Jackie "the Librarian"'s Reviews > Cloaked

Cloaked by Alex Flinn
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's review
May 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fairytalesretold, fantasy, humor, magic, youngadult

Mash up of several fractured fairy tales by the author of Beastly. Johnny is a hard-working 17-year-old who works in a shoe repair store in a fancy Miami hotel. He designs shoes, but since his dad disappeared years ago, the family has barely been able to scrape by, let alone send Johnny off to college, or fashion school, or wherever you go to become a famous shoe person like Jimmy Choo. And no, Johnny’s not gay. He just likes shoes. Okay? Okay.

Ah-hah, you think! Shoes! There will be elves! And, you’re right, but that’s not the focus of the story. Because in walks a princess from some European country that speaks French, and she’s pretending to be like Paris Hilton, but she’s not really a party girl, she’s just throwing off the press from her real reason for being in Florida. She’s trying to find her brother, the prince, who’s been turned into a frog. And she wants Johnny’s help. Naturally, Johnny is skeptical of her story, too bad about the crazy princess. She’s so pretty, too! Until he tries out the magic cloak she gives him to enlist him in her search, and is magically transported to wherever he wishes to go. Okay, NOT crazy. The money she’s offering as a reward doesn’t hurt, either.

It turns out, there’s magic all OVER Florida, mainly in the form of transformed animals. Swans and rats and foxes and suddenly I’m thinking it’s too bad a talking alligator didn’t show up somehow. But Alex Flinn was incorporating some lesser known folktales, and I guess she couldn’t find one with a gator to work in. Too bad. Instead, we get eastern European villains in the midst of Key West, which was a little jarring.

Of course there’s a girl-next-door, and confusion about who loves who, and do you REALLY want to marry a princess as your reward, and it all works out about the way you’d expect, and that’s fine. This isn’t great literature, it’s just fun. A little sloppy, and not as well developed as it could have been, but it’s short, what do you want? I’m not sure what the moral of the story is, other than work hard, try your best, and go a little crazy now and then when you’re following your dream because sometimes magic really CAN happen. Also, take good care of your shoes. :)

Recommended if you want a light, funny teen fantasy with talking animals.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Jackie, Your review is hilarious. I'm almost sure I enjoyed it more than I'd enjoy the actual book.

message 2: by Raina (new)

Raina I am sad about the lack of talking alligators as well. And I haven't even read the book.

Jackie "the Librarian" Beastly was fun but not great, Abigail, but I loved it because the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale is my favorite. Flinn puts it into a modern New York high school setting, which is both cool and problematic.

I think it's worth a read for your project, because the problematic aspects (a cursed teenager has to find his true love forever? really? Forever forever?) make it more interesting to discuss.

Jackie "the Librarian" And thank you, Lisa!

message 5: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Instead, we get eastern European villains in the midst of Key West, which was a little jarring.

... I am now picturing mafia looking hitmen in Hawaiian shirts trying to find an intimidating pose that works in the warmth amidst gay parades and tourists. That has to be one of the two most random things I have seen put together.

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