Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Published: April 12th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley and publisher. Thanks!
Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic. But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness. With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . . .
Red has magical powers, just like her grandmother, but she is afraid of it. Every time she attempts to do magic, something bad happens and she refuses to use it anymore. When her grandmother gets really sick, Red decides to go away to find a cure. On her way she comes across two new friends: a wolf and Goldie, who wants to find a love potion for her parents.
I really liked how Shurtliff blended different tales into one story and how she switched up the roles of certain characters. It made is creative and fun to explore. There are even some nods to Rump, who was Red's best friend before her moved away. Red herself reminded me of Jack and how they are both brave enough to go on a journey all by themselves.
The best part however, was the growing friendship between Red and Goldie. Red has turned into a bit of a lonely, introvert girl. Everyone in the village is afraid of her and try to avoid her. This has made Red so independent that she first tries to turn Goldie away. Throughout the book we see how Red develops and changes around Goldie; the two become close and start to depend on each other.
The plot itself is interesting enough to keep you occupied. Red catches a dwarf and uses his knowledge to hunt down three cures for her grandmother's sickness, but they all come with a price. There is an important message in this book that Red starts to realize; sometimes the inevitable thing happens and you can't stop it. This makes this book heavier than the previous ones, but it handles it in such a way it is not too dark for children.
Overall, fun story with an unique spin on Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks.