Title: Rapunzel Untangled
Author: Cindy C. Bennett
Rapunzel has been confined to her own few rooms in Gothel Manor for as long as she can remember, not that she has ever had a problem with it. She has SCID, or Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, which means that any contact with germs could result in her death. And according to a prophecy, Rapunzel's hair is magic and is the key to saving the world, so Rapunzel is quite content to live in her tower with only her mother for contact in order to protect herself.
That all changes when Rapunzel joins Facebook and befriends a boy named Fane. Having never communicated with anyone besides her mother, Fane introduces Rapunzel to the world outside of her tower and what it means to be a teenager. Suddenly Rapunzel is breaking all the rules and in the process discovers that everything her mother told her may not be the whole truth.
While reading the first few chapters, I was a little unsure of how I would like this retelling. Rapunzel and Fane meet on Facebook, and though the two characters had to meet and communicate in some way despite Rapunzel's isolation, I cringe a bit whenever social media is brought into a book. I think naming specific sites such as Facebook and Skype really limits the audience of a text because it makes it too obvious that this story takes place in a time when both programs are popular; if those two sites ever become obsolete, readers won't get the reference.
However, it was necessary to have some form of communication to connect the two characters, so I just accepted the reference as a part of the story, because how else could they possibly communicate? The more I read, the more I liked the purpose that the online communication served in the book. It does a great job of illustrating how ignorant Rapunzel is of expressions, acronyms, and pop culture references, and how her isolation doesn't just limit her contact with people but also limits her contact with the world and the things that regular kids take for granted. Plus it was also cute to see Rapunzel and Fane get to know each other without seeing each other face-to-face, and how their friendship develops throughout the book.
I also liked the motivation behind Gothel, Rapunzel's mother. I wasn't sure how similar her motivation would be to Mother Gothel's in the movie Tangled, but I was glad to learn that it was different. The book slowly reveals her motivation as Rapunzel becomes more and more curious about the world outside of her tower; though her motivation is pretty dark, I liked that I got to learn along with Rapunzel, instead of knowing and watching Rapunzel's discovery.
Magic plays an important role in this book, and though it isn't until later in the book that we learn about its complete role, I felt a little unsatisfied with how magic fits into the world. Though this story is Rapunzel's story, I would have liked to know a bit more about the magic that some of the characters use/possess, where the magic comes from, and why it fits in this world.
Why I Picked Up This Book
I have always liked retellings of fairy tales, and when I saw that the ARC of this book was available on NetGalley, I decided to request it.