Bookworm Veronica and vapid Heather are fighting over the bookstore's last copy of fantasy novel Queen of Twilight for an assignment, when both are zapped by the handheld scanner. Suddenly they find themselves in an unfamiliar forest. Veronica, who has read the book before, recognizes the setting as Chapter Two, where Princess Arabella meets the wizard and they begin their journey to save the kingdom from the evil queen. Unfortunately the Princess is accidentally killed when they meet, so the girls pretend that Heather is the princess so that they do not upset the story line. They set off with the wizard but learn that they have changed the course of events. Veronica uses her previous knowledge of the book, along with the rules of the other fantasy novels she has read, to lead them through all of the perils of this imaginary world. Papademetriou creates an enjoyable fantasy world that reflects on itself and expectations of the genre. Regular fantasy readers will like recognizing the classic works that Veronica references throughout the story. The story of the wizard and the queen itself, though, is not as compelling as the look at the structure of fantasy. It seems as if Papademetriou is introducing elves, witches, or dragons because they need to be in the story, but they do little to advance the plot. The book is a fun reminder of great fantasy books in the past, but falls short of great itself. It is recommended for libraries and schools with a large fantasy readership. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Razorbill/Penguin, 288p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to15.
Heather Simms and Veronica Lopez are juniors at the same high school--at least until they both get sucked into the fantasy novel Queen of Twilight. One moment, the girls are arguing over who will buy the last copy of the book; the next moment, they find themselves in the middle of a forest. When Heather accidentally shatters Princess Arabelle--who, though turned to glass by the evil queen�s sister, the appointed heroine of the novel--with a misguided arrow, the girls decide to tell the wizard Strathorn that Heather is the princess whom he seeks. In the process, a company of unlikely heroes comes together--an old wizard, a spoiled blonde, a know-it-all bookworm, an inelegant elf, and a roguish squirrel. As they continue their ruse, the girls discover that they have altered the plot drastically; judging by the giant �assassin bug� and the enormous Bloodsnake of Nithral, these changes are not for the better. But their journey is far from over, and they continue on their quest to defeat the Queen of Twilight. By the end of the novel, what started out as a plan to save themselves becomes a terrifying adventure that links the two girls in a bond of never-ending friendship. As heartwarming as it is funny, this novel shows how two girls who have allowed stereotypes to prevent them from looking beyond the surface learn to look deeper and believe in people, even the ones who look like �weirdoes� and �dumb blondes.� Reviewer: Brittany Marshall
Gr 6 Up-When Veronica and Heather, two radically different sophomores, are transported into the midst of the high-fantasy novel that they're supposed to be writing papers about, they are compelled to find their way through the story. Veronica is a bookish introvert who already knows the plot backward and forward. Heather is a "queen bee" who knows nothing about the novel and wants only to get home with her nail polish intact. In her ignorance, she diverges from the story line and is mistaken for a princess, which forces Veronica to improvise, much against her natural inclinations. The girls' mutual animosity adds some further interest to a situation ripe for transformative, character-forming experiences among the elves, dwarves, wizard, witches, and whatnot. Papademetriou is playful with the genre, freely referring to Tolkien, Baum, Rowling, Lewis, and Claymation movies, etc., for shorthand descriptions of her settings and characters. For example, one of the elves says he's a "Kibler," which readers realize should be pronounced like a well-known baking company after he produces a batch of cookies that he claims to have baked in a tree. The author simultaneously spoofs the genre while plundering it for her own ends. The result is hardly deep, but it's good fun.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The Queen of Twilight, a nonexistent but in many ways familiar epic, is never the same after two teenagers squabbling over a copy fall into its pages. Bubble-headed teen-queen Heather Simms and class-brain Veronica Lopez find themselves reluctant allies as they're pitched into a desperate struggle against said Queen, who's out to plunge the world into eternal darkness. Veronica has already read the tale many times, but her calculations are thrown way off kilter almost immediately, as the newcomers manage to kill off the original protagonist, Princess Arabelle, and Heather is forced to assume the role. Aided by a wise old wizard (naturally), a stocky "Kiblar" elf with a pack full of delicious cookies, a libidinous talking squirrel and others, the pair traverse the Caves of Terror, the Lake of Woe and like locales on the way to various nail-chipping adventures-encountering along the way a wide array of foes, some gnarly, others totally hot. In the end the day is (literally) saved, Heather turns out to be brighter than she initially seems and the two part friends. Solidly entertaining, the outing is laced with teenspeak and common fantasy tropes but not played entirely for cheap laughs. (Fantasy. 11-13)