Rating: 4 stars
“Whatever After: Beauty Queen” is the seventh book in the lighthearted middle grade series (for younger middle grade readers) comprised of fractured fairy tales. In this delightful series, Abby and her brother Jonah go through a magic mirror into a fairy tale story. What Mlynowski does with the stories is clever and thought-provoking.
Each story with its different fairy tale brings a different message to the reader. In this story, Abby is jealous of a friend’s painting and destroys it on purpose. She feels terrible about it and thinks she must be an awful person. When she and her brother go back in time to the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” she learns an important lesson. And as in most of the stories in this series, the happy ending is changed. Although it’s still a happy-ever-after, Beauty and the Beast are not together.
This is the first story in the series in which her brother plays a rather important role. He, as well as Abby, learns about what is important in life. In this story as in the others, Abby isn’t the only character who grows and matures and learns a lesson.
Mlynowski is also clever in the hints she drops in each book about the fairy in the magic mirror, Maryrose. The magic mirror and the fairy tie the stories together. Mlynowski also does a great job telling just enough of the story for new readers to feel that each book can be read as a stand-alone novel.Read all the “Whatever After” books starting with “Fairest of All, ” “If the Shoe Fits,” “Sink or Swim,” “Dream On,” “Bad Hair Day,” “Cold as Ice,” “Beauty Queen,” and “Once Upon a Frog.“