Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: on-stage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a night-time trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye

A YA fairy tale.

Wondrous Strange is the first of faerie trilogy and is on top of that, the debut novel of Livingston. It's well written and engaging, and I'm sure the target YA age group will love it. Personally I found the romance a bit too simple minded (but maybe I'm just an old crone when I shake my head at girls falling in love with beautiful men they've only seen a passing glimpse off). However the romance does evolve into a sweet story and the plot is filled to the brim with magic, action and faeries.

It was well written and I found the faeries' history and background most interesting. The characters are not the most evolved creations ever, but they do work.

I took me a long time to make up my mind about what I actually thought of this book. Up until half way through, it was merely okay, but from then on the plot developed and got deeper and far more interesting, and I've ended up quite liking it. The YA romance it contains is a bit too... YA for me I guess, but the story was very original and sweet and it is well written, so I will be generous and give it 4 stars. Following this book is Darklight and the soon to be published Tempestuous.

266 pages / published in 2009
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011


  1. A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite Shakespeare. This book sounds cute, but like you, I think the romance part would put me off a bit.

    And you hit the nail on the head about Sherlock Holmes - how I am supposed to solve it if you only reveal the vital clue at the end?

  2. I suppose one of the reasons why we rarely review YA romance is because we are old crones ourselves. But we love the Newbery genre of YA lit. Regardless, it is still good to be aware of the 'zeitgeist' of the time and check out what them young 'uns are reading and be familiarized with the general culture. I read most of these books for research and yes for the closet teenybopper in me. When we started out though, we didn't realize that YA lit has this slant or connotation (the teenybopper romance) - we were under the impression that it was Lois Lowry, Cornelia Funke, and the Philip Pullman kind. But hey, that's a learning experience for us. And I for one, always keep an open mind when it comes to reading new books. I like to be surprised every now and again. Keeps me young. Hahaha. =)


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