Title: Diary of a Teenage Fairy Godmother
Series: Diary of a Teenage Fairy Godmother, #1
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Ink Lion Books
Release Date: April 1st, 2013
Length: 295 pages
Source: Gifted by my friend Silvia
A Fairy Godmother is not some pixie in a pink tutu. She’s a guardian and a warrior. Lilliana Skye is sent undercover to a Texas high school to save one of Cinderella’s troubled descendants, but everything goes wrong.
Jessica Harrison hates Lilliana. She doesn’t believe in fairytale magic or happily-ever-afters. Jess is tough, angry, and so intelligent it’s scary. If she ever did see a mythical fairy she would probably stomp it into oblivion with her army boots. Matters go from bad to worse when Jess’s older brother meets Lilliana and falls hard for the new girl. And Lilliana can’t keep her wayward heart in check. Jake is, well, just plain dangerous.
Falling in love with a human is forbidden, not to mention… deadly.
Diary of a Teenage Fairy Godmother started out with promise: an interesting world concept, a challenge for the protagonist, supporting characters with potential, and a chemical romantic attraction.
It first started turning me off when the male love interest went from “I’m attracted to you” to “I would die for you” (and seemed to lose all interest or concern in his sister, best friend, and everything else) in the span of less than a week. For some reason, I can accept that Jess’ demanding attitude and barbs wouldn’t drive away her two underdeveloped best friends, and that she’d somehow be a world-class hacker with spy equipment. But when teenagers profess a sudden undying instalove, it’s not love, it’s sexual attraction. So when the rest of the plot is predicated on that love, it feels cheap and I no longer trust that the characters are being smart humans (or even trying to be smart humans).
But the true dividing point was when, halfway through, Baldwin resorted to stealing from other authors. I think the first instance that threw me right out of the story was Lilliana trying to get into the elf kingdom and first determining the language was Sindarin not Quenya (naming the languages was completely irrelevant to the plot, and if you can’t even come up with your own terms I’m gonna start giving you the hairy eyeball). Then Lilliana has a total “speak friend and enter” moment. Now, if this story had AT ALL previously references Tolkien in any way that ground it partially in that universe, I could maybe see it as an homage. But after creating her own world, the author directly rips from a well-known story for a scene that serves no purpose to the plot? That’s lazy writing. She does this for a few more scenes (trying to be cute?) before finally getting back to the plot.
So at this point, the stakes are high-ish as the villain is a flat, predictable, power-hungry fairy. There’s an ally who truly embodies the whole ‘fairy godmother’ concept, which I thought was nicely played (you know- she’s grandmotherly, she seems to have unlimited magical potential but she never harms anyone, she’s sweet and empowering). But then it’s a way-too-drawn-out physical fit against the villain and her minions, which seemed more chaotic than actually dangerous. Of course, that leads to the over-the-top (and kind of gross) romantic savior moment where undying love is professed and all that. Apparently, Lilliana’s main mission means absolutely nothing because now it’s all about the swoons. And shelving the interesting, angry, smart female character in favor of a shallow romance was the last straw.
I’m a coffee-fueled, hobby-addicted bibliophage who makes cruelty-free mineral eye shadows (inspired by novels). I’m usually in front of a screen (writing, reading, or gaming), but I’ve been known to emerge for geekery, good food, and dark chocolate.