Arabella Grimsbro is a 15-year-old girl with a mouth like a dock worker and an attitude to match. When she walks into Voyages Through Literature—a cheesy mall store promising virtual reality tours of public domain classics—the last thing she expects is to be whisked away to an actual, magical world.
To make things worse, this Oz is very different from the one she saw in a movie when she was little. Ferocious beasts with grizzly bear bodies and tiger heads? A town of creepy, porcelain dolls? The Tin Woodsman lying broken and battered at the bottom of a ditch? Arabella will need more than surliness and silver slippers to find the answers at the end of this rainbow—or even just survive the trip.
A quick diversion:
Before I get to the review, can I just show you the Editor’s Note, which pretty much gives me life?
I laughed so hard at that and it perfectly establishes the tone of the book. Anyhow, moving on to an actual review, the actual review, as it were.
First off, that cover is just awesome pretty. Half Peruvian, angry ‘Dorothy’ is fearsome and I love her.
Secondly, I appreciate the diversity in the few non-Oz characters available to the author. (The Oz characters are, you know, a scarecrow, a tin man, a lion, a dog, some witches, flying monkeys, munchkins, etc. So, you know, Youngmark was maybe a little tied down with them.)
Thirdly, this book is funny. Utterly ridiculous, of course, but purposefully so. It’s completely hammed up. I had a ball with it.
Having said all that, I am glad it isn’t any longer than it is. Because for all its humor, it is still the story of Dorothy in Oz, a completely known and predictable plot. It is at the end of the day a one trick pony and if it had been much longer the schtick wouldn’t have been enough to carry it and I’d have lost interest. As it is, it ended in time and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
What I’m drinking: Look I figured this was the sort of book that would pair well with alcohol. So, I’m drinking Seagrum’s gin and orange-mango juice. Yes, I do realize that is an odd mix, but it came down to what was available in the house and it was gin and tropical juice or that stuff on the right. Since I did actually want to remember reading the book, the Chinese fire water wasn’t really an option. As it is, you might notice almost every picture is a little off kilter. Sorry ’bout that.