Saturday, July 15, 2017

Zel and Golden Girl Young Adult Novels Reviewed

I die. Yes, as in this character is literally narrating this character's own death. And then this character keeps narrating in the first person for two more chapters.

What are they? Two young adult novels published...well, one (Zel) was published an ass-long time ago by YA standards, back in 1999 I believe, and the other (Golden Girl) was published just back in 2015 or so.
Where did they are? Umm...your library?
Who stars in it? Well Zel was written by Donna Jo Napoli and Golden Girl was written by Mari Mancusi so um there
Why are we reviewing these? Because while neither Tangled or Cloud 9 are adaptations of books per se, these two are close enough such that if you really think that's a missing element, it's got you covered. Also, because I say so.

I meant to do these a long time ago and as separate reviews but since my free time is being seriously eaten up, well here you go, a two-for-one.

Anyway, like I opened with, Zel (short for Rapunzel) and Golden Girl are pretty similar enough to both Tangled and Cloud 9 such that if you're really hoping for a more straight-up book adaptation well here you go. Actually, they're both better than those DCOMs anyway. Particularly, Zel actually offers a pretty unique insight and perspective that Tangled fans would really appreciate and understand where the Rapunzel/Mother Gothel and Gothel's motivations might be coming from other than just the strict selfishness of eternal youth (yeah that was kind of an out-of-nowhere plot device but sure why not). If you think Eugene/Flynn is a pretty weak character then you might be interested in seeing how Zel's Konrad shapes up too. Oh, and it has an explanation for just where the hell Rapunzel the name even comes from, if you're like me and you don't know anything about lettuce horticulture because you can't give a shit about lettuce horticulture. 

Other than that...eh, it's really kind of hard to get into greater detail without either just repeating what you already know (through Tangled or just being familiar with the Rapunzel tale) or spoiling what really sets this story apart from other Rapunzel retellings. I was really struggling to expand this to more than just a mini-review but...eh. So that's another justification for pairing it with Golden Girl then.

Also the cover is pretty too.

So, um, there you go. So moving on to Golden Girl: you have a young girl who competes in downhill skiing, you have a Mean Girl rival who despises our heroine and feels over-worked and over-pressured to participate in a sport she doesn't really care about, and you have the obligatory circle of friends who supports her, and then she ends up joining a teen band. Hell that sounds more like a DCOM than actual Cloud 9! It's also interesting that this book popped up a full year after Cloud 9 but whatever.

And while the BFF aspects of Cloud 9 really get pushed out to the edges, they're featured front and center in Golden Girl and really it does make for a more satisfying and deeper narrative (yes even for a book as "fluffy" as this). It's less about "oooh cool look how awesome snowboarding is" of Cloud 9 and really more about what drives the girls to participate in the sport (much better and more introspectively than the limitations of Cloud 9's demands allow for at least) and it really lets those inter-personal dynamics drive that point. There is a love interest but it's not as so Luke-Dove focused as Cloud 9 or letting Dove's competitiveness overshadow the rest of the story. It's not just trying to learn one amazing trick to win a singular competition, but really going for a larger picture across an entire season, in a skiing school and really examining a plethora of dynamics involved in how these girls (and boys) go through with this sport.

Plus it has a really pretty cover too

Novel Grade: B for Zel, A- for Golden Girl. I think I gave them four and five on Goodreads respectively.
Character MPV: Eh....in Zel....Zel by default? I dunno. In Golden Girl, Becca, the main character Lexi's best friend. She really does end up being the crux of a lot of that inter-personal drama I was talking about.

Extra Thoughts

 - ummm....

 - Andi Mack is coming...sometime. There's a whole bunch of stuff I need to catch up on. Sorry.

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