Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: A Kiss in Time

Alex Flinn
Young Adult
371 pages
Harper Teen
Available Now

One more trip to a stuffy European museum and this will officially be the worst trip of Jack's life. Would it kill them to take an excursion to the beach? There are girls at the beach. European ones, which means there's the possibility they'll be topless. Much better than a museum.

To avoid a possibly fatal case of boredom, Jack and his friend Travis quickly decide to leave their tour group behind, manage to irritate the hotel concierge so much he gives them the wrong directions to the beach in the process, and consequently find themselves in the middle of a medieval-looking town populated by a large number of unconscious people. The castle they discover yields no better results than the town, everyone asleep there as well, until Jack stumbles across a room in a tower where a beautiful young girl rests peacefully.

Jack feels compelled to kiss her for reasons he doesn't understand, and after he does, he finds himself face to face with a fully awake princess, proclaiming him to be her one true love and the one who's broken her curse. Wanting to escape the ire of her father the king, Talia convinces Jack to take her home with him, determined to make him love her and fulfill a witch's prophecy dispensed over three hundred years ago. Thus, a journey begins where both Jack and Talia start out searching for different things, but soon find themselves wishing for the same fate in this humorous retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

Every once in a while it's undeniably refreshing to read a story full of charm and whimsy, one that sweeps us off our feet in a torrent of sweet simplicity and brings a giddy smile to our faces as though our very own prince charming has just stepped from the pages and pledged his undying love. Reality is eclipsed by fantasy, whisking us away to a world where fairy tales are not merely stories passed from generation to generation for entertainment, but instead are tangible truths, weaving their spell through real life and bringing with them a joyful effervescence that speaks to the child in us who loves to believe in magic. Humor abounds, new and old worlds collide, and a heartwarming destiny is fulfilled as we walk alongside Jack and Talia, laughing at their antics and reveling in their merriment.

Talia is positively adorable, approaching her new environment with a playful curiosity, questioning the smallest of details and viewing the world with an innocence and purity that forces us to take a step back and appreciate our own surroundings so we may share in some of pleasure of her experience. Though she is severely lacking in modesty, Talia is not the least bit vain, her beauty instead a mere statement of fact. She does not lord her station over Jack, nor force those she meets to gratefully condescend to her magnificence as one might expect a medieval princess to do; instead her royal visage is rapidly discarded as she gleefully appreciates each and every moment with the boy who broke her curse and his family. She is utterly genuine despite being a chronological implausibility, and it's nearly impossible not to be affected by the incandescence she effortlessly radiates page to page.

Perhaps most entertaining is watching as two people previously unhappy, though somewhat unaware as to the extent of their misery, with the direction of their lives find themselves traveling a new path together, one paved with the wishes and dreams they fear to admit to themselves or others as they walk side by side with the person who has the potential to bring them immeasurable happiness. Both Jack and Talia have hidden their innermost desires, trapped by the expectations of those around them and burdened with the pressures of fulfilling their commitments and obligations to their family, only discovering the strength of their own passion for something different through a relationship with one another. Each is granted the ability to see their life through the unbiased and naive eyes of the other, thereby halting their willingness to succumb to what's been outlined for them, and allowing them both to find the voice that's been suppressed formerly by a sense of duty.

A Kiss in Time pulls us into a fantastical story characterized by joy and fancifulness, one that doesn't take itself too seriously, finding amusement in the unbelievable and levity in the usually dramatic teenage true love scenario. It's one that is content and successful in it's relative superficiality, keeping us thoroughly entertained without leaving us with any lingering questions or haunting memories. Pick this one up if you want to breath a sigh of contentment upon reading the conclusion, completely satisfied by an endearing tale of discovering one's place in life, in love, and in happily ever after.

Rating: 4/5


  1. Wow, what a great review. Brilliantly written, as usual, and the read seems really good too. I'll have to look out for this one in bookstores :D

  2. Thanks for the great review!!!!
    I've been wanting to read some of his books but I dont know why I halted...

  3. I love Happily Ever After's!! Thanks for the review. I wanted to pick this book up but decided not to. Now I really want to read it.

  4. I liked this modern retelling of a fairy tale, but I loved "Beastly" by Alex Flinn more. Have you read that one yet, Jenny? My favorite parts of that book is the online chats with other fairy tale characters. I hope to see the movie soon.

  5. Aw, this one sounds sweet! I am not a huge fan of fairytale retellings. Actually, I have read just one, but I didn't like it. Maybe I'll give this one a try. Thanks for the great review! :)

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed this Jenny! I found it so fun and refreshing in a sea of heavy books. I love how in depth your review of it is, too! :D

  7. Wonderful review! You have a way with words that I am truly envious of. I liked Beastly well enough and according to Small Review this one is better so I'm definitely adding this to my lengthy TBR list. Will you be checking out Cloaked when it is released?

  8. I really need to read some Alex Flinn. A Kiss in Time sounds like such a fun sweet book. I'll be adding this into my pile.

  9. Vee - Thank you! I think you'll like this one if you're looking for something light and fun:)

    Niecole - You're welcome, hope you give it a try now!

    Savy - I do too, and this one was just plain cute.

    Rummanah - I haven't read Beastly yet, I started with this one. Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorite fairy tales though, so I have high hopes for it!

    Leanna - If you're not a fan of fairytale retellings this one may not be for you, but I think it's well done:)

    Melissa - Thanks for the rec! It was a nice break from some of the deeper, more thought provoking reads and I found it refreshing.

    Aylee - Thank you so much! I'll definitely be checking out Cloaked, Alex Flinn has me hooked:)

    Adriana - you should! It was just a fun read, nothing difficult or challenging, but something entertaining and enjoyable:)

  10. I'm so glad you liked this one! You touched on exactly the reasons I enjoyed it. I loved how Flinn had Talia and Jack learn from one another and grow throughout the story.

  11. Great Review! I haven't heard of this book, but now I'm intrigued! I'm going to put it on my TBR list :o)

  12. Your reviews are so lovely... you have a gift of words! This one sounds quite good... I wouldn't have expected the light aspect, with the cover being like that. I'll definitely have to check it out.

  13. Small - I did! Now I'm looking forward to reading Beastly and Cloaked:)

    Laura - Thank you, hope you give it a try!

    Ashley - Thanks so much! It was cute and light which was a nice break from some of the heavier YA I'd been reading:)

  14. What a cool story! It's rare to have a male POV, but even more unusual to have a male POV in a fairy tale fantasy. This sounds like a sweet, fun book.

  15. I think this would be refreshing to read just because it is from the guys POV. What a fantastic review!

  16. Oh, my! Joy, amusement, and happily ever after? This sounds like something I must read, and soon. I've been overcome with too many depressing novels lately. I'm definitely going to be picking this one up soon. :) Thank you for your review, which was, as always, wonderful! :)

  17. I've been wanting to read this as well as the new one to be out, Cloaked Now, after this review, I want to read them even more. Thanks for this review. I've been curious about it, but haven't really heard too much about this one.

  18. Eee! Squealing with excitement because I JUST was notified that this book is waiting for me at the library, and now I read your great review. Cannot wait to get started on it then!

  19. Alison - It alternates between Jack and Talia's POV, but I loved Jack's sections:)

    Felicia - Thanks, I enjoyed getting a different perspective:)

    Kristina - This would be a nice distraction for you then, it helped me get ready for the more profound books again:)

    Melissa - I'm really looking forward to Cloaked now!

    Anna - Can't wait to see what you think:)

  20. I hadn't heard of this before. Honestly I might have passed it up based on the summary, but after reading your review I feel like I should give this one a shot. Thanks!

  21. Wonderful review!!! Write a book already lady!!!

    And this sounds just delightful...WANT!!

  22. Jenny, I got to agree with the comment above. You + Write = Book!

    I'm so glad to read your thoughts on this one because I haven't read anything by Alex Flinn yet but I've heard mixed things about the books, especially Beastly. But how can you not love a humorous telling and getting lost in the magic?

    You have charmed my pants off as usual (seriously, you could sell cow patties to a Texan) and now I can't wait to get my hands on this book.

  23. Angelique - Ha! I can figure out how to write my thoughts on books pretty well, but I don't know that I could write a whole book. I might bore people to tears:)

    Missie - You need to stop saying such nice things, I'm going to get a big head! I've yet to read Beastly so I don't know much about that one, but AKiT was really cute:)

  24. I can't even begin to tell you how much I adore your reviews Jenny. I've been meaning to get around to reading this one, but work got in the way, so only coming around to comment now.

    You know, for some reason I've been rather reluctant to read this one - not quite sure why because I'm a huge fan of fairytale retellings. I finally have the answer to that now and that is that no one reviewed it as thoroughly and as engagingly as you did.

    You capture the essence of a book so wonderfully, that I can't help but be charmed and beguiled - as if I'm experiencing the book without reading it. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR pile.

    A truly wonderful review Jenny!

  25. I really enjoyed your review - it made me move the book up in my TBR pile so I'll get to it sooner. :)