Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review of First Frost by Liz DeJesus

Way back in 1953, a song was introduced in the pop charts entitled Young At Heart. Frank Sinatra crooned the lyrics, and he must have worked his magic, because according to Wikipedia, it became a million-selling hit. Pretty impressive.

In case you aren’t familiar with the lyrics, I will tell you that the song begins by telling us that fairy tales can come true. That’s a pretty exciting idea for many young girls, because who doesn’t want to live a fairy-tale life? Hmmm. Interesting question. But before you make any snap judgments about it, perhaps you should look into the life of Bianca Frost.  She could give you some ideas about a fairy-tale life that you may not have considered.

Bianca Frost, by the way, is the heroine in Liz DeJesus’ latest YA release, First Frost. Here’s a little information about Liz.

Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico.  She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi'er Publishing, October 2007) and The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 31st 2011). Liz is currently working on a new novel.

Author's Links:

Also, in case you haven’t read all the great interviews and reviews Liz has already received regarding First Frost, I wanted to include her book blurb so that you can get a better idea of what the book’s about.

 For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within the museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is

Hmmm. When many of us think of fairytales, our thoughts turn to beautiful princesses, handsome and dashing princes, and, of course, a happily-ever-after. To make it interesting, we have to throw in a villain, of course, but one that can eventually be overthrown so that all ends well. At least, that’s what Disney has taught us.

Whether good or bad, over the years, fairytales have lost most of their gruesomeness and are much tamer than the stories the brothers Grimm first produced. That makes them much more pleasant for bedtime reading to our young children. But with First Frost, Ms. DeJesus has restored some of the fright factors in her tale. Her characters are not at all the stereotypical puppets one often expects in a fairytale, either.

I enjoyed this tale quite a bit. Bianca is a reluctant heroine, and those are often the best kinds. She’s tired of being a slave to the family business, and often resents her lot in life. After all, she’s a teenage girl, and wants a little excitement and variety. She should remember the old saying about being careful what you ask for, especially when there may be witches in your background.

I loved the character of the prince. I don’t want to give anything away, but he was a pleasant surprise for me, and Ms. DeJesus did an excellent job of painting vivid word pictures of his rather unique personality.

I also learned quite a bit in reading First Frost. Ms. DeJesus referenced several old tales that I had either forgotten or was not familiar with, and it was a nice addition to the story.

I will warn, however, that her villains are capable of quite unscrupulous behavior, and sometimes their actions bring about rather chilling results, so this isn’t something I would recommend for younger readers. Also, there is some offensive language that, although probably typical of a YA audience, I wouldn’t encourage for the younger set. She has listed the genre as YA, and I just don’t want any of my readers to get the impression that since it’s fairytale based that it would be a good choice for the younger readers.

My very favorite aspect of this story is the way Ms. DeJesus has showcased the power of love. She has tied the main characters together with heartstrings that are almost overwhelming at times with their sheer strength. I commend her for the way she accomplishes this with her word choices in the critical scenes. And she doesn’t limit these feelings to just Bianca and her prince, but has left us with no doubts that Bianca is truly the princess of this fairytale, and most definitely deserves her happily-ever-after.

I wish to thank Ms. DeJesus and Rachel Marks for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour. I don’t consider myself an official reviewer, so I don’t ever rate the books I choose to review. I do, however, limit my reviews to books that I would personally recommend to a friend.

Happy Reading,

Cordelia Dinsmore


Liz DeJesus said...

*hugs* Thanks for the wonderful review and for being a part of my blog tour. Such a lovely surprise. :D

Sharon Ledwith said...

Cheers, Liz! Wishing you all the best on your world-wind book blog tour! Hope First Frost never gets the cold shoulder! Wink! Shared!

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

I just apologize, Liz, that I didn't have time to check this morning to be sure this posted. Glad I caught it. I was so excited to get to review your book - it was one I had on my TBR list, and hadn't had time for. The tour was a great incentive.

Hope you get tons of lovely reviews, and I'll keep following so I can keep up with them.

Liz DeJesus said...

Thanks Sharon!! :D And don't worry Cordelia, it's all right. :) Thank you for taking the time to read and review my book. Still makes me blush every time I read all the nice things people have to say about my book. Still kinda a good way.

Margaret said...

Cordelia, lovely review!

Liz, all the best of luck with First Frost! I hope to see you on the bestseller lists one day (soon)!

dustycrabtree said...

Loved First Frost! Best of luck Liz!

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