Published by Penguin Australia on August 27, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Lily's had a charmed life so far, and now she's off to London to pursue her dream of becoming a great actor. But life at the London Drama Academy is full of surprises – and for the first time, Lily finds that things don't always go her way.
It's not just the other students who are making life difficult. Lily's got a secret she's not sure how to handle, but she finds that a room in one of the Academy's deserted towers makes a perfect refuge. Lily can't stay locked in the tower forever, though. And when she meets the mysterious Ronan Carver, everything starts to change . . .
A fast-paced modern fairytale and companion novel to The Cinderella Moment, from talented YA author Jennifer Kloester.
The Rapunzel Dilemma is a fresh modern retelling of Rapunzel, featuring an aspiring actress at the London Drama Academy.
From rehearsals of Shakespeare, to being taught by a famous actress, to classes featuring movement, the book gives us a fine appreciation of the Arts. Lily de Tourney is extremely determined to be an actress and tries her hardest at succeeding at the Academy, but she’s picked on by the popular girls in school and is critiqued harshly by her acting teacher. Having Lily find solace in the Academy’s deserted towers was an interesting twist to the fairy tale, with the mysterious art student Ronan posing as the Prince who saves her.
“What if your hair isn’t strong enough to hold you?” said Max.
“It will be,” Lily assured him. “Trust me, Max. It’d be fine.”
Unfortunately, Lily and I just did not get along. She’s a sheltered rich girl who constantly whines about the obstacles she faced, and I just found it really hard to connect to someone who had everything handed to them with a silver platter, yet still found things to complain about. Once she was out in the real world, she couldn’t seem to cope and needed others to save her and get her out of situations. She is quite a meek and passive character and even Ronan has to tell her off at times. With his help, the intention is to have Lily develop into a stronger woman by the end of the novel, but I never really saw this happening as her rich family pretty much gives her everything she wants no matter what.
Further demonstrating her weakness is how her father puts the expectation on her to continue the family business, sacrificing her dream of acting. He also says he can’t tell her best friend and half sister Angel, who would give up her dream for Lily. I just found his imposing behaviour to be extremely unfair on Lily, especially knowing she wasn’t going to stand up for herself at all. Instead of putting her foot down, she just goes along with it and doesn’t tell Angel anything at all, even after she encounters many problems at the Academy. I just didn’t agree with the decisions she made throughout the book.
“Put it this way, I think you’ve always had someone to smooth your path, make things easy and take the hardship out of life. So, when you get your first taste of real adversity, it’s a huge struggle for you….So, yeah, I think you probably need rescuing.” – Ronan.
The romance with Ronan was sweet enough, although I didn’t see what he saw in Lily, especially since she was so different to him. Her serves as her support, but we are barely given anything about Ronan until later in the book.
I didn’t realise this was the companion novel to the Cinderella Moment until afterwards, but I don’t think I missed a lot as I believe Lily’s story is standalone.
While written well, The Rapunzel Dilemma featured a character who I failed to connect with due to her sheltered lifestyle and passive attitude to everything. It was an interesting, fresh and modern twist to the fairytale and I enjoyed the drama elements on the story, but I just don’t think it was for me.
Rating: 3 out of 5
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.