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Melinda Michaels’ Golden brings together the world of fairy tales and reality. This YA novel takes an interesting twist on the original fairy tales with a more modern view. The plot moves at a decent pace and I kept waiting for more of the fairy tale aspect to come into play. Because Hanna, the main character, doesn’t know much about her past we find things out as she does. Since some of the other characters are aware of what the real situation is, I found Hanna’s frustration relatable and realistic. I particularly liked the backstory of the fairy tales and the way Michaels played with the originals. I wish we could have seen more of the fairy tales or had more details about them in this novel. This really becomes more of a “loose-retelling” or an appropriation of the fairy tales we know and I think some more backstory would have been great!

I found that the novel slowly became more of a mystery/thriller as the plot progressed. This meant that I was more invested in the latter half of the story and it became more of a page-turner. At the same time, this wasn’t what I was expecting to happen with the plot, so it was a bit of a surprise. I think the strongest aspects of this story were the revisions of the fairy tales. They were interesting and inventive! I liked the idea that there were more fairy tales to be explored. The drawback in this story is that while it claims to be a stand-alone novel, you become interested in other characters featured in the story. In particular, I found Owen’s story to be interesting. We get bits and pieces of his backstory and I felt that it could have been included as a subplot in this story.

After Hanna Loch blacks out in front of her entire class, she fears that the past might repeat itself. When she awoke from a blackout at age eight, she couldn’t remember anything from her life before. Hanna only grows more frustrated since no one knows why it happened. The arrival of the mysterious William Vann only complicates matters further. Though he’s saved her life, everyone warns her that he’s bad news. But Vann’s arrival also brings answers, answers that no one else will give her. Hanna learns that she’s descendant of those who lived the fairy tales of once upon a time. So is Vann. But his people aren’t the ones who lived happily ever after. As Hanna searches for herself and her family history, the dangers that have long remained buried threaten to surface. Heroes, villains, fairy godmothers, all make an appearance in the real world in Golden. But will Hanna be lucky enough to survive the dangers in the real world? Or will the dangers of reality prove that “happily ever after” is only for fairy tales?

Book Blurb for Golden

High school senior Hanna Loch just suffered a blackout in front of her entire homeroom class. She hasn’t had one in over ten years, and she’s terrified—the last time she blacked out, she woke up with no memory of her life before. To make matters worse, no one can explain why it happens. For Hanna, bad things tend to come in threes.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover it . . .

When she learns she could be a descendant of someone who lived /once upon a time/, Hanna must put her trust in William Vann, a descendant of one of the most hated villains ever known. Their histories are intertwined in more ways than she expected, and he has answers about her past, answers even her family won’t share.

But is it safe to put her trust in someone who appears to be danger reincarnate, while trying to escape the darkness that tried to kill her ten years ago?

A loose fairytale retelling, GOLDEN is a story that’s /just right/, weaving together lost secrets, vengeful enemies, and what happens when fiction becomes reality.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2015 3.50