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The popular author of Princess Academy teams with her husband and illustrator Hale (no relation) for a muscular retelling of the famously long-haired heroine's story, set in a fairy-tale version of the Wild West. The Hales' Rapunzel, the narrator, lives like royalty with witchy Mother Gothel, but defies orders, scaling villa walls to see what's outside-a shocking wasteland of earth-scarring mines and smoke-billowing towers. She recognizes a mine worker from a recurrent dream: it's her birth mother, from whom she was taken as punishment for her father's theft from Mother G.'s garden. Their brief reunion sets the plot in motion. Mother G. banishes Rapunzel to a forest treehouse, checking annually for repentance, which never comes. Rapunzel uses her brick-red braids first to escape, then like Indiana Jones with his whip, to knock out the villains whom she and her new sidekick, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), encounter as they navigate hostile territory to free Rapunzel's mom from peril. Illustrator Hale's detailed, candy-colored artwork demands close viewing, as it carries the action-Rapunzel's many scrapes are nearly wordless. With its can-do heroine, witty dialogue and romantic ending, this graphic novel has something for nearly everybody. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.