a good message that was kind of sloppily executed. I was hoping she'd heal the heart of the mean girl with kindness, but no. Falls shy of that.

However I liked the message of being yourself, kindness, honesty, and family (in its many forms - yay!) And it took me back to my own high school days, dressing in tunics & boots, amulets, being an elf among the erdlers, hehe. So that was nostalgic and fun.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
135 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2011
I loved the complete and utter ignorance of the character and how she adapts-I do mean that lovingly, I promise! I had started the book, put it down, considered returning it, and then picked it up again. Glad I did-just finished the second book and can't wait for the third! There's a lot of history, a lot of things for the group to figure out and then there's Bella. No, I'm not talking about that Bella! LOL! This Bella would give mean girls a run for their money-and what will she do next, now that she's losing the fight with high school drama? Who knows?
Profile Image for Elaine Warner.
59 reviews4 followers
June 28, 2010
Cute, fun to read. Zephyr Addler moves to New York City with her family while her father works on his music career. Sounds like an every day occurrence, but the Addler family is from a small community in Wisconsin made up of elves. Elves are nice people who live a simple life, but when Zephyr moves to New York she finds that real people, or erdlers, are not so nice and don't always say what they mean.
Profile Image for Alicia.
475 reviews32 followers
February 25, 2012
Not a bad story line, and it made me laugh a few times. One thing that bugged me though was that she had elf ears on the cover, but there was never a mention of them in the book. And when she did get her hair all braided and pretty by some 'erdler', her ears were never mentioned. Plus, her secret was never outed even when the got the guy, not like the book needed anymore drama, but I mean at least tell the boy your secret o.o...
Other than those points, not a bad book (:
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Wisty.
1,014 reviews1 follower
April 6, 2015
Although this book sometimes dragged on and the writing was occasionally childish, it was ultimately a fun read that had me laughing out loud a few times. However, I think I'll skip the sequel. And I was NOT a fan of most of the characters ( I'm looking at you, Timber)

Actual rating is more of a 3.6.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
211 reviews18 followers
June 30, 2010
It's rare that a YA book doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out. I picked it up because I love Heather Swain, and it was a quick, cute read. I would encourage my imaginary teenage daughter to read this.
Profile Image for Annie.
9 reviews
July 14, 2011
Profile Image for Mina Khan.
Author 9 books157 followers
December 28, 2012
Going in I expected this to be a bit hokey...and while there were a few eye-rolling moments, overall it's a very cute story with interesting characters, thought provoking questions, and an important message of being true to oneself. Glad I read it...might even re-read it down the road.
Profile Image for Trina Knittle.
168 reviews1 follower
December 20, 2014
This was a cute read. It was a decent elf book and it was a nice change from the typical books I read. It was decently paced and quick to read. It was cute, refreshing, and had me laughing. The characters were all interesting and I didn't find one that I disliked. I loved how the story was written.
13 reviews11 followers
December 28, 2009
*yawn* Too much like a teenage human girl novel. If it weren't for the occaisional bout of magic, I would have tossed it.
Profile Image for Safaa.
6 reviews
February 8, 2011
this book is so funny and awesome. its so cute how she
is so clueless about everything in new york.
Profile Image for Amy.
103 reviews
October 27, 2010
I didn't finish this book. It wasn't bad or anything. It was actually kind of cute. I might pick it up again later, but i just wasn't in the mood for it. If i finish it, i'll write a full review.
Profile Image for Sara jacobs.
6 reviews1 follower
August 1, 2011
i relly liked this book. it was an awsome read you can relly picture what the characters are like. i would definetly recomend this book if your looking for a fun read. :)
58 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2011
I loved how believable the story was, not in the sense of going and looking for elfs, but Heather Swain explains her story thouroughly.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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