I had multiple students ask (possibly beg) me to read this book. I looked up the general description on Goodreads and although its rating is on the lower side of what I usually read, I couldn't let my students down. When it came back in the drop box I grabbed it and took it with me on my trip to Austin.
Lately a lot of books have come out that are retellings (reimaginings, prequel, sequel...) to fairy tales. One of the things I like most about this book is its a reimagined sequel to a classic American fairy tale. In the grand timeline of literature, Dorothy and Oz are not all that old and I love the idea of turning a classic American tale on its head. Amy Gumm is nothing like the iconic Dorothy Gale we know from The Wizard of Oz but as we will soon find out Dorothy isn't who we thought she was either. Amy Gumm has a pretty awful teenage existence and when the tornado picks her and her trailer up and she awakens in Oz she thinks she has been given a gift. She quickly learns that the real Oz is nothing like the Oz she's seen in the movies and discovers that Dorothy is to blame. All of the classic characters return but have been altered (for the worse) by events that occurred since Dorothy returned to Oz. It's up to Aimee, with some help from some unlikely allies, to take Dorothy down and return Oz and all its magic back the way it was pre-Dorothy.
I would consider this book on the cusp between middle school and high school. There are a few curse words scattered throughout but I wouldn't consider them excessive, there are sexual references but no sex scenes, and one of Amy's bullies is a pregnant girl who goes to her high school. There are some violent scenes described while battling some of the Oz's baddies but in the realm of YA fiction it's on the tame side. I will warn you all that this is the beginning of a trilogy so it has lots of loose ends. Book 2 comes out in March and I am very much looking forward to see where this story goes. There are also some novella's available on Kindle, Nook, and Overdrive that are also supposed to be very good (they are on my to read list). It's a quick read even though its a fairly thick book and worth your time as long as your not easily offended by Ms. Paige taking an American classic and totally making it her own. Nothing in Oz is the way we remember and Ms. Paige has me looking forward to what's in store for everyone in Emerald City and beyond.