I hate it when a “literary” novel pretends to be fantasy

among-others

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“Among Others” is a story of a girl who, forced to flee her crazy mother after the death of her twin sister, searches for community and explores the glory years of SciFi at a girls boarding school.

Notice what’s not in that summary? Magic. Fairies. That’s what the book was billed as: a modern fairy tale. But it’s not.

It’s a good book, don’t get me wrong. Anyone who was ever a teenager using books to retreat from a miserable life will experience stunning deja vu. The narrator is likable and interesting. The story itself is a cool take on “what comes happily ever after”: what happens after the big story is over and you just have to find a way to keep going.

But the fairies aren’t actually important to the story. You could take out all the fairies and magic, and you wouldn’t lose any plot. You’d lose a couple of pages, tops. The book just isn’t about them.

The magic feels tacked on top of a non-magical coming of age story. The only reason this bothers me as much as it does is that I was promised a fairy story. I got a good story, but I didn’t get a fairy story.

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