Cloaked by Alex Flinn
17 year old Johnny runs his family’s shoe repair shop in the ritzy Coral Reef Grand Hotel in Miami’s South Beach while his mother works at an outside job. On their own since his father disappeared when he was 2, Johnny stays focused on work because they’re always short of money. Johnny’s best friend Meg works at her family’s coffee shop right next to his shoe repair. When tabloid-famous Princess Victoriana checks in, Johnny meets her by accident; she’s delighted to meet him since she loves expensive shoes and owns many. Arranging to meet Johnny alone, Victoriana tells him an evil witch from her country has turned her brother into a frog and gives Johnny $10,000 to find and rescue her brother. Victoriana gives Johnny magical devices to help in the search, which his mother agrees he should take. Meg also gives him a ring to put on if he’s in trouble. Following leads to the Florida Keys and around the world, Johnny uses the devices and his own intuition to find the prince.
Flinn combines elements from seven different tales collected by the Grimm brothers to tell the story as a contemporary tale. Even if the reader does not recognize all the elements from the different tales, the adventure still provides a fun read. Alex Flinn has also written Beastly, which brings together other tales as part of the story.
Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson