Sonderbooks Book Review of

A Kiss in Time

by Alex Flinn

A Kiss in Time

by Alex Flinn

Reviewed August 5, 2009.
HarperTeen, 2009. 371 pages.
Starred Review

On my second day of vacation, I committed the wonderful luxury of staying in bed until noon and reading a novel. A Kiss in Time is the novel I chose.

I loved Alex Flinn's Beastly, where she sets the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" in modern-day New York. When I heard she was doing a version of "Sleeping Beauty," where Sleeping Beauty is woken up by a modern day American teen, I simply had to snap it up.

Now, I've got a special interest in Sleeping Beauty tales, because several years ago I attempted to write my own version where Sleeping Beauty was sleeping in a castle in Germany, and is woken by an American military kid whose last name is Prince. Unfortunately, I got bogged down with details. How does she get an ID card? A passport? I couldn't decide whether she'd get media attention and be a celebrity princess or just adapt to modern life as some sort of refugee. What's more, in my version, all of her family and her life before were dead, so it got rather depressing.

My own attempt to write the story gives me that much more admiration for Alex Flinn pulling it off so beautifully. Mind you, Orson Scott Card has already done a magnificent job in his book for adults, Enchantment. But with A Kiss in Time, Alex Flinn has written the light-hearted teen fantasy I was shooting for. I was delighted with the way she had the entire kingdom sleeping, as in the original fairy tale, and figured out a way to deal with them waking up in the 21st Century.

Jack is something of a screw-up, and he's had enough of museums, so he decides to ditch the tour group his parents sent him on and spend a day at the beach. He brings along his friend Travis, but they have some trouble with the directions they're given and somehow wind up struggling through a thick hedge of thorns. On the other side, there's a medieval kingdom, where everyone's asleep. Travis thinks they might as well help themselves to some jewels, but then Jack discovers a gorgeous girl asleep in a room by herself. Something compels him to give her a kiss....

Well, Talia's father wakes up awfully angry with Talia for having touched a spindle despite all his warnings. He throws Jack in the dungeon, since, after all, a commoner shouldn't be kissing the princess. Talia's willing to help Jack escape to Florida, but he seems strangely reluctant to marry her. In Florida, Talia has a lot to learn about the modern world, but it turns out there are things she can teach Jack about dealing with people.

And both teens have a lot to learn about true love.

This is a light-hearted and fun approach to the age-old story, and the question of how have people changed across the centuries. My hat goes off to Alex Flinn for doing such a wonderful job telling this tale.