Monday, February 11, 2013

Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

TITLE: Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel
AUTHOR: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Merit Press/December 18, 2012
SERIES: Yes, The Twisted Lit Series
SOURCE: For review from the publishers via Netgalley

Goodreads / Series' Website

Hm, so I really really wanted to like this book. I really did. Like, YA, Shakespeare, modern retelling, come on! And don't get me wrong, I liked it, I did, but maybe my hopes were just a little too high? This is a pretty solid quick and easy read, it just didn't blow my mind. But then again, I tend to have super high expectations for my re-tellings. So liked yes, loved not so much? 

Tempestuous is about Miranda Prospero, former queen bee at her elite prep school, current social pariah after being caught in an SAT cheating scandal. She's used to running things, manipulating situations, and now she's working at the corn dog shack. Nothing's great, but things are going along until a blizzard hits town, locking the mall employees and a bunch of shoppers from the prep school in overnight. Oh yah, and there's a robber on the loose. It's pretty much the perfect time for hi-jinks and just a little bit of drama. 

I'm going to start out with the bit I didn't like then move onto the good because well let's just get it out of the way. Tempestuous is a VERY loose take on The Tempest.  Miranda isn't so much a take on Shakespeare's Miranda as she is Prospero. She has her friend Ariel who seems to do her bidding and she does like to manipulate events. That's kind of where the comparisons end though. After actually having worked on a production of The Tempest this was a little disappointing. On the plus side, I enjoyed the quotes from different plays strewn throughout the text. And I'm not going to lie, The Tempest can be prettty racist, all that was cut out. Definitely for the best. (Although if you're looking for a post colonial interpretation, look to Aime Cesaire's A Tempest.)

This was a fun book to read and maybe it will peak somebody's interest in Shakespeare. I really loved the relationships that the mall staff formed. These sorts of bonds at these low paying customer service jobs happen (trust me) and it just seemed like a cohesive, but strange group. They were all pretty quirky and these people just reminded me so much of my high school experience, just maybe a little heightened. There was also some meet cute style romance going on. And believe me I love a good romantic comedy. So between Ariel, Miranda, Chad and Caleb I was sold. 

I also really loved how the extreme circumstances prompted character growth over the course of one night. I also love that the characters didn't change who they were completely. Miranda, not a perfect character. She's definitely a former mean girl and my god does she know how to get back at people, but I kind of didn't mind. She matured over the course of the novel while retaining her sense of self. 

I'm glad I gave this book a shot. It was far from perfect, but I definitely enjoyed it. I might not recommend it to all of my hard core Shakespeare fan friends, but it was a fun, easy YA read. 

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