Letters to Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes

Came out: March 1, 2007

Pages: 192

Publisher: Harper Collins

Format: Hardcover

Source: Waldenbooks

Age Group: Middle Grade

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl. Let's call her Rapunzel. A modern-day version. Abandoned. Alone. Waiting for her hair to grow and dreaming of a way to escape from her tower. She was trapped, you see. Not in the conventional fairy-tale way—this was the dreaded after-school Homework Club. A desolate place, where no gum could be chewed, and where Rapunzel sat day after day, cursing the evil spell that had been cast over her father. The doctors called it something else, but a true heroine can smell an evil spell a mile away. So when a mysterious letter addressed to P.O. Box #5667 falls into her hands, she knows she's found the pea under her mattress. But since when is finding happily ever after as simple as Just Writing Back?Winner of the Ursula Nordstrom Fiction Contest, Sara Lewis Holmes's enchanting debut novel is a breath of fresh air. Told through letters, with a liberal sprinkling of fairy dust, Rapunzel's quest for a happy ending gives every reader something to believe in.

This was my favorite book when I was younger, and still ranks on my favorites list. It's poignant and beautifully written. I love the story of how she struggles with her dad's disease. The soft prose and developed characters make it lovely."Rapunzel" is a girl who just wants her dad to not be depressed anymore. She flashes back to memories of him that make her sad because she doesn't know why he has clinical depression. All these people tell her that she's gifted, and they tell her what to do. When she notices part of a letter to a post office box, she starts writing to this person.She uses the alias "Rapunzel" because the person never writes back and so she refuses to tell the person her name. I really liked her character; she's probably the most memorable character that I have ever read about.And the relatiionships in this book. The relationship between her and her dad, her and the recipient of the letter, her and her Mom, and how they've all been tainted by her dad's clinical depression are all deftly explored in this book.I won't tell you about the plot because that's something that you'll want to find out for yourself. The characters are absolutely amazing and the writing is lovely and perfect for this type of book.Trust me: no matter what age you are, you will really want to read this book. No matter how old I am, this book has remained with me since fourth grade.Recommended for anybody who loves: My Brother Made Me Do It; great writing; Elizabeth Scott; Sarah Dessen; MG books; etc,.Possible book club questions:Do you think that Rapunzel suspects the truth about  the letters she sends?How does the relationship between Rapunzel's mom and her change as the book goes on?Rapunzel keeps fortunes in a jar. How is this comforting to her? Do you have anything similar?How is Homework Club similar to the tower in Rapunzel? Can you think of other things that are a metaphor for the story?What would you have thought if you were the social worker? Etc,.