Monday, July 8, 2013

[Review + Giveaway] Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near

Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 03/06/2013
Publisher: Random House Australia
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher (thanks!) & Bought
Genre: YA (14+) - Fantasy

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Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

My Rating: 
Enchanting! <3

My thoughts

Fairytales for Wilde Girls is described as a "deliciously dark bubblegum-gothic fairytale". In just one word I’d say that this book is, quite simply, magic.

Allyse Near’s debut novel follows the somewhat twisted and macabre everyday life of peculiar Isola Wilde. She converses with brother-princes that no one else can see; and death seems to follow her. She and her estranged father and manic-depressive mother live on the outskirts of society, right by Vivien’s Wood, where they have quite the reputation. New neighbours move in across the street who will each move Isola in their own way—but none more-so than “Edgar Allen Poe”, an unconventionally charming guy who is instantly taken by Isola’s unusual behaviour and wild locks. Isola’s newest haunt will not leave her alone, and the Woods are dying. She will have to trust her new friend, and rely on the loyalty of her seven brother-princes, if she wishes to have any hope of helping the ghost to move on.

I loved this book. And I wish I could just end my review there, but I won’t let myself because that would serve an injustice to Near. Fairytales for Wilde Girls is spectacularly bold in its delivery. There is not one dull moment. The writing is lush and descriptive, and it created such great mood to the story, adding tension and mystery throughout. Every sentence is just wonderfully constructed; Near is a mix tape, her lyrical prose simultaneously captivates and destroys. If this is just the beginning of what Near has to offer, I cannot wait to read more!

Perhaps a part of why this novel continued to captivate me was the pacing. It was just perfect. The first 150 pages: uniquely innovative; an introduction of the best kind. Near allows the reader to dip their toes in and gradually immerse themself into this world so removed from reality. The middle: a dizzying series of episodes that reveal more, while also somehow unearthing more mysteries along the way. The end: glorious and fantastical, wonderful, beautiful, heart-breaking, raw and true.

When I say “uniquely innovative”, I mean that Near actually presents her story and characters by implementing elements found in scripts for plays and fairytale books. It’s actually very fitting for the feel that she was trying to achieve. It’s also a pleasant surprise when you find that the novel you’re reading has ILLUSTRATIONS in it! (Extra points!)

I went into this book and didn’t expect such depth to the story. It was a real treat to get to the end and feel completely satisfied—the story felt like it had gone full-circle.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed was all the references and allusions to gothic stories and storytellers, as well as fairytales. I’m not a massive fairytale geek by any stretch, but reading this book made me want to explore and discover more of the origins and influence of every single tale that was mentioned in some way. This is definitely a must-read for fans of fairytales.

I didn’t even touch on the characters. We’re presented with a vast cast of characters that move in and out of the story—kind of like in a play—each providing their own quirks. I enjoyed getting to learn more about these characters and being introduced to more as the story progressed. No details here, but let’s just say there are mermaids, fairies, furies, ghosts, a regular guy whose (mis)fortune is his namesake, a surfer boyfriend and a rebellious Catholic school best friend. The actual characterisation and development of these characters felt lacking, but I got the notion that it was a very conscious decision by the author. When you take into consideration that this is a very fairytale-ish story, it seems justified.


First line: Once upon a time, Isola Wilde was watching late-night television with her eldest brother, Alejandro, when Channel 12 broadcast a live suicide.

Favourite (spoiler-free) quotes:

"'The only common factor between our hearts and our heads,' said Christobelle wisely before she sank away, 'is the first three letters.'  (134)

"But if she [Isola] ever etched her thoughts into the sky, no-one in the world would look up. The more she wanted to tell people, the more they determined to look away. (166)

"They were a household of people, each living alone. (267)

"'I-I-Iso-' he muttered, his beady red eyes squinting with effort. 'Too hard. I call girl little fool.' (284)


(Note: this is a fan-trailer)


AUSTRALIA: A&R | Booktopia | The Nile



Thanks for the patience! It has taken me AGES to pump out a new review. I expected to write this one up about a month ago but exams, stressing out about the future and procrastination really got in the way. But anyway, you don't really want to know about that. I pre-ordered a copy of this lovely book when, unexpectedly, I was sent a copy for review! Which means I get to give one of YOU the extra copy. :) 
  • Aussie only!
  • From 8th to 28th this month (July 2013)
  • 1x reader will receive my once-read (but still in the condition in which it arrived) copy of FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS + some swag ;)
  • 18+ or permission from parent/guardians
  • You do not have to be a follower to enter!
  • To enter, either:
    • Comment below and let me know what you expect to see in Fairytales for Wilde Girls, just by looking at the cover! (Include name/alias and some form of contact in case you win!), OR
    • Tweet the giveaway (include @cc9309 Twitter handle so I can track your entry)

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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