The Mall Fairies: Exile by Conda V. Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I can't remember whether I bought this book or if I won it on a blog tour. Nevertheless, however I obtained it, I was determined to do my duty as a good neighbor (this book is from my own publisher, MuseItUp) and read/review it.
I paged forward to Chapter 1 and started reading. OMG! I'm looking at 66,000 words of 5-8 year old picture book material! I stopped short of pounding the 'book' on my desktop when I realized that it was my Kindle that would get the pounding. Bad idea.
Heaving a huge sigh, I forged ahead reading about Swoop the fairy and her hot/cold struggle with the fairy laws and human Grace with her huge load of guilty baggage. I felt bad with Swoop when she discovers her best friend, One Wing, breaking Rule Number 1 of Fairy Law. He's not only shown himself to a human, but seems to be best buddies with the drunk old lady in the Christmas shop in the mall. Even worse, the old lady appears to have made a doll which looked exactly like One Wing. Fretting over this potential exposure of fairydom, Swoop decides to steal the doll and get her friend back to Haven, the fairy home located in the shopping mall's attic.
Meanwhile, Grace is trying to figure out how to save the old drunk lady (who happens to be her grandmother) from being shipped off to the looney bin. After all, she claims to see fairies and spends half her time loaded to the gills. Grace also wants to get the heck out of the dead-end little town and go to a school of design. Double down on the guilt.
Next time I looked at the clock, I was up a good hour past my usual lights out time. Yeah, I was dragged into this story despite my fear of it being a huge long sappy Disney barf festival of a fairytale.
Damn it! Conda Douglas somehow made this made-for-toddlers world into an exciting and emotion-laden story of parallel lives: Swoop and Grace struggle mightily to solve the burdens placed on them by friends and family. They make mistakes and worsen the situations half the time, then have to race extra hard to make up for the errors.
The Mall Fairies is not a sugary little tale for kids barely past the picture book stage. It's just a darn good book about friendship, family, making mistakes, growing up, and getting wiser from being stupid.
I recommend this first book of the The Mall Fairies series. If I hadn't fallen upon this book almost by accident, I wouldn't have read it. Too young for this old lady I'd think, but I'd have been wrong. I'm glad I chanced upon it. Sometimes being forced to read or see something is exactly how you discover something really great.
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