Into the Wild

By Sarah Beth Durst

This was me explaining Into the Wild to a colleague: “So, there’s this girl, Julie, and she’s normal but her mom is Rapunzel. Like, THE Rapunzel. And they’re living in the real world because they escaped The Wild, which is this creepy forest that seems to be in every fairy tale. They escaped because when you’re a fairy tale character, you have to keep reliving the same story over and over and have no choice. And the characters wanted FREEDOM! So what’s left of The Wild is living under Julie’s bed. Until someone gets to THE wishing well – which is WAY off-limits – and wishes it to be free. So all the fairy tale creatures PLUS everyone who lived near Julie are sucked back in and Julie has to go rescue everyone! And there’s action and humor and magic and It. Is. Awesome.” Complete with hand gestures.

There’s actually: a lot more to it, but somehow this crazy rant/description/impassioned plea to order the book for the collection was better than any summary I wrote and erased within the last hour. So, I went with that instead of a Brief Summary today.

This book is all action: There is very little exposition at the beginning of the book – or even throughout. I was reminded of Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three because both the reader and Julie, the heroine, are finding out the vital information in little bits and pieces as the story develops. Also, because…

Like any good fairy tale,: there are some really amazing moral-of-the-story moments (some are more subtle than others) that really add backbone to this lovely romp.

The small touches: were really what made this book stand out to me, though. Durst puts in both small and large nods to fairy tales, their characters and many of the props and settings so vital to the tales themselves. Cinderella driving an orange car? Love.

My favorite quote: had to be this one, when Julie stumbled upon a stack of mattresses with a pea hidden underneath to determine who was a Princess:

What did a pea have to do with being a princess? How could a vegetable confirm an identity?”

Another blurb from the convo with my coworker: “It would have been an amazing movie. I want it to be a movie. How do I make it into a movie? I know creative people!” (This context makes the book seem old. It’s only a few years old. It was published in 2007. So, maybe it will be a movie…someday?)

What I most wanted to do after reading this book: The sequel is on the desk next to me. Woot!

Where this book came from: Leila at Bookshelves of Doom got my attention on this one and I’m so glad I ILL’d it to the library!

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