NEVER BEEN TEXTED
by Linda Joy Singleton
Leap Books: Surge
When Ashlee’s stepdad completely forgets her birthday she takes matters into her own hands to get the one thing she really wants: her own cell phone. But text messages start rolling in from a broken-hearted boy, and though Ashlee knows not all stories end happily, she’s determined to make hers the best it can be.
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“Things have been weird lately.” I meet his gaze. “Do you believe in magic?”
“Is that a trick question? Or part of the tour?”
“No trick.” I glance up at the gray-blue sky where clouds ripple like ocean waves, as if the world has flipped upside-down.
“Seriously, magic?” Derrick laughs but not in a mocking way, more like he’s really considering what I’ve asked. “Have to say no. Turn on the news and all you see is violence and tragedies. My tutors are big on world history, so I know more than I want to about wars that destroyed civilizations. If there really was magic, people wouldn’t be so cruel to each other.”
“I’m a realist.” He shrugs, his tone matter-of-fact. “Still it would be cool if I could believe in something like magic.”
“Stick around,” I say, thinking of the phone in my pocket. “You never know what might happen.”
I'm always a sucker for fairy tale re-tellings, and this one is as sweet as can be. Ashlee is a teenager who is ready to fight for things when she believes it's worth it. That she wants a cell phone is something teens will easily relate too and sympathize with--how terrible not to have one, especially when your own dad forgets your birthday! But Ashlee is a twit about it either. She works to get things, but is never mean or tries to step on people's toes. She's very open to other's feelings, and one can only wish that all of her dreams come true.
The side main character (if there is such a thing) is a super, cute dog. I loved reading about Toffy and her little tricks. She alone makes this book worth taking a look at.
Of course, there's bad guys - a wonderful, jerky girl at high school who wants to control everything. And Ashlee's best friend is true blue, in some ways opposite to Ashlee, but by doing this, the author reinforces Ashlee's character.
There's also romance, but not the right and out kind one often sees in YA. This is sweet, and not really clear that it's even there. Although Ashlee is head over heels, she goes at it with friendship first--very refreshing.
My most favorite part of this book is the mixture of magic. It's subtle, and yet not so. It reminded me of pink glitter and butterflies...perfect for a Cinderella story. The descriptions and fantasy are fun and have just the right amount of childhood glee. But this isn't a complicated read either. At 168 pages, it's easy to finish in a few hours and doesn't have much room for heavy descriptions. The writing is kept simple, the plot and ideas as well, making this a pure fairy tale without any strings or weight attached. I recommend it more for tweens (kids ages 10 to 13.)
And here she is. . .
LINDA JOY SINGLETON!!!
When she was 8, she wrote animal stories and by age 14 she was writing mystery novels. In 1986, she had the unique experience of co-writing a mystery, THE TALKING SNOWMAN, with her favorite childhood author, Margaret Sutton (Judy Bolton mysteries). Her goal was to have a mystery series of her own that that happened in 1994: MY SISTER THE GHOST series/Avon Camelot Books. Recently she’s crossed genres to publish her first picture book, SNOW DOG, SAND DOG (Albert Whitman 2014).
When Linda isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, movies, country walks, camping, bowling and reality shows (she’s never missed a season of Survivor, Amazing Race or Big Brother). She also collects vintage girl series mysteries like Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden and in 2014 spoke at a Nancy Drew convention.