Towering by Alex Flinn is a young adult retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel.
I love retellings in general because it is always interesting to see how different authors put different spins on the classics, but my favorite fairy tale is Rapunzel so anytime I find out that there is a retelling, I have to pick it up for my collection.
Towering follows Wyatt, a teenage boy who goes to live with the mother of one of his mothers old friends, Danielle who disappeared when they were teenagers. While living in her house, he finds Danielle’s diary describing her mother as overprotective and at one point even writes about her being locked in her bedroom. He also starts to hear someone singing in the distant woods. One day while at the hardware store, an old local man tells him about a rumor of a tower in the woods, curiosity gets the better of him and he goes in search of this tower. While wandering in the woods he starts to cross a frozen over lake and falls in. Someone witnesses Wyatt falling through the ice and comes to his rescue. When he’s out of the water he wants to know who she is, she tells him that her name is Rachel and she points to where she lives, in a tower a little further in the woods.
This retelling of Rapunzel is part romance and part mystery. At the start of the novel there are many questions, what happened to Danielle all those years ago? Why is Rachel living alone in a tower in the woods? Who is Mama, the woman who cares for her? What brought Wyatt to live with Mrs. Greenwood? All of these questions are answered by the end of the book. Some came as a surprise, others were a little predictable but it was still a fun read.
I was happy to see that along with using aspects of the original fairy tale, Alex Flinn also threw in some things from the Disney version, Tangled. I loved that Rachel had some special powers and that she and Wyatt had a sort of psychic connection even before they met for the first time. I enjoyed the romance between Rachel and Wyatt although I think they moved a little fast; they were passionately making out after knowing each other for twenty minutes! I really enjoyed learning about Wyatt’s past and why he needed to move from home for a fresh start, even though towards the end of him telling Rachel the whole story, I knew what was coming. The mystery part of the story was played out really well. I don’t want to spoil anything so I will just say that it was something I didn’t think that I would see in a fairy tale retelling, it was definitely a different way to spin the story. I also really liked finding out the mystery woman’s identity. I was surprised to find out who it was, but looking back I probably should have known all along.
I was satisfied with the way Towering ended. Everything was answered and it all came together for the perfect conclusion. The one thing that I wish is that Danielle’s diary was longer. I really enjoyed reading it and getting to know her through her own voice. Although, I understand why it had to end where it did, I just wish there were a few more entries at least. I gave Towering 4 stars on Goodreads and highly recommend it for anyone who loves fairytale retellings.
This is the second retelling by Alex Flinn that I have read, the first being Beastly. I think the books are very well written and I love the balance between the original story and the freshness that she brings to them. I am looking forward to reading all her other retellings in the future.