by Elissa Sussman


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Epic, rewarding, and provocative, Elissa Sussman’s original fairy tale tells the story of Aislynn, a princess who misbehaves and must give up her royal trappings and enter a life of service as a fairy godmother. Booklist wrote, “Sussman delightfully mixed dystopian tension with retold fairy tales, and the result is something wholly original.”

A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale is part coming-of-age story, part adventure, part sweet romance. Will Aislynn remain true to her vows and her royal family and turn away from everything she longs for? Or will she stray from The Path and discover her own way? Includes a recipe for Fairy Godmother Bookbinder Bread, and a map.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062274557
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Series: Stray Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,334,959
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Elissa Sussman received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon, Disney, DreamWorks, and Sony Imageworks. You can find her name in the credits of The Croods, Hotel Transylvania, The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue dog, Basil. Stray is her first novel.

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Stray 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
VBartles More than 1 year ago
This was a lovely retelling of ALL the fairy tales! (And I do love a good fairy tale retelling.) It took me a few pages to really get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked. I loved the way all of my favorites were turned on their heads. I can't wait to read the sequel! <3
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
Princesses are sent to an Academy if they show uncontrolled magic, for its not right for a princess to do magic, they must follow the Path always or will be redirected. At Aislynns Introduction Ball, which all princesses have when they turn 16, she has a magical accident and her adviser tells her that she is no longer going to be a Princess and is being redirected to become a fairy godmother.  Despite leaving everything she knows, Aislynn tries to stick to the Path, but its not always easy. At Fairy Godmother Academy, Aislynn is assigned to Princess Linnea and needs to do all that's asked of her. She had spent years trying to hide her magic and now she has to embrace it and use it any time Linnea asks. She realises that magic may not be as bad as she thought but then she is dragged into something she doesn't understand and has to run for her life. There are things that she learns that make her rethink everything she learned. Can she find out the truth before its too late? Im still really torn about Stray, on the one hand its a unique and captivating story but on the other it felt unfinished and we were left with so many unanswered questions. Im going to list my likes and dislikes because it seems easier. Lets get the dislikes out of the way first.  As I said, we are left with a lot of unanswered questions, which is why its only 3 stars. The world building just felt half finished. For example, whats the story with the Wicked Queen? I know we will probably see more of her in future books but I would of liked a bit more info on her. Why was the Path introduced and for what reason? Its not answered properly. Lastly I would of liked to learn a bit more about the classes and how they came about?  The pacing at the start was really slow. I think it took me about 4 days to get through the first half but that's not to say it was bad because it wasn't. It was good, just slow.  What I liked. I really liked Aislynn. She has an innocence about her that's compelling yet she is strong, brave and caring. We see her going from a quiet girl trying to stick to the rules to a woman embracing what needs to be done. Im hoping in future books she gets stronger!!  I loved Thackery. From the second we meet him he captures the heart. Such a sweetheart!!! I loved seeing his and Aislynns relationship grow. Its not a romance yet but it seems to be heading in that direction which I cant wait to see. He was the highlight of the book. The idea of the classes was awesome. I loved how each class has there own colour!!  So overall, Stray was really good. Its a unique and captivating story with amazing characters and while being quite slow to start its still a magical fairytale and I look forward to more. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicole Smith More than 1 year ago
This book was great. It is kind of fairytale-ish. There was fairy godmothers, slippers, briars, spindles, evil queens, princesses, and magic.  It starts with Princess Aislynn believing she is wicked and cursed, being a woman who can do magic. She can't control this magic, which in her eyes, makes her worse than the other girls at her school. So much so that her magic comes out when she least wants it to and she gets in more and more trouble because of these outbursts. She gets sent to a new school to learn to become a fairy godmother. Here she meets Thackery, a gardener who brings her out of her own head long enough to help her relax.  This was a book that I couldn't wait to listen to, since I listened to it on audiobook, each time I had free time and was able to listen to something. I give this 5 stars and can't wait for the next book to come out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) 16-year-old Princess Aislynn needs to find a husband, but she can only do this if she is able to keep her magic in check. Unfortunately this is difficult for Aislynn, and soon she finds herself in trouble, and ‘redirected’ (expelled). Can Aislynn cope with her new position? And will she ever learn to control her magic? This was an interesting story, with a fairy-tale feel. Aislynn was an okay character, although I wanted her to try to own her magic instead of being afraid of it. I did feel sorry for her at points, and I appreciated the way she tried to keep out of trouble, even if trouble seemed to find her. The storyline in this was okay, and it really did have a fairy-tale feel to it, with the wicked queen and magic mirrors. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a retelling of something, but if it was, I don’t know what it was a retelling of because it was pretty unique. There was a hint of romance, but again I felt sorry for Aislynn and all the problems she got in the quest for love. The ending was a little confusing, and I might have to go back and re-read it again. I’m not 100% sure what happened, but it was clear that this wasn’t the end of the story. Overall; interesting fairy-tale story, 7 out of 10.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
Lovely, enchanting, and enjoyable, Stray was a wonderful YA fantasy read. I really liked this book. With the inventive world, likable characters, and engaging story, this book was great. The world created in this book was interesting, with its incorporation of fairy tales and different classes of royalty. I would have liked a bit more explanation, though. Why did the class systems and strict rules come about? What was the full story behind the Wicked Queen and why was she so important? I assume we'll get more of that in the next book, but I wish we had gotten more, so that I could understand the world that the author created. Aislynn was a good heroine. She was resilient and strong in a quiet way. I wish that she had been more active, though. She was so passive about everything that was done to her and took so long to start realizing there might be a different way to live. I get that she had been taught that way of life from birth, but it. Took. So. Long. And, it slowed down the book. I liked her fine, but I hope to see her become strong and more active in the next book. Thackery was wonderful. He was very sweet and totally endearing. We didn't see much of him in this book, but I hope we get more in the next one, because I found him to be adorable. The romance was light in this book, but it was sweet and well done. The plot was okay. It didn't keep me totally hooked, though. It just took so long for everything to unfold, and it didn't help that Aislynn was so passive. But, I still enjoyed the story and the ending has me curious about what is to come next. Stray was a lovely YA read. It wasn't perfect, but I still enjoyed it. Enchanting, lovely, and engaging, it was a good read. YA lovers, this is a book worth checking out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Stray by Elissa Sussman Book One of the Four Sisters series Publisher: Greenwillow Publication Date: October 7, 2014 Rating: 4 stars Source eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): “I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.” Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after. When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray. But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take. After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it? STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale will be released October 7th, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins. What I Liked: Ah! Original fairy tale plus fantasy plus subtle romance equals win! So much win! This book was awesomeeeee! I'm not used to fairy tales being full-length novels, but that's how they originated (most of them, I believe?). However, I LOVED this story. I LOVED Aislynn's struggles as a maiden, as a fairy godmother, as a girl trying to find her way. Aislynn has really powerful magic. Her abilities sometimes spill over, getting her in trouble at her academy. She is a princess trying to push down her magic and find a suitable match so she can be married at sixteen and settle down. Everything is about staying on the Path, which is dictated by the headmistress of the academy, the Adviser of the family, even a little by the fairy godmother of the maiden... but not by the maiden. When Aislynn and her magic and her actions become too much for the academy, she is redirected to another academy, to be a fairy godmother (think NUN) of the lost and confused princess of two really important people (can't remember their names). Aislynn knows things aren't right, but she doesn't want to stray... I thought I was going to have a hard time with this one because there is heavy emphasis on the Path, and what is good for everyone. This idea is a lot like destiny, I suppose, but like, someone chooses everything for you, so it's not... I don't know but I didn't like this idea of the Path at all. But that's just it - the author does an amazing job of developing the idea of the Path, and basically making me hate it.  It made me a bit angry how blindly Aislynn and all the maidens and fairy godmothers blindly followed the Path and the headmistresses and the Advisers and everyone - but again, this is a testament to how well Sussman built this world and constructed this idea. I hate the blindly following submissive thing, but I think the author did a really good job with this idea. It's one of those things that you hate, but then you're like, well, the author WANTS me to hate this. So basically... the author did a fantastic job with the world-building. This is an original fantasy world, so it had to be creative and unique, and it was (in my opinion). I've never read anything with fairy godmothers portrayed as basically nuns? Cold, heartless nuns, but that sort of thing. Sussman definitely captured my attention, when it comes to the world-building and craftsmanship! And the story did too, of course. I think I liked Aislynn, definitely more towards the middle and end of the book. Basically once she is out of the academy. I felt soooo bad for her when she was exiled to the next academy to be a fairy godmother. That's such an awful punishment, really. And the I hated the headmistress and her cruelty. I wasn't sure how to feel about Princess Linnea... in the end, I'm pretty apathetic towards the princess. Meh. The story itself is quite intriguing. I wanted to know how Sussman would tie in the overall story arc with Aislynn's banishment to another academy. How would Aislynn having powerful abilities influence the story, how would that come into play with the evil queen, how would it help/hurt the princess? Would Aislynn get her own happy ending? There is a subtle romance in this book. It's more like a friendship with romantic feelings. The only thing is, I sort of only saw Thackery functioning as a love interest. Was that the intent? I was hoping for more from the sexy gardener. He didn't do much besides tell jokes and pick flowers and help people escape sometimes... but that's okay, he's a fabulous love interest. I like how the romance is subtle but totally there but very underlying. The ending was good! It wraps up like a standalone should, but I'm curious to see if Sussman will write companion novels in this world. I know there will be more novels, since the summary of this book says so, but will they be sequel stories, or companion stories? Tricky tricky... What I Did Not Like: I might have already mentioned my dislikes in the likes section (how backward of me, I know). I didn't really have much to complain about or anything - I wanted more from Thackery, as a protagonist, and not just a love interest. I wanted him to play a more important role, or be more manly or something. I just feel like he was part of the background - there, but not something/someone to really notice. Kind of. Would I Recommend It: I really enjoyed this book, and I would totally recommend it! I mean, I would recommend anything fairy-tale-related, to be honest... I don't think I've read an original fairy tale that I didn't like. Fairy tale retellings - different ball game. But this one is an original fairy tale, and it's awesome, and it's fantasy, and you should read it! Rating: 4 stars. An excellent debut novel! I hope to read (and love?) the next books by this author!!