Once Upon A Toad
Heather Vogel Frederick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary, Fairytale, Young Adult
A girl gets into a mouthful of trouble in this modern fractured fairy tale, from the author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club. Once upon a time, Cat Starr lived with her astronaut mom in Houston. But when her mother gets sent on a long-term mission, Cat has to move to a far away land—her dad’s house, halfway across the country—and share a room with her real-life evil stepsister, Olivia. Just when Cat can’t take it anymore, Great-Aunt Abyssinia comes to the rescue. And things go from bad to worse.The next morning, Cat opens her mouth and a toad hops out! What’s more, when Olivia speaks, diamonds and flowers appear. How unfair is that? Before you can say "happily ever after," the girls are on the run from jewel thieves and a government agency. Can Cat save the day—and get rid of all those toads?This is an enchanting fractured fairy tale from acclaimed Mother-Daughter Book Club author Heather Vogel Frederick.
To begin with Once Upon A Toad is a very different type of Fairytale Adaption than I usually read. As anyone whose noticed my reading pattern my now, pretty much the only traditionally YA Contemporary books that I read are thrillers or horrors. I rarely, if ever, read the light hearted tales of growing up, and this book is one of those tales.
The idea of the book is well done. It takes the fairytale of "Toads and Diamonds" and inflicts it on two stepsisters who pretty much hate each other.
The girls are true rivals, the main character's step-sister on the surface fulfils the role of evil step-sister very well, yet at the same time Frederick gave her quite a bit of depth, giving her hobbies, goals and dreams. Most of her reasons for disliking the main character are childish, left over from when their parents first got married.
The book is very lighthearted and is meant to be a comedy as well as a story about sisterhood and growing up, learning to put old feelings behind you and forge something new.
The fairy godmother is a riot! I'd love to hear more stories that she would be at the cause of. At the same time she does almost cross into the line of being too silly and her picking up the characters of the diner woman and the Elvis impersonator felt really superfluous
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys lighthearted Contemporary YA Fiction, because this book is of that style. It's also a good book to recommend if you have a sibling or child who really enjoyed Ella Enchanted due to its fairytale and simplistic nature.