A Kiss in Time

A Kiss in Time

4.3 284
by Alex Flinn

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Talia fell under a spell. . . .
Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another

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Talia fell under a spell. . . .
Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

Editorial Reviews

The Horn Book
“Flinn . . . injects a little magic and chivalry into the modern world . . . all on the road to a satisfying “happily ever after.”
ALA Booklist
Fans of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries and Gail Carson Levine’s EllaEnchanted (1997) will embrace this charming, lightweight fantasy.
Publishers Weekly
In the same vein as Flinn's Beastly, this clever and humorous retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" follows an aimless American boy who awakens a princess who has been slumbering for 300 years. Jack is on a European tour mandated by his parents ("What they don't tell you about Europe is how completely lame it is") when he breaks an ancient curse by kissing the slumbering Princess Talia. Instead of rejoicing, she and other awakened members of their magical kingdom are confused and perturbed to find themselves in the 21st century. In order to escape the wrath of her father, who blames her for causing the curse, Talia flees with Jack to his home in Florida. While acclimating to the modern world-cell phones, television, Jell-o shots-the princess manages to charm everyone she meets and help Jack sort out his life. Alternating between the teenagers' distinctive points of view, Flinn skillfully delineates how their upbringings set them apart while drawing parallels between their family conflicts. Fans of happily-ever-after endings will delight in the upbeat resolution, which confirms the notion that "love conquers all." Ages 12-up.
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VOYA - Jonatha Basye
Princess Talia is on the verge of turning sixteen. It is a special day for the people of Euphrasia, but it is also extremely stressful. No one believed that Talia would live to see this day. On the eve of her birth, an evil fairy placed a curse upon Talia and the kingdom. If Talia pricked her finger on a spindle, the entire kingdom of Euphrasia would fall into a deep sleep and vanish from the rest of the world. Jack is on vacation in Europe, trying to erase the memory of a former girlfriend, when he and a friend stumble across the slumbering kingdom. Jack finds Talia, takes one look at her, and knows that he must kiss her. That one kiss will change Jack and Talia's lives forever. Flinn takes the story of Sleeping Beauty and puts a new twist on it. Instead of presenting the novel from only one perspective, Flinn chooses to include both Talia's and Jack's points of view. It is refreshing to see how the characters develop and grow over the course of the story. Talia, a spoiled, pretentious young teenager becomes humble and thoughtful after leaving the confines of her kingdom. Jack, a young man with few prospects in life, realizes that he does love something, even if his parents think it is ridiculous. Those fans of Flinn's widely popular Beastly (HarperCollins, 2007/VOYA August 2007) will thoroughly enjoy this fractured fairy tale as well. Reviewer: Jonatha Basye
Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
This retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" does not alter the classic fairy tale much, except to set the story in a specific place (Euphrasia, a kingdom next to Belgium that is forgotten as part of the curse) and time (300 years ago). The princess Talia is born, and all the fairies in the kingdom are invited to her christening except one: Malvolia. To retaliate, Malvolia places a curse on Talia. Before her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle and sleep, along with the entire kingdom, until she is awakened by a kiss. Three hundred years later, Jack is traveling in Europe on a tour his parents arranged. He is desperate to escape the tour guide and yet another museum and finds his way through the hedge to the sleeping kingdom. His kiss awakens Talia and begins the adventure. The point of view alternates between Talia and Jack, allowing the reader to see the growth of both characters. This also allows for the understanding of events through the eyes of a three-hundred-year-old princess and a modern teenager. The tone is light, which makes even the danger fun, but the insights on families and the modern world can seem superficial. The book is classified as young adult but is appropriate for even the younger segment of that audience. The characters are likable, and the plot is fun and entertaining. Those who enjoy books by Meg Cabot or Gail Carson Levine will be engaged by Talia and Jack. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—An agreeable, fluffy expansion of "Sleeping Beauty," this novel conflates the traditional story with that of an American teenage boy. Talia (the princess) has the world's most overprotective parents—not without reason, of course. Seventeen-year-old Jack's parents think about him only when they are criticizing him. When he awakens Talia with a kiss, she is thrust more than 300 years into a future in the 21st century. The learning curve is steep (and not entirely consistent) but readers will laugh at the pair's escapades as they depart Europe for Florida, try to pass Talia off as a modern Belgian girl, and come to new understandings with their respective parents. No more than fun, but plenty of that.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Sleeping Beauty wakes up in the 21st century; cliches ensue. When Princess Talia pricks her finger on a spindle on her 16th birthday, she fulfills a curse that puts the entire kingdom of Euphrasia to sleep for centuries. Modern teen Jack, on the lam from a guided bus tour of Europe, discovers the slumbering kingdom and wakes the princess in a decidedly creepy date-rape-like scenario. Both wishing to flee the clutches of the king, they escape together to Jack's home in Miami, where the girls are either vapid sluts or nerdy brains and the boys are mostly just clueless. The narration shifts between Talia and Jack, but the device sheds little light into their characters; both are too broadly drawn to engage readers. She seems petulant and pampered but turns out to be kind and adaptable; he's supposedly a slacker, but he's really brimming with motivation. All too easily they buff away each other's sharp edges, though their lack of chemistry makes their inevitable declarations of love forced and awkward. There is nothing fresh about this reinterpretation. (Fantasy. 11-14)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Those fans of Flinn’s widely popular Beastly will thoroughly enjoy this fractured fairy tale as well.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Kiss in Time

Chapter One

If I hear one more syllable about spindles, I shall surely die!

From my earliest memory, the subject has been worn to death in the castle, nay, in the entire kingdom. It is said that spindle, rather than Mama or Papa, was my first word in infancy, and I have little doubt that this is true, for 'tis the word which lights more frequently than any other upon my most unwilling ears. "Talia, dearest, you must never touch a spindle," Mother would say as she tucked me into bed at night.

"I will not, Mother."

"Vous devez ne jamais toucher un axe," my tutor would say during French lessons.

"I will not," I told him in English.

"If ye spy a spindle, ye must leave it alone," the downstairs maid said as I left the castle, always with my governess, for I was never allowed a moment alone.

Every princeling, princess, or lesser noble who came to the castle to play was told of the restrictions upon spindlesÑlest they have one secreted about their person somewhere, or lest they mistakenly believe I was normal. Each servant was searched at the door, and thread was purchased from outside the kingdom. Even peasants were forbidden to have spindles. It was quite inconvenient for all concerned.

It should be said that I am not certain I would know a spindle if I saw one. But it seems unlikely that I ever shall.

"Why must I avoid spindles?" I asked my mother, in my earliest memory.

"You simply must," she replied, so as not to scare me, I suppose.

"But why?" I persisted.

She sighed. "Children should be seen, not heard."

I askedseveral times more before she excused herself, claiming a headache. As soon as she departed, I started in on my governess, Lady Brooke.

"Why am I never to touch a spindle?"

Lady Brooke looked aggrieved. It was frowned upon, she knew, to scold royal children. Father was a humane ruler who never resorted to beheading. Still, she had her job to consider, if not her neck.

"It is forbidden," she said.

Well, I stomped my foot and whined and cried, and when that failed to produce the desired result, I said, "If you do not answer, I will tell Father you slapped me."

"You wicked, wicked girl! God above will punish you for such deceit!"

"No one punishes princesses." My voice was calm. I was done with my screaming, now that I had discovered a better currency. "Not even God."

"God cares not for rank and privilege. If you tell such an awful lie, you will surely be damned."

"Then you must keep me from such a sin by telling me what I wish to know." Even at four or five, I was precocious and determined.

Finally, sighing, she told me.

I had been a long-wished-for babe (this I knew, for it had been told to me almost as often as the spindle speech), and when I was born, my parents invited much of the kingdom to my christening, including several women rumored to have magical powers.

"You mean fairies?" I interrupted, knowing she would not speak the word. Lady Brooke was highly religious, which seemed to mean that she believed in witches, who used their magic for evil, but not fairies, who used their powers for good. Still, even at four, I knew about fairies. Everyone did.

"There is no such a thing as fairies," Lady Brooke said. "But yes, people said they were fairies. Your father welcomed them, for he hoped they would bring you magical gifts. But there was one person your father did not invite: the witch Malvolia."

Lady Brooke went on to describe, at great length and in exhausting detail, the beauty of the day, the height of the sun in the sky, and the importance of the christening service. I closed my eyes. But when she attempted to carry me into my bedchamber, I woke and demanded, "What of the spindle?"

"Oh! I thought you were asleep."

I continued to demand to know of the spindle, which led to a lengthy recitation of the gifts I had received from the various guests. I struggled to remain attentive, but I perked up when she began to describe the fairies' gifts.

"Violet gave the gift of beauty, and Xanthe gave the gift of grace, although surely such qualities cannot be given."

I did not see why not. People often remarked upon my beauty and grace.

"Leila gave the gift of musical talent . . ."

I noted, privately, that I was already quite skilled on the harpsichord.

". . . while Celia gave the gift of intelligence. . . ."

It went without saying. . . .

Lady Brooke continued. "Flavia was about to step forward to give the gift of obedienceÑwhich would have been much welcomed, if I do say so myself." She winked at me, but the wink had a hint of annoyance which was notÑI must sayÑappreciated.

"The spindle?" I reminded her, yawning.

"Just as Flavia was ready to step forward and offer her much-desired gift of obedience, the door to the grand banquet hall was flung open. The witch Malvolia! The guards tried to stop her, but she brazened her way past them.

"'I demand to see the child!' she said.

"Your nurse tried to block her way. But quicker than the bat of an eyelash, the nurse was on the floor and Malvolia was standing over your bassinet.

"'Ah.' She seized you and held you up for all to see. 'The accursed babe.'

"Your mother and father tried to soothe Malvolia with tales of invitations lost, but she repeated the word 'accursed,' several times, and then she made good the curse itself.

"'Before her sixteenth birthday, the princess shall prick her finger on a spindle and die!' she roared. And then, as quickly as she had arrived, she was gone. But the beautiful day was ruined, and rain fell freely from the sky."

A Kiss in Time. Copyright © by Alex Flinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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