Those expecting a Disneyesque Rapunzel in Morrison’s debut, first in the Tyme series, will be pleasantly surprised by the novel’s emotional depth and inventiveness. Lulled into forgetting her past—including several princely attempts to free her—Rapunzel escapes the tower where she’s been kept complacent and happy to save the woman she knows as Witch from supposed murderous fairies. With Jack (of beanstalk fame) by her side, and a grumpy fairy watching from the woods, Rapunzel is bidden to travel through the lands of Tyme. As she passes through its color-coded territories, Rapunzel discovers the truth about herself, the family she never knew existed, and the reason for Jack’s helpfulness. Morrison turns the idea of a naïve, sheltered princess on its head, and when Witch’s cruel actions are revealed, Rapunzel’s brave decision offers a final act of kindness that adds to the story’s already potent mythology and symbolism. The slow, circular dialogue at the beginning of the novel gives way to a full-bodied world worth revisiting. Ages 10–14. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency (Apr.)
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can't imagine any other life.
Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He's the first person Rapunzel's ever met who isn't completely charmed by her (well, the first person she's met at all, really), and he is infuriating especially when he hints that Witch isn't telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised...and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.
Praise for Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel:
* "The novel does not miss a beat in creating Tyme, a beautifully described world with a seamless fusion of magical and nonmagical beings, scenery and objects.... The characters are refreshingly three-dimensional, helping readers empathize with Rapunzel as she wrestles with universal feelings of love and betrayal.... Readers will be eager for more episodes of the intrepid team of Rapunzel and Jack." Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Morrison has a deft hand with both world-building and pacing, carefully constructing the geography and various politics of the fairy-tale world of Tyme in between chase scenes, bridge collapses, narrow escapes, and bargains with all sorts of devious beings. Rapunzel and Jack have an easy, witty banter going as they quest, adding a much appreciated dollop of humor to their tale." Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
"Those expecting a Disneyesque Rapunzel in Morrison’s debut, first in the Tyme series, will be pleasantly surprised by the novel’s emotional depth and inventiveness.... A full-bodied world worth revisiting." Publishers Weekly
"Think you know Rapunzel's story? Think again, because the tower was only the beginning... With a lovable heroine who finds her courage, a somewhat reluctant guide, and an adventure worth following, Grounded is one of my favorite reads this year!" Jennifer Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince
"What makes Grounded so much fun is its ability to combine biting satire with the innocence of fairy tales. It's a sprightly, imaginative romp that keeps unraveling tales as quickly as it spins them, with a spunky heroine and charismatic thief guiding our way." Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil
"The last time I read a book this funny, this smart, and this charming, it was written by J.K. Rowling. Grounded reveals a wonderful new world begging to be explored, full of the kind of magical detail that turns casual readers into lifelong fans. The Tyme fandom begins here!" Melissa Anelli, author of the New York Times bestseller Harry, A History and webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron
Gr 6 Up—The traditional fairy tale of Rapunzel gets a new treatment in the land of Tyme, a mythical continent on the Tranquil Sea. Readers meet Rapunzel as a happy girl, delighted with her home and the woman she calls Witch, who tends to her every need. Princes have come and gone, vowing their love for her, but since "ground people are liars," she rebukes them and lives contentedly in her tower. That situation quickly changes with the arrival of Jack, a young boy who ascends the tower seeking a cure for a badly injured fairy. Remembering nothing of his previous visit, Rapunzel casts him out of the tower, but he returns the next day with more stories about fairies and their powerful magic that will bring harm to Witch. Concerned for Witch's safety, Rapunzel climbs out of the tower and hence becomes "grounded" with only Jack to guide her through foreign lands. The fairies capture Rapunzel and agree to spare her life only if she follows Jack on a journey to locate the Woodmother and learns the truth about her sheltered life. The story line moves swiftly as Jack and Rapunzel face evil Stalkers, thieving bandits, biting cold, and an uncertain food supply. The relationship between the characters develops in a predictable but realistic way and is woven into a story that has plenty of suspense and intrigue. The conclusion neatly ties up the major plotlines, while leaving sufficient room for a sequel. VERDICT Fans of traditional and fractured fairy tales will thoroughly enjoy this new twist on an old story.—Anne Jung-Mathews, Plymouth State University, NH
"Stop calling her that witch. She's Witch," Rapunzel insists; she enjoys her easy life in a tower—and Witch's frequent, apparently loving, visits—until Jack Beanstalker tricks Rapunzel into leaving. Rapunzel knows that she possesses something called "innocence" that is important to Witch, and the text deftly translates that into naïveté, keeping things middle-grade-appropriate. Rapunzel's love for Witch is Jack's leverage for involving the braid-laden teen in what becomes an intricate quest. Orchestrated by the fairy Glyph, Jack and Rapunzel find themselves on a joint journey, with multiple goals. The novel does not miss a beat in creating Tyme, a beautifully described world with a seamless fusion of magical and nonmagical beings, scenery and objects. Although there are dark, suspenseful moments and some acts of violence, there is also plenty of humor, including a frog's wine-influenced exploits and Jack's clumsy attempts to explain pregnancy to Rapunzel. The playful use of Ubiquitous products—acorns that temporarily change into whatever one has paid for—is a pleasing nod to the author's stated admiration of Harry Potter. The characters are refreshingly three-dimensional, helping readers empathize with Rapunzel as she wrestles with universal feelings of love and betrayal—and priming readers of fairy tales to anticipate such novels as Wicked. Readers will be eager for more episodes of the intrepid team of Rapunzel and Jack. (map) (Fantasy. 10-14)