REVIEW #109: Towering by Alex Flinn

Title: Towering
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 14th 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 293 pages
Source: Edelweiss/received from publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

Towering is a re-telling of Rapunzel, same tower, same long blonde hair, different era. Rachel has been trapped in a tower since she can remember staring out, singing, hoping she will be saved. Wyatt is trying to deal with a great tragedy so he is decides to get away from home and live with one of his mother’s friend’s mother. Mrs. Greenwood was an older lady whose daughter went missing, a common occurrence in this isolated creepy town. On his first day in the home, he sees the ghost of the missing daughter and the singing voice.  Wyatt is determined to figure out where the voice is coming from and why he is seeing the ghost.

It is hard to describe this story and to really grasp my thoughts on it. The beginning of the story had me so intrigued. I wanted to know more about how a tower stays hidden this day in age, why did Rachel need to be in a tower, how she got there, etc. The tragedy that brought Wyatt to the town was also a question that keeps me going. At this point I was giving the story a solid 3 stars. It takes a bit of a turn after they meet.
When Wyatt and Rachel finally meet, it was insta-love. I am not talking about just a little. I am talking about full out insta-love, overwhelming sappiness. Quite corny. For example:

“The song was a little depressing too, about someone who didn’t believe in love, but I liked the chorus where it said: Darling you are the only exception. You are the only exception. Because that was how I felt about Rachel, exactly how I felt. The song was about me keeping my distance, not taking chances with people because I was afraid. But Rachel was different. Rachel was worth the risk, any risk. The only exception”

YEA. It was a bit much. This example was after their second meeting. So I told myself, hey, it is a fairy tale re-telling, cut it some slack, it can be more prince charming love at first sight syndrome. I looked passed the insta-love and pressed on. I wanted to know more about the disappearing kids and what Rachel’s role was. Without spoiling the story, there were a couple twists at the end that I was not expecting at all but the reasoning behind the kidnappings and the reason to keep Rachel hidden were a kind of weak and a disappointment.  The just did not seem to fit the story.  

Unfortunately, the intriguing beginning eventually reveled a super sappy instant love story combined with a random back story/explanation of the whole situation.  Towering does have a beautiful cover though.  I would recommend if you are have no, ZERO, averse feelings towards instant love and love fairy tales re-tellings.  



  1. Yeah.. I can understand the insta-love in most fairytales (since they are so short, there isn't much time to develop the romance) but this could have been so much better. It didn't work for me and I felt like puking during some of those cliché sentences :p

  2. I had the same feelings about this one. I wanted to like it and thought there were so many good things to work with in the story, but in the end the focus got put in the wrong places. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't great, but it had the potential to be.

  3. I think I'm going to pass on this one. I'm not really that into insta-love and the last Alex Flinn novel I read wasn't my favorite. Plus, I just read a really good retelling of Rapunzel called Rapunzel Untangled, so I'm good. :)

  4. It's pretty rare that a book can get away with quoting something contemporary or current, without me feeling like it was already cliched. In this case, quoting a Paramore song, I probably would have closed the book and walked away! Haha

  5. I really think that this book was just a plain old fun, guilty read for me. It's a bit crazy when it comes to explanations and the romance, but it was inspired/based on a fairytale, so I forgave that pretty easily. It's one of the better Rapunzel re-tellings I've read though!


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