Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by HarperTeen on May 14, 2013
Reviewed by: Kate
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.
As a person who has enjoyed fairy tale retellings my entire life, I was looking forward to TOWERING. I was curious how Flinn would retell the story of a girl who lived in a tower in a modern day setting. It seemed like quite the challenge. Unfortunately, it ended up being a completely implausible and awkwardly written story that was very disappointing.
TOWERING’s biggest failing was the fact that I found it remarkably unbelievable. As you all know, I read books about vampires, werewolves, and fairies on a regular basis, so the fact that I found TOWERING completely ridiculous really says something. I think part of the reason I felt this way was that the book was set in our modern day world, with no explanation for the supernatural elements that were introduced. For example, one aspect revealed near the end was that there were characters who had visions in their dreams, but it felt like it was justification after the fact, solely contrived to explain an earlier happening.
Aside from the fact that I couldn't get past the supernatural elements, the writing in TOWERING is very choppy and frustratingly slow. The dialogue didn't flow very well and there were times when I felt like conversations were dragging. This contributed to the fact that the book started out extremely slowly and was very hard to get into. There were a few times when I put it down and didn't really want to pick it up again. Plus, for most of the novel, I didn't really feel anything for either of the characters. I did have some sympathy for Wyatt after he relates to Rachel the story of his friend Tyler, but that part happened too late in the novel for it to make much of a difference. All of those things combined made TOWERING very hard to finish, especially at the end where I was supposed to suspend quite a bit of disbelief.
On the upside, TOWERING didn't feature a love triangle, and I did like reading the sections of Dani's journal, but those were few and far between. All in all, there just weren't enough redeeming qualities for me to really enjoy the story. I’m left feeling ambivalent about TOWERING, and not eager to try any of Flinn's other fairy tale retellings.