Mean Girls Meets Elf, a fish-out-of-water, comic YA fantasy
Me, My Elf & I by Heather Swain
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: June 11, 2009
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Fifteen-year-old Zephyr Addler has just moved to Brooklyn with her five siblings, her naturopath mother, and her folk-rock-star father from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Switching from being home schooled in a cottage in the woods to attending a sophisticated arts high school in a big city isn’t Zephyr’s only culture shock. She’s living for the first time among humans.
Zephyr is an elf with the magical ability of casting spells and can potentially live hundreds of years. In addition, like all her fellow elves, Zephyr is a tall, gorgeous, green-eyed blonde who is fit and lean from a vigorous, outdoor lifestyle and a healthy, natural diet. She also shares to a great degree the elvish trait of empathetic kindness.
Zephyr’s family plans to be away from Alverland, their secret. elvish home, for only a year while Zephyr’s dad is making major strides in his musical career. But the adult elves in their close-knit community–especially Zephyr’s grandmother–are very worried about what will happen to the Addler family in an “erdler” (human) city. Zephyr doesn’t care about any of that. She’s got big plans, and she can’t wait to get started on them. She wants to act, sing and, most of all, have a date with a cute erdler boy!
This book is well written, and the story is a comic treat. I enjoyed very much learning about Zephyr’s life as an elf. She is immensely likeable, as are her eccentric, lovable family. Zephyr’s struggles to fit into the human world are at times funny and at others poignant. I also found it very clever the way the author uses Zephyr’s virtues of kindness and innocent naïveté to get Zephyr–and her friends and family–into whacky messes.
Teen girls will gobble up this story! And parents will approve very much of the elvish lifestyle. They don’t drink, smoke or engage in uncommitted sex, so the book is G-Rated and could safely be read by girls as young as 11.
Fantasy World-Building: 4
Comedy Plot: 4