4.1 232
by Alex Flinn, Alexander Cendese

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I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a

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I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.

Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As she did in Beastly and A Kiss in Time, Flinn mixes traditional fairy tales with a modern setting in a romance that is clever but not always compelling. When the beautiful princess of Aloria visits the fancy South Beach hotel where kind, 17-year-old Johnny toils in his family's shoe-repair shop, she transforms his monotonous life. The princess promises to marry him if he can find her brother, who a witch has transformed into a frog. Borrowing details from such stories as "The Elves and the Shoemaker" and "The Frog Prince," among others, Flinn sets Johnny on an adventure involving talking animals (actually bewitched humans called "used-to-bes"), greedy giants, and a cloak that can transport Johnny and his best friend Meg anywhere they wish. Johnny and Meg face various villains and tests, from a relentless witch and her goony son to a park ranger who threatens to sell the frog prince on eBay. But readers may tire of the endless cloak hopping; they will have long guessed the book's conclusion, including who Johnny really loves and what really happened to his long-lost father. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
VOYA - Sean Rapacki
Johnny is struggling to make ends meet in his family shoe repair business, located in the lobby of a ritzy South Beach hotel, and secretly harbors dreams of making his own designer footwear. He is frustratingly oblivious to the romantic potential of his friendship with Meg, and instead hopes to win both wealth and the hand of a glamorous princess by helping to locate her missing brother, who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. Throw in a cloak of teleportation, a pair of earbuds that allow the wearer to converse with bespelled animals who used to be human, and a couple of hungry giants, and you have the makings of an adventure. The author skillfully weaves aspects of over a half dozen fairy tales, including The Frog Prince and The Elves and the Shoemaker, into her narrative, but the end result falls far short of her best work. Flinn is a superior writer of realistic fiction for teens, and she has previously struck gold by doing modern-day revamps of classic fairy tales. Her newest effort, however, has neither the verisimilitude of the former nor the magic of the latter. Based purely on the subject matter and success of her previous novels, Cloaked should still have a wide, if not fully satisfied, audience. Reviewer: Sean Rapacki
Children's Literature - Lisa Kuehne
If you want to return to fairy-tale land, this book is right up your alley. Johnny, a shoe cobbler, works nonstop to keep his family shoe repair shop afloat after his father's mysterious disappearance. His less than exciting life takes a sudden turn when he meets a beautiful princess visiting South Beach. Johnny has been secretly working on designing his own shoes. If the princess would endorse one if his designs maybe Johnny wouldn't have to worry about money anymore. But the princess has her own agenda. She wants Johnny to rescue her brother, an arrogant prince who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. What is his reward for this noble act of bravery? Johnny will get her hand in marriage. He embarks on a wild adventure, but in order to complete his quest, Johnny has to believe in talking animals, giants, witches, magic and most of all, true love. Flinn has quirky characters, a touch of good humor, and has brilliantly tied unexpected quotes about shoes into the story. Young readers will certainly enjoy this book, but teens may lose interest. The numbers of fairy-tales crammed into one novel becomes overwhelming and too predictable. Flinn does a great job with giving readers a very sweet romance, constant action, and encourages us to think outside the box. In the end, Johnny shows young readers fairy-tales come true. Reviewer: Lisa Kuehne
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 6–9—Alex Finn's creative fantasy (HarperTeen, 2011) involving a play on many different fairy tales (think The Elves and the Shoemaker meets The Frog Prince, among others) gets a lively narration from Alexander Cendese who perfectly interprets the aspirations and thoughts of Johnny, a hard-working, impoverished high school student striving to keep the family shoe repair shop in a South Beach hotel afloat while also harboring dreams of becoming a shoe designer. Johnny meets a princess at the hotel who asks him to help find her brother, a prince who was turned into a toad. The boy's efforts to rescue the prince turn into a series of quests, many of them at the request of various animals who were once human, such as Cornelius the rat, a former Senator who sounds like a thug from Brooklyn. Cendese perfectly voices the assorted magical creatures. The story includes lots of quotes about shoes by famous and infamous figures, including John Locke. Careful listeners will enjoy the foreshadowing and hints throughout the tale. Comedy outweighs drama here, although there are a few dangerous encounters. An imaginative, enchanting story.—Edie Ching, University of Maryland, College Park
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Flinn reimagines a fairy-tale world in her latest novel. Teenaged Johnny works as a cobbler in his mother's shoe repair shop in a posh hotel in South Beach. He spends his days with his friend Meg and designs his own line of shoes while dreaming of wealth to free his family from the confines of poverty. Unexpectedly, the striking Princess Victoriana of Aloria comes to the swanky Miami hotel for a royal visit. The super-hot partying princess pleads for Johnny's help in finding her missing brother, and offers of money and a royal marriage convince him to take her seriously—even when she explains that the prince has been turned into a frog. With the aid of a magical cloak and some headphones that allow him to hear animals speak, Johnny embarks on a journey wherein he encounters talking swans, a fox named Todd, and two angry giants. When he lands in hot water with an evil witch bent on destroying him, Meg comes to his rescue. The pair journey from South Beach to Key West, to Europe, and to Manhattan; and in the end, Johnny finds wealth, fame, and true love. Flinn cleverly plays on some lesser-known fairy tales to make this book a fun, romantic adventure with likable characters. Rapid action and amusing situations make it a quick read that will easily entice even reluctant readers.—Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

A warmhearted, goofy and occasionally quite silly tale—tales, really— featuring17-year-old Johnny, a poor but honest shoemaker in a luxury hotel on Miami's South Beach who dreams of designer glory and keeping the electricity on. Who should breeze into his hotel but Victoriana, princess of Aloria, complete with a French accent and a hint of magic. Her "bruzzer" is missing! He's been turned into a frog! Johnny must help! What follows is a neatly nested series of fairy-tale mashups. Flinn cleverly uses quotes from the originals as chapter headings, from "The Shoemaker and the Elves" and "The Princess and the Frog" to "The Wild Swans" (which now live in that luxury hotel), "The Firebird" and others. Johnny's best friend Meg has a little magic of her own, and readers will probably want to reach into the pages and smack Johnny silly as he steadfastly misses the signals she sends. The friends proceed through this appealing, magic- and mishap-laced adventure, and it all ends quite nicely, as told in Johnny's clueless but endearing voice. The original tales are explicated briefly at the end. (Fractured fairy tales. 10 & up)

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Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Alex Flinn loves fairy tales and is also the author of a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast titled BEASTLY. She lives in Miami with her husband, two kids, a cat, and a dog.

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