Johnny repairs shoes at the nicest hotel in South Beach, Florida. His mother helps, but she has another job, so Johnny is on his own much of the time. And money is very tight, so he works long hours to make as much money as possible. Meg's family runs the coffee shop next to Johnny's shoe shop, and they have been best friends since they were young.
When Princess Victoriana from Aloria stays at the hotel, things get a little crazy. She secretly contacts Johnny and begs him to rescue her brother, Prince Phillipe, who has been turned into a frog, and is lost. If Johnny finds the prince, Victoriana will marry him. This could make life so much easier for Johnny and his mother, so who cares if he doesn't love her.
Thus begins a fantastical, fairy-tale adventure involving six swans who used to be human, a fox that used to be human, some magic earbuds, two giants, a lucky opal ring, and a magic cloak. Johnny is sent from task to task by various magical creatures -- always given specific instructions what to do and, more importantly what NOT to do. Of course, in typical fairy-tale fashion, he breaks almost every rule, ends up not completing the task, therefore not getting the promised information or assistance. This caused some frustration on my part, but I kept telling myself, "fairy tale!!"
Since Johnny makes and repairs shoes, one of the most entertaining parts of the book for me are the quotes about shoes. I wish I had made a list, or at least highlighted them on my Kindle. Who knew so many people had so much to say about shoes!
The action really never stops, and Meg eventually partners with Johnny to add to the danger. If you are familiar with fairy-tales you may be able to identify all of them in this story, but if not, Flinn lists them at the end in the author's note. Many of them were obscure and unfamiliar to me.
I don't think it's a spoiler to say, "they all lived happily ever after," but the journey to that point is a wild ride that will keep you giggling and guessing. For me, this story is all about the plot. There is some sweet romance, but I didn't really feel a connection to any of the characters, and that was OK. They are just kind of "tools" for the story.
I enjoyed Beastly very much, and this one is even more over-the-top. So prepare yourself to suspend disbelief and enjoy the magical adventure. Cloaked is appropriate for younger teens as well. If you aren't a fairy-tale fan, of course, this one isn't for you, but as far as retellings go, don't miss it!
Published by HarperTeen, 2011
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