The Wide-Awake Princess
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Genre: Fairytale, Middle-Grade
In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.
But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.
This is my second read-through of The Wide-Awake Princess, and I enjoyed it this second time around as much as the first. The reason for my reread, however, is because I was approved for the galley of its sequel Unlocking the Spell, so it's only fair to reread it so that I can post the review of the sequel.
Baker writes a very light-hearted fantasy fairytale of the vein of Ella Enchanted. The story deals with Sleeping Beauty's sister, who isn't affected by magic, so when everyone else in the castle falls asleep she realizes she's the only one who can help them.
The tale is full of all different fairytales, taken in a rather satirical light (for example the fairy who changes her sister's curse is called Sweetness'N'Light, no joke). There are pieces of Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Snow-White and Rose-Red and the Princess and the Pea, among others, and our main character works hard to overcome all odds and help her sister out.
In my opinion the story would lend really well to being read aloud to younger kids as the language lends to it.
I absolutely adored the fact that the Prince who was Gwen's one true love was the Bear Prince from Snow White and Rose Red, someone she would have never considered due to the fact that well, right now he happens to be a bear.
I also really enjoyed the revelation of Liam. You always knew that he kinda understood things a bit too well, but I really loved that Liam, like Annie is a bit of a misfit among fairy blessed royalty.
This is a very enjoyable, light-hearted MG fairytale. If you like books that combine fairytale characters together, you will enjoy this book, or if you're looking for a book to have your younger siblings or children read, I also recommend this book.