A Kiss in Time
by Alex Flinn
Review by Mel Jacob
HarperTeen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780060874193
Date: 01 May 2009 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Alex Flinn retells fairy tales and incorporates them into contemporary settings. Her latest, A Kiss in Time, uses the story of "Sleeping Beauty". Her heroine, Princess Talia, prepares to celebrate her sixteenth birthday. She seeks the perfect dress to match her eyes. When an old woman shows her a room full of dresses the exact color of her eyes, they enchant her. However, the old woman, the witch who initially cursed the princess at birth, has other plans. Talia pricks her finger on a spindle and falls asleep as does the entire Kingdom for three hundred years.
The seventeen year old hero Jack finds European museums boring and convinces his buddy to play hooky for a trip to the beach. At the end of a long bus ride they encounter a high thorny hedge. Jack insists the beach lies just beyond. After a struggle and many scratches, they reach a quaint town, but everyone appears asleep. They go to a castle and stumble upon the stair to a tower room. At the top they discover the sleeping Talia. Taken by her beauty, Jack kisses her. She wakes as does the entire castle, and Jack's troubles begin.
After her father's accusation that she has destroyed the kingdom, she decides to flee with Jack. Cloistered all her life, Talia wants to see the world. She frees him from her father's dudgeon and he reluctantly agrees to take her with him.
The contemporary world fascinates Talia and at times frightens her. Jack worries her curiosity and innocence will cause authorities to arrest or place her in an asylum. When Jack takes Talia with him to America, they encounter more problems including Jack's jealous former girlfriend.
At times the opening seems too juvenile for most young adults, but the sexual innuendos and Jack's interests make it too adult for the younger readers. Neither character appears sympathetic. However, as the novel develops Flinn gives them more humanity and dimension. At times the events are too convenient and the ending strains credibility, but as a fairy tale fantasy, it works. Her highly acclaimed previous novel, Beastly, received many awards.