Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started work with a theatre company. Sure, she’s only an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off-Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley’s about to step into the role of Titania the Faerie Queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man named Sonny Flannery plunges her into an adventure she could never have imagined. Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and the Faerie realm alike.
It's not just the jacket that's strikingly similar to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely: debut novelist Livingston, too, delivers a lost-now-found faerie princess; a dark, brooding changeling love interest; faerie royalty and warring faerie courts (summer and winter), with accompanying threats to the human world. As a read-alike, this book inescapably invites comparison, and fans of Marr (or Holly Black) may be disappointed. The author offers a promising variation: she uses Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as a window onto the faerie world (17-year-old heroine Kelley Winston, an aspiring actress, steps from understudy into the role of Titania). But the Shakespeare device will also be familiar to many YA readers, and it embellishes rather than advances the plot. The shining performance belongs to Sonny Flannery neither human nor faerie, he is a member of the changeling guard that watches the gates between the human and the fey realms. Sonny is detailed to the gate in Manhattan's Central Park, where he and Kelley meet. Readers may want less Kelley, who comes across as na ve, and more Sonny, finding in him a worthy hero and romantic interest. Ages 12 up.