It’s very hard to pinpoint exactly when I started to enjoy reading. I have it on good authority that I liked to read before I even knew how, as evidenced by a picture I have of my toddler self staring at a picture book and turning the pages as if I understood it.
My mother is a bestselling author, so I’ve been reading books since the moment I could distinguish letters from each other. Truly, when I say this book caused me to love reading, it’s probably a lie. I most likely read a lot of books I don’t even remember, and the ones I remember as being the first are probably simply the ones I enjoyed the most.
But all that aside, this book had an impact on me, and I can say with certainty it was the first book that stayed with me long after I finished it, the first time I was truly invested in a story. Even now, years later, I still think about the story from time to time, and it’s even influenced my stories.
Before I tell you the name of the book, let’s set the stage. I was young, young enough that I didn’t have my own device yet. As such, I read books on my mother’s Kindle Paperwhite. We were in Portugal visiting family, and my mother had very specifically downloaded books she thought would interest me, mostly to keep me entertained and whine-free. She handed over the device, and I flipped through the books, predictably choosing one that had a fairy on the cover.
I snuggled up on the makeshift bed my family set up for me behind the couch in my Avó’s living room and began to read.
For hours, no one could persuade me to put the book down. I was utterly enthralled by this story, the story of fairy tales twisted almost beyond recognition with a little dash of Shakespeare thrown in to make it so much better. I grew up attending a private school where the eighth graders would put on a Shakespeare play every year. They cycled through four different plays, and while I went to each show every year, the only one I could remember was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I already had a weird, nostalgic attachment to the play. In the book, they were putting on that same play, only the characters were real! Real, and very dangerous.
Once I finished the book, I begged my mother to get the rest of the series. She was hesitant, and it took some convincing, but she eventually bought the rest of the series for me, and I devoured them all in short order. Each of the sequels were absolutely amazing, even if they didn’t have the same impact on me as the first book.
Like I said, I surely read before and probably would’ve kept reading if I hadn’t read this book. But when I think of the pure joy of reading, of being swept away to a different world and forgetting everything around you, I think of this book. I believe this book gave me the pure love of reading I possess today, and in turn influenced my future career as an author.
And now, without further ado, here is the book in question. I may have read it when I was young, but I reread it as a teenager, and it was every bit as good as I remembered it being, although it was far easier to understand with my more developed brain.
With a Kiss by Stephanie Fowers
Halley Starr finds out the truth when she loses her heart with a curse. Now she has to get it back from that dirty faery who stole it from her, but first, she must fight against the seven rules of the faery kingdom that mortals must never break:
- No trespassing sacred faery territory
- Don’t ever say thank you
- Using a faery’s given name is a no-no
- Resist all faery music
- Never break a promise to a faery
- Reject all faery food
- And never, never fall in love with a faery
But if Halley wants her heart back again, she can’t worry about the rules.
Obviously, the cover has changed since I was a kid, but I still think it’s absolutely beautiful. As I stated, the series is about fairy tales, but with an entirely new lens. I’ve never read another version of the classic tales quite like these. The first book is about the faeries, specifically the one’s mentioned in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the second one is based on Cinderella, and the third is Beauty and the Beast.
I hope you’ll give this series a try, and after writing this, I’ve decided to give it another read through.
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