Friday, February 19, 2010

Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine

Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine. HarperCollins, 2006.

15-year-old Aza is not beautiful. Her dark hair, pale mottled skin, and large stature lead others in the kingdom of Ayortha to stare and comment. But even though she isn't beautiful, she was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and a gift for voice manipulation and mimicry (or illusing, as she calls it). The kingdom's new queen, Ivi, finds out about her vocal gifts and pressures her to convince the court that Ivi is a talented singer. Ivi is manipulative and, after the king is hurt in an accident, uses her newfound power to become a domineering leader. Can Aza keep the kingdom from crumbling while also demonstrating outward loyalty to Ivi?

In this loose retelling of the story of Snow White, Gail Carson Levine uses her talents to create a realistic portrayal of issues of trust, identity, and love. A collection of editorial reviews can be found at

ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Twists on the Tale (2010) (link)
Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee (Middle Grades, 2008-2009)
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2006)


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