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“An eternal coma is not romantic. Neither is being locked away in a tower waiting for a prince to rescue you,” Sasha. —Misfit
Royal Academy Rebels #1
by Jen Calonita
AR Test, Strong Female Character
Devin can speak to animals, which helps her be a caring creature caretaker. She would rather be out in the woods healing animals than inside learning to be a princess. But she’s twelfth in line for the throne of Enchantasia, so there is no way she can avoid going to the Royal Academy.
Devin didn’t read the required material because she was too busy helping animals, but as soon as she arrives, she realizes that she is horribly out of place. While Devin is excited to meet Olivina, the beloved fairy godmother to Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, she is also enrolled in classes that don’t suit her interests, such as “How to write a love note,” and “From cha-chas to charming princess.”
When danger appears, Devin discovers that Olivina is obsessed with teaching the princesses to wait for the princes to save them. The students aren’t learning to rule a kingdom, but learning to be helpless. Devin knows that something is amiss. When the fairy godmother threatens to banish Devin, Devin must decide if she will act like a proper princess or if she will search for the secrets that Olivina is hiding.
Besides being an entertaining story, Misfits shows that not everyone can fit into a mold. Devin isn’t the only character that is unique. There’s a prince that is more interested in chopping vegetables than chopping off dragon’s heads. Another royal is more interested in telling the truth in her tabloids than talking about the latest fashion. These unique characters’ bravery shines as they fight to keep their classmates safe from fairy-tale monsters.
Throughout the story, Devin is frustrated by the princess rules. Snow White tells Devin, “What Olivina wants for all of us, more than anything, is to feel safe and secure in our roles.” The fairy godmother, Olivina, is upset when Devin saves herself and others from danger. Olivina says, “But that wasn’t your role to play, was it? You were supposed to let the princes do that. If they can’t rescue you, what are they good for?” Throughout the story, readers will learn that sometimes people need to break out of the roles society has given them.
Another theme is the importance of being honest. Professor Pierce teaches that it is important to, “be honest. Honesty is important in a royal—in all humans. . .” He also tells Devin, “Being royal means acting responsibly with the power that you’re given. It’s about making tough decisions for the good of your subjects.”
Full of fantastic fairy tale fun, Misfits follows Devin who is a lovable, unpredictable character. Devin isn’t interested in ball gowns or shoes, and she definitely isn’t interested in reading the required academy reading, which leads her into trouble right from the start. Devin’s caring, questioning behavior makes the reader root for the spunky girl. The cliff-hanger ending will leave readers eager to read the second book of the series, Outlaws.
- During a school ball, harpies attack. “A harpy snatches Hazel with its talons and flies off with her as princesses shriek in panic. Guests start stampeding in all directions. . .” The scene takes place over eight pages. While the teachers hide, the students come up with a plan to defeat the harpies.
- When a student steals a dragon egg, the dragon attacks. A prince, “grabs another boy’s dagger and stabs it into the dragon’s tail. The dragon roars so loudly that the ground shakes violently.” Fire “rains down on the room.” Fairies put out the fire, and three students are able return the egg.
- When Devin goes to gym class, she is kidnapped. “A sack is pulled over my head as hands grab my ankles. Rope is wound around my hands and feet before I even have time to scream.” She is put in a room with other bound princesses. “Three more beams hit the floor in quick succession, one cracking the floorboards. The entire room starts to rumble and shake, while black smoke pours through the window.” The scene takes place over 11 pages. The girls escape unharmed.
- During a school ball, the witch from Hansel and Gretel appears. “A huge plume of smoke billows from the middle of the dance floor. There are screams and shouts and running.” The witch steals the fairy godmother’s wand, and “Olivina passes out, hitting the floor hard, like a pancake. . . Boom! Boom! Boom! The students around us barely move before they collapse like Olivina, their swords and tiaras rolling onto the ground.” Someone is able to grab the magic wand from the witch, and “Poof! The witch dissolves into thin air.” The scene takes place over five pages. No one is injured.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Devin uses the phrase, “Holy harpies,” when she is surprised.
- “Darn” is used twice.
- The story takes place in a fairy tale world. Magic is occasionally used. For example, the academy has a protection charm.
- The fairy godmother travels by Poof Dust. She uses this to magically transport herself and others.
- Devin can talk to animals and she knows several animal languages, including squirrel.
- The official dressmaker uses magic to help create her dresses. The dressmaker, “snaps her fingers, and magic wands shoot off tables to finish the tasks she was doing for each girl.”
- Milo is a talking mirror who can watch the girls and give them encouraging words.