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“You are broken and lost and I licked you, so now we are friends,” Dog. –Granted
by John David Anderson
Everyone who wishes upon a star, a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for. But even so, rest assured there is someone out there who hears it.
Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is no ordinary fairy—she is a Granter: one of the select few whose job it is to venture beyond the boundaries of the Haven and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day. Ophelia has never traveled into the humans’ world to grant a wish. The fairies are low on magic, so they only grant a few wishes a day.
When Ophelia is given a wish to grant, she’s excited about the adventure. She has planned for everything. With her gear packed, Ophelia ventures out in search of the coin that was wished upon. Before she makes it to her destination, an airplane smacks her, injuring her wing. Unable to fly, Ophelia befriends a dog who promises to help Ophelia chase down the coin. Will Ophelia be able to grant the wish or will she fail at her mission?
The story starts out slowly with the author giving too much detail about the fairy world. Although some of the world-building is interesting, much of the description is on minute details that did not advance the story. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t get interesting until Ophelia meets a dog halfway through the book. The curious dog offers comic relief. One of the first things the dog says is, “so since I don’t know what you are I am hoping to sniff your butt. . . I will let you sniff mine, too.”
When Ophelia first sets out for her mission, she is overconfident and has problem after problem. After several negative encounters, Ophelia realizes that following rules and being perfect are not attributes to admire. After watching a human boy, Ophelia realizes that some wishes are more important to grant than others. When it comes time for Ophelia to grant one wish, she breaks a rule in order to bring a father back to his son.
Strong readers interested in fairy lore will have to wade through heavy descriptions in Granted. However, readers will be glad they continued reading. Ophelia and the dog’s interactions are heartwarming and hilarious. The conclusion is sweet and satisfying. The advanced vocabulary, detailed descriptions, and slow-moving plot will make Granted difficult for some readers. Readers who want a peek into the fairy world may want to read 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison or The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi instead.
- When Ophelia is sent to grant her first wish, she is glad the wisher asked for a bike instead of “a new car or something smarmy like for a sweaty boy with skater bangs and pouty lips to kiss her.”
- Ophelia is hit by an airplane and her wing is broken.
- When a man comes into the fairy haven, the fairies “had to dispatch a containment team to knock the poor fellow unconscious and drag him twenty miles to the nearest hint of civilization, depositing him outside a bar.”
- Thinking that Ophelia was a bug, a man swats her. “Ophelia’s world somersaulted around her and she fought to catch her breath, her body stinging from the sudden blow. Something had knocked her, sent her soaring off the fountain and tumbling down to the cement walkway, where she landed in a heap.”
- Ophelia goes into a café and a woman tries to swat her with a broom. “Swoosh. The head of the broom passed overhead. . .” Ophelia tries to hide in a woman’s hair when a man tries to hit her with a newspaper. Someone gets a fire extinguisher, then “a blast of white foam shot from its one giant nostril, dousing her in something like soap but thicker. . .” Ophelia “saw the giant paw of straw sweeping toward her just in time to duck out of the way.” Finally, the humans shoo Ophelia outside. The scene is described over two pages.
- The coin Ophelia needs is taken by a man. She tries to get him to stop his car, “but he didn’t slam on the brakes as she’d hoped, and Ophelia smacked into the windshield, her face mashed, cheek to glass, one eye looking right at the man. . .” The man squirted windshield wiper fluid on Ophelia. “Instantly a stream of burring blue liquid struck Ophelia, soaking her suit and stinging her nostrils.” The windshield wipers knock Ophelia off the car’s window.
- Ophelia is hit by a truck. “The impact sent her soaring, landing amid a pile of trash bags that had been set along the curb. . . Her wing was broken. Part of it was crushed and crumbled, a long tear working its way halfway down from the tip. . .”
- A red-tailed hawk grabs Ophelia in his mouth and plans to turn her into a meal. Ophelia was eighteen hundred feet above the ground, “turned face up so that she could see the patch of grey on the hawk’s broad chest. . . Ophelia’s chest burned with each breath her arms struggling to get free, her legs kicked out, but it was no use—the raptor held her tight.” The bird drops her into a pond, and Ophelia almost drowns.
- The story hints that the dog was abused. “Ophelia opened both of her arms and took a step towards him. Sam flinched. Something he’d undoubtedly learned from his master.” Later, Ophelia asks the dog to scare a man. The dog asks, “But what if he scares me back?”
- Ophelia has to wrestle the coin out of a fairy’s hand. When she does, “the move sent her tumbling backward, out of control. She heard her already ragged wing snap once more, a final blow that rendered it completely useless. . .”
Drugs and Alcohol
- One of Ophelia’s friends asks her, “When’s the last time you spent the day in your pajamas sitting on your porch, drinking wine, burping out loud, and watching the clouds slink by?”
- Ophelia is given a container that is “fully weaponized fairy dust extract, chemically restructured in aerosol form. . .” When sprayed on a human or animal, they will fall asleep.
- Ophelia names the dog Sam after she sees an empty crate of Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
- Ophelia thinks about having a chance to open a bottle of dandelion wine.
- A girl wishes for a new bike “because some jerkface stole my last one.”
- When Ophelia is injured and angry, she yells, “If this isn’t the biggest, boot-up-the-back-end piece of fist-sucking, pig-nosed, turkey-flapped, snotwad, vomit-crusted, wart-eating, other-punching, kitten-kicking pile of rotten, wrinkled monkey dung in the whole wide WORLD!”
- The dog tells Ophelia that she can call him “Useless. Or Mangy Mutt. Or Worthless-Son-of-a-“
- Ophelia is upset that a dog is following her. She says, “Of all the wood-headed, dim-witted creatures I could have possibly run into. . .”
- A cat asks Ophelia, “Who the heck are you?”
- A boy complains that he was outside “for three freaking hours!”
- The story has fairy magic, but no spells are given.
- In order to grant a spell, a fairy must find the object that was wished upon. When Ophelia gets close to the item, “she’d be able to hear the wish whispering in the girl’s own singsong voice.”
- Ophelia tries to explain how a wish is embedded into an object. She says, “it’s attached to something. An object. This particular wish was made on a coin. I need the coin if I’m going to make the wish come true.”
- Fairies can create a magical song. “For many fairies, singing had an enchanting effect, capable of making the listener dreamy eyed and woozy and warm, as if they’d polished off the last of the wine. For others it was the opposite.”
- When a fairy dies, “her spirit takes to the sky, where it is sponged up by the clouds, mixed with rain that falls back to the earth, feeding the plants that would someday produce fairies of their own.”