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Out of the Wild

Review

Out of the Wild

Julie Marchen is an ordinary 12-year-old. That is, if an ordinary 12-year-old has Rapunzel for a mother, Puss-in-Boots as an adopted brother --- and has successfully defeated the dark forces of the Wild, a fairy tale enchanted forest that wants to take over the world and change everyone into mindless characters forever looping through fairy tale plots. Julie is so relieved to have the Wild safely contained under her bed and life back to normal.

Unfortunately, all that changes when Puss-in-Boots and his girlfriend chase three blind mice through the house. One mouse accidentally falls right into the green vines of the Wild beneath Julie's bed. The Wild engulfs him, making Julie and her mother, Rapunzel, crazy with fear. After all, the Wild now has a fairy tale character --- and it will grow. But instead of growing, the Wild tosses forth a person they both know. It's Julie's dad, Rapunzel's prince, who Julie regretfully had to leave in the Wild when she defeated it.

Julie is stunned and thrilled. But Rapunzel, who hasn't seen Prince in five centuries, is shocked speechless. Joy finally dawns, but Rapunzel won't let herself cry because she wept at the end of her fairy tale. If she was in the Wild, her tears would trigger an eternal cycle of living through that story again and again and again.

The family's bliss doesn't last long, however. They ride (Prince has problems fitting his sword into their Volkswagen) to the downtrodden Wishing Well Motel, home to Rapunzel's witch mother, Dame Gothel. Grandma is no longer evil, although she’s cantankerous. She's also puzzled. Why would the Wild release Prince…or anyone? Before she can do more than voice her concerns, Bobbi, Cinderella's fairy godmother, comes rushing in with the news that Sleeping Beauty is in terrible danger. The princess is napping, and her thorns are growing out of control.

Julie's dad is a prince who can never resist helping a damsel in distress. Bobbi informs him that Sleeping Beauty's own prince refuses to awaken and rescue her (because he's "moved on"). Dad is outraged. Despite Rapunzel and Julie's warnings that he will not only fuel the Wild by acting out part of the Sleeping Beauty tale but he also might give away the family's secret identity, he charges off to wake her. Very soon, however, a princess is kidnapped and evil spells have been cast. Before you can say "Bibbity bobbity boo!" Julie is flying off (by broomstick and by bath mat) on an urgent quest across the country. Can she save her family and the world just one more time?

OUT OF THE WILD continues the promise of its predecessor, INTO THE WILD, complete with fairy tale characters as we've never seen before author Sarah Beth Durst introduced them to us (for instance, Jack of beanstalk fame lives with a talking, cooking cow and Gina, the former giantess). Julie is a spunky, self-deprecating, courageous and hilarious protagonist. She also struggles with issues regarding boys and family that any girl can relate to. The plot is lively and suspenseful, with a surprise twist that leads to a heartwarming, thought-provoking conclusion, giving us a great read that is magical on many levels.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on June 19, 2008

Out of the Wild
by Sarah Beth Durst

  • Publication Date: June 19, 2008
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • ISBN-10: 1595141596
  • ISBN-13: 9781595141590