My Unfair Godmother, by Janette Rallison (Bloomsbury, 2011, YA, 320 pages)
Tansy's beloved father, the one who taught her to love books, drove away one day when she was in fifth grade. When she's seventeen, she's forced to go live with him, his new wife, and her step-brother, and she's determined to give him no satisfaction whatsoever. Not only is she refusing to read anything, but she's going out with the worst boy she could find--a loutish vandal named Bo. And because of him, she's just been picked up by the police for vandalizing town hall...even though she was an innocent bystander.
Enter Tansy's fairy godmother, come to grant her three wishes and make everything hunky dory. Sadly for Tansy, though, Chrysanthemum Everstar is only a "fair" godmother--and she's more concerned about her toe nail polish and her job moonlighting as a Tooth Fairy than she is about Tansy. So her wish granting goes more than a little bit awry...and before Tansy knows what's happening, Robin Hood and his Merry Men are wrecking havoc in her home town.
Tansy's second wish has to be used to send them back, but she still has her third--and what can go wrong with wanting the ability to make gold? Plenty.
Now Tansy is stuck in the middle ages, stuck trying to spin straw into gold for bad King John. Her family (and their house) came back into the past with her, as did the cute police chief's son, Hudson. Her fairy godmother is utterly useless--sure, the beautiful dresses she magics for Tansy when she makes her brief appearances are beautiful, but having a pretty dress is beside the point when you've made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin that's rapidly turning sour....
If Edward Eager (Half Magic et seq.) were to have written a contemporary YA book with a bit of romance, something like this might have been the result. It has the same zany, humours insanity that happens when magic goes a bit askew...Those wishing to learn about the reign of King John won't find a particularly accurate portrayal of the past, but Rallison's take on the Rumpelstiltskin story should delight fans of fractured fairy tales. And there's enough underpinning of serious thought about how people make the stories of their own lives to keep this from being just fun fluff.
Today is the official release date of My Unfair Godmother (although it's been on bookstore shelves for a couple of days), and Rallison is giving a copy away at her blog. If you are looking for a fast, funny, read, do go enter!
This is Chrysanthemum Everstar's second appearance in print--her first book is My Fair Godmother. That one is a lot of fun too, and doesn't have to be read before this one.
(review copy received from the publisher)