Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

April 25, 2013 Alex Flinn, ARC, ARC Tour, Book Review, Fairytale, HarperTeen, Retelling, Towering, YA, Young Adult 29

Publication Date: May 14th 2013

From Goodreads:

At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

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So I must admit, the reason I was so wanting to read this book was because of my love for the movie, Tangled. I mean, Flynn Ryder is pretty awesome, right? And of course Rapunzel! My knowledge of the original fairy tale was, admittedly, very vague. So I was extremely excited to dive into this retelling and see how it could be adapted for the YA reader.

Towering is told mainly through the point of view of Wyatt, who has decided to temporarily move to the Adirondacks and stay with an old family friend after a traumatic event at home had left him in need to get away. He’s sad and lonely but finds himself distracted when he discovers the diary of the missing daughter of the woman he is staying with. Drawn to this diary,  Wyatt embarks on a search for clues to connect pieces that no one else in town seemed to have been able to make. The mystery was definitely my favorite part and I was left guessing through most of the novel, which I always like. For the most part, I found Wyatt to be a likable character. He was so sweet to the older woman, watching Star Trek and playing board games with her. Most of my issues had to deal with the romance which I will get to later.

Besides Wyatt’s point of view, we also get that of Rachel’s, though not quite as much as I would have liked. This girl has been locked in a tower for most of her life! Can you imagine how fascinated that could be? *sigh* But it felt a little flat. I think this book could have benefited from more from her point of view and life in the tower or maybe none at all, to leave it more mysterious perhaps. BUT, I thoroughly enjoyed how the author portrayed her as not the damsel in distress, but the hero. Major kudos for a strong female who can take care of herself!

It’s a retelling, so I can assume a bit of insta-love will be coming my way, but damn. I love you’s were said even faster than I expected. I would have liked for that to have been expanded with more time for us to fall in love with them as a couple. It felt very much like I was just being told they love each other and that it was time to get on with the story with them in such a manner. It really created a huge disconnect.

Besides all of that, the plot was pretty interesting. The mystery of the disappearances in town was a high point for me, as well as the magical elements like her hair and healing powers. I read up a little on the Brothers Grimm version of Rapunzel when I finished and I can see a lot of little connections I was none the wiser to as I was reading. The magical hair and healing tear drop similarities made me smile as I thought of Tangled, which is what I was mostly looking for, so overall I enjoyed this read.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

29 Responses to “Review: Towering by Alex Flinn”

  1. starryeyedjen

    I’ve only read one of this author’s retellings, and it fell a bit flat for me, too. I have another one on my shelf, but after reading your review and seeing that this is probably par for the course for her, I might just move that one to the giveaway pile. Also, I, too, really wanted to read this one because of my love for Tangled. I could watch that one with Katie every day. 😀

  2. lilybloombooks

    I’m not familiar with this one either, but it sounds interesting 🙂

    I might still give this a go, though you pointed out something that I really dislike.

    Great review!

  3. Synchronized Reading

    I’ve only read one book by the author, which was Beastly and I enjoyed it. I’ve seen this one around, but for some reason it didn’t quite catch my attention. Insta-love can really suck at time (the majority of the time), but I’m you found some good with this one. And I totally agree 🙂 Tangled was awesome!

    Janina @ Synchonized Reading

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      I still have not read Beastly and I’ve had it for such a long time now. This one immediately caught my attention with that pretty cover. It’s quite perfect for the book, really. 🙂

  4. Janeal Falor

    I’ve been excited about it too because of the Tangled connection. Tangled was such an awesome movie. But insta-loves aren’t really my thing. 🙁 Bummer.

  5. Lauren Elizabeth

    I’m not a big fan of instalove, but I think I can deal with it if it means a bit of Tangled reminiscing. Very glad to hear that the heroine takes care of herself and isn’t just a victim. 🙂 Great review!

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      I think I’m so accustomed to the Disney fairy tales and a bit of the damsel in distress so that’s why I was a little surprised to see Rachel turn out to be the hero. Pleasantly surprised.

  6. Candace

    Oh yuck about the insta love. I can handle it okay in some cases, but your description has me thinking it would bother me. I LOVE Tangled! Eek, I think we’re going to have to pull that one out again, I’m ready for some giggling!

  7. Alise (Readers In Wonderland)

    I also love Tangled, it’s probably the only animated movie I watch without kids LOL. Ooh, I definitely agree with you on the POV thing-there definitely needs to be more from her perspective. Great review!

  8. Tanja - Tanychy

    I so love this cover! But I don’t like retellings and I really can’t enjoy them so I’ll probably skip this one. Too bad you didn’t get more than one perspective. Great review 🙂


    I read Beastly by Alex Flinn a few years back and I remember liking that one a bit and then when I read Cloacked, I was just HUGELY dispointed. You’ve rekindled my interest in this one though so I think I’ll give it a try one of these days!Great Review
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  10. Sierra

    Instalove…that’s sad 🙁 I’ll still read it because it’s a retellings and Alex Flinn. But I’m already a bit disappointed 🙁

  11. Joyous Reads

    I have a couple of this author’s books and have only read Beastly. It was only okay for me, nothing spectacular. I wonder if I’ll be disappointed in this one too. I can be forgiving with insta-love sometimes so we’ll see. Great review, Sara.

  12. Rachel Edmundson

    I love Tangled too! One of the only movies I enjoy watching with my 4 year old daughter. I have only read one other fairy tale retelling and it was okay, so I’m not sure what I will think of this, but I think I am going to give it a try.

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