I don’t normally read, or enjoy, young adult novels but I’ll make an exception for any kind of fairy tale retelling. I’m glad I gave Charming by Krystal Wade a chance. Charming starts off fast and never slows down. The characters are engaging and the story is appealing. And no, Charming is not your typical retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. Krystal Wade did a wonderful job of taking the fairy tale, modernizing it and then throwing some twists and turns in you’re not expecting. Why can’t more YA novels be like Charming?
Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.
I really liked Haley because she isn’t a drama queen. Her life really does suck and the hits just keep coming. No matter what she does or doesn’t do, life just never seems to get any better for her. However, she doesn’t let it keep her down. She does what she can to make her life better, even if it’s just making sure her sister doesn’t realize the horrible truth of Haley’s life.
Haley’s relationship with Chris is also entertaining. She’s wary of him and he’s awkward around her. He keeps seeking her out and it just makes things complicated. Their relationship is one of the best story lines of Charming. There’s also a lot of history between the two which makes their interactions intense and gives their relationship a depth which really stands out.
If you picked up Charming thinking it was going to be full of magic and fairy godmothers then you might be disappointed. Until you start to read it that is. Wade does a great job of bringing the Cinderella fairy tale into a contemporary and magic-less world. The setting for Charming is a normal town, with an unexceptional public school and a fancy private school. The lines are clearly drawn between the two and leaves Haley in a precarious position since she’s a part of both.
Haley’s relationships with the other characters is one of the high points of Charming. What really pulled me in and kept me reading though was the horrible things that kept happening to Haley, her friends and her family. Haley has to find out who is terrorizing her and it is not easy. The mystery kept me guessing and while the plot was over the top at times, it was still fun to follow. I mean, isn’t the whole point of reading fairy tales and books is to have an adventure you wouldn’t in real life?
All in all, Charming by Krystal Wade was a fun and fast fairy tale journey. The characters were fun and full of spirit, the setting was the perfect background for all the drama that unfolded, and the plot was entertaining to say the least. Krystal Wade has a winner with Charming and I’m really hoping she’ll follow up with another modern day fairy tale.