Little Boy Blue
Once Upon A Rhyme, Book 3
by Elizabeth Rose
Young Adult Fantasy
Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it . . . and it might not be what you expect!
Raven Birchfield has had her share of trouble ever since digging up an old book of nursery rhymes in the garden of her late eccentric aunt's house where she now lives. With the creepy graveyard next door, evil nursery rhyme characters are coming to life one by one, taking over the bodies of her family and friends.
Now her younger brother Johnny is acting odd, and the spirit of Little Boy Blue has made his appearance. At first she thinks she likes it since "Blue" as he calls himself, has a way with people and can play the trumpet better than her irritating little brother ever could.
But when awful things start happening and Johnny is stuck on another realm, Raven and her friend Candy know they have to save him before it's too late. But Johnny likes the life of Blue and wishes he could be him forever.
Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it . . . and it might not be what you expect.
Be sure to read Mary, Mary - Book 1, and Muffet - Book 2 as well.
Note: This is the third book in a series but can be read as a stand-alone. I did not read the other books before diving into it and had little trouble sinking into the tale.
Raven is a sixteen-year-old girl, who lives with her mother and brother in their deceased aunt's house. They struggle to make ends meet, but that isn't Raven's biggest concern. Her aunt was a bit strange, and since coming to the house, Raven has dug up an old nursery rhyme book as well as a crystal, which she wears around her neck. Her past experiences with the two have not been good, and this time doesn't appear it will be much better. Thanks to an attempt to give her brother a little happiness on his birthday, she's accidentally released a new nursery rhyme, one that takes over her brother's body. But her brother doesn't seem to mind, and neither does her best friend since this new version of him does appear pretty cool. But there's always more to these characters than first meets the eye, and Raven's convinced this time isn't any different.
I don't think I've ever read a nursery rhyme retelling. So, this was quite a refreshing spin. The author lays out the background nicely—Raven's family tries their best to get by but suffers quite a bit. It's hard not to feel for their situation, and although Raven's actions are a bit silly, considering the circumstances with her past run-in with rhymes, it's somewhat understandable why she takes the risk. Still, since she her and her friend have had bad experiences with the rhymes before, I was a little surprised by some of their actions.
Friendship is golden in these pages as well as sibling relationships. It's nice to see a YA novel which allows the relationship between brother and sister to hit the center light. There's a nice amount of intrigue, high enough tension to keep the plot plowing forward, and a dash of high school/junior high drama to make it a great fit for the intended age group. The alternate 'Johnny' did not always act his age, though, which didn't sit quite right. But then, I had a bit of trouble connecting to the characters, although the read was entertaining.
Especially the younger end of YAers and retelling fans are sure to enjoy this one.