It may look like it’s just a Rapunzel retelling, but Towering is so much more.
The story follows Wyatt, a high school senior who moves in with his mother’s best friend’s mom in a tiny town in the Adirondaks to escape a tragedy involving his friend Tyler. After a weird and freaky episode the very first night he arrives in his new home, Tyler develops a tiny obsession with Danielle Greenwood, the missing daughter of the sweet old lady he lives with. He tries to make friends with other teens in town, but is constantly distracted by singing that seems to be brought to him by the wind.
Rachel, on the other hand, lives in a tower in the middle of the woods. The only human contact she has is with Mama, who visits her every night (and gives off a majorly creepy vibe). Her only distractions are books (she is so lonely she kind of befriends the characters) and singing. She longs to break free from her tower, but she is just waiting for the right time.
By intertwining Wyatt and Rachel’s stories, Alex Flinn has crafted a creepy, modern mystery that kept me guessing throughout the story. Rachel is no Rapunzel waiting for a prince to rescue her and Wyatt is so real it’s like Flinn was writing about a teen I know. Th plot takes a while to get moving, however, and I found the beginning a little confusing due to vague references to past events. The lack of description is to set up the air of mystery and all is revealed later, but I had a hard time loving the beginning and parts of the middle. The end kept me on the edge of my seat, however.
Even if you have not read any other book in this series, you should check out Towering despite my 3 star rating. The Kendra Chronicles stories are independent of each other, so there is no back story to catch up on and the mystery, plus changes to the Rapunzel story make this novel worth reading.
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: May 14, 2013
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.
Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.
Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.
Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.
A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!
About the Author
I was born in a log cabin in the Big Woods of . . . okay, maybe not. I was born on Long Island, New York. When I was five years old, my mom said that I should be an author. I guess I must have nodded or something because, from that point on, every poem I ever wrote in school was submitted to Highlights or Cricket magazine. I was collecting rejection slips at age seven!
I learned to read early. But I compensated for this early proficiency by absolutely refusing to read the programmed readers required by the school system — workbooks where you read the story, then answered the questions. When the other kids were on Book 20, I was on Book 1! My teacher, Mrs. Zeiser, told my mother, “Alexandra marches to her own drummer.” I don’t think that was supposed to be a good thing. Now, when my daughter, Katie, brings home FCAT prep materials where you are supposed to read a passage and answer questions, I want to ask the teacher, “Does she really need to do this? She can read!!!”
My family moved to Miami when I was in middle school. I had a really hard time making friends, so I spent a lot of time reading and writing then. But unlike Christopher Paolini or Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, I never finished writing a novel. That was also when I learned to be a keen observer. By high school, I’d made some friends and gotten involved in various “gifted and talented” performing arts programs. I studied opera in college (I’m a coloratura — the really loud, high-pitched sopranos.) and then went to law school.
It was law school that probably helped with my first novel. Breathing Underwater deals with the serious and all-too-common problem of dating violence. I based the book on my experiences interning with the State Attorney’s Office and volunteering with battered women. I thought this was a really important topic, as 27 percent of teenage girls surveyed have been hit by a boyfriend. I’m happy that the book is so popular, and if you are reading this bio because the book was assigned for school, I’m happy about that too.
I started writing an early (and laughable) version of Breathing Underwater in college (I was really bored on a car trip with my parents). I didn’t get back to it until I had my first daughter, Katie. I’m self-taught. I went to the library and took out books on writing. Then, I read a lot of young-adult novels by writers I admired, particularly Richard Peck. Reading his books is like listening to Mozart — you learn the right way to write a novel. Then, you fill in your own style. I actually got to meet Richard Peck in person at a workshop of the Key West Literary Seminar. Lots of writers have been really helpful to me, especially Richard and fellow YA author, Joyce Sweeney.
I think I write for young-adults because I never quite got over being one. In my mind, I am still 13-years-old, running laps on the athletic field, wearing this really baggy white gymsuit. I’m continually amazed at the idea that I have a checking account and a mortgage. So I try to write books that gymsuit girl might enjoy. It’s a way of going back to being 13…knowing what I know now.
Right now, I live half a mile away from my old middle school, in Palmetto Bay, a suburb of Miami, with my husband, Gene, and daughters, Katie and Meredith.