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Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

A review of Robin Palmer's Wicked Jealous, a modern Snow White retelling.

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

BOOK REPORT for Wicked Jealous by Robin Palmer

Cover Story: Truth In Advertising
BFF Charm: Yep
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Once Upon A Beach
Bonus Factor: Fairy Tales
Relationship Status: Concession Stand Flirtation

Cover Story: Truth In Advertising

Pink and girly looking -- pretty much exactly what the book is. The apple is a nice little clue to the story (Snow White) rather than an attempt to snare Twihards, so it's forgiven.

The Deal:

Simone Walker is pretty happy with her life. Sure, she's the Weird Fat Girl, and only has one friend, and yeah, maaaaybe her dad's crazy girlfriend is trying to kill her, but … ok. Her life sucks, and eating a case of Tastykakes after school every day isn't helping. When she gets forced into a Zumba class by the slang-challenged community center secretary, Cookie, what could have been a nightmare ends up being the best thing that ever happened to her. Ditto on moving in for the summer with her college-aged brother and his six buddies -- after a serious discussion on the merits of using a trash can and dishwasher instead of the floor or any other available flat surface, living with a bunch of dudes isn't the worst thing that could happen. It's better than living with a jealous soon-to-be-stepmother who might be trying to kill you, right? And if there's a Prince Charming in the bargain, who's going to complain?

BFF Charm: Yep

I like old Simone. She's funny, and yeah, she needs to loosen up a little bit, but who doesn't? She has pretty great taste in films, although I'd like to see her branch out from Truffault and maybe check out Terry Gilliam or Robert Altman, or if she's stuck on foreign films, Kurosawa and Bergman are essentials for beginners. Besides, if we're BFFs, maybe I can use her employee discount at the unbelievable vintage thrift store One Man's Garbage is Another Man's Treasure.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

There are a couple of romantic subplots going on here, one with a popular boy and one with another whom I won't name, because it seems sort of spoilery. Anyway, neither guy got me hot and bothered, and Simone's such an innocent that she deliberately doesn't take things beyond sweet -- and that's fine, but this lady here's no innocent. The romance isn't central to the plot, despite it's … uh … central placement in the plot, since the book is really about a girl figuring out how to be confident and love herself for who she is. And self-love doesn't usually up the swoon for me, ha.

Talky Talk: Once Upon A Beach

So this is a retelling of Snow White, complete with seven Disney-fied dwarves and a wicked stepmother and a deadly apple allergy. It's also a beach-read retelling, not a dystopian steampunk zombie retelling, so it's quick and fun and requires surprisingly little suspension of disbelief (hey, it's set in LA, where everyone's supposedly crazy, right?), doesn't attempt to be the Next Big Thing, and has about the same nutritional content as a case of Tastycakes.

Bonus Factor: Fairy Tales

I like fairy tales (I especially like Alix's retellings), and like I just said above, I appreciate one that just retells the story, and doesn't try to set it in vampire-infested Feudal Japan in outer space. I also liked that Simone did NOT require a Prince Charming to break the evil queen's spell.

Casting Call:

Selena Gomez as Simone

Despite Simone's professed hatred of Selena, Demi and their ilk, I can't think of anyone else to cast (sorry, KStew). Because let's be honest -- this book isn't going to be made into a movie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, no matter how much Simone would swoon over it. But Selena Gomez has gotta eat a few sheet cakes from Ralph's before she gets the part -- even a slimmed-down Simone is a size 10 (and good on her).

Relationship Status: Concession Stand Flirtation

It's summer, and I can't help scoping out the cute book who works at the concession stand each time I get my afternoon ice cream cone. I get giggly and look forward to ice cream time -- we flirt, and maybe sometimes our fingers touch when I get my change, but I'm not going to scribble my number on a napkin or anything.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin.  I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Wicked Jealous is available now.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.