Nissa by Bethany Lopez
Publish Date: April 23, 2013
At 900 years old, Nissa is finally ready to follow her mother's path and become the best Fairy Godmother she can. She’s not thrilled when her first assignment turns out to be a teenage human girl with self-esteem issues, but she knows she has to start somewhere. Her assignment has dealt with bullies since her freshman year and they haven’t let up. If Nissa can’t help her regain her self-confidence her future is bleak.
To complicate matters Nissa experiences all the signs that she's met the being fated for her. This impossibility distracts her from her purpose. After all, fairies and humans aren't meant for each other. How can her heart believe otherwise? Can Nissa successfully complete her first assignment as a Fairy Godmother? Will the fates allow Nissa and Levi to be together? And even if they do, will Levi believe Nissa once she reveals the truth?
Let me completely honest: I only chose this book because it had the words "a contemporary fairy tale" on the cover. The whole godmother thing didn't really sound too exciting and girls with self-esteem issues tend to be bleh. It's all about "she's so pretty, so I'll bully her" sort of thing that is so irritating. This does happen, but probably not to the extent that writers tend to exaggerate in their books. However in Nissa, the primary focus is not Vicky and her issues, the priority is Nissa; Vicky's brother, Levy; and their romance.
I think the biggest problem that this book was its length. Usually a book's length is only a problem when the book is too long and unnecessary with details, but in this case everything felt a little too rushed. Immediately from the very beginning, we skim through Nissa's childhood within a few pages and jump immediately to her mission to help Vicky. It would have been nice to have an elaboration on the fairy world, which is infinitely more interesting than the human world.
The length also unfortunately contributed to the completely rushed romance. Once again, hormones have overwhelmed the brains of our poor, innocent protagonist and her lover. I admit that their little dates and talks were cute, but they came entirely too soon! There was an excuse for this Romeo and Juliet-esque, minus their deaths, romance in that fairies have soul mates. Still that is not any reason to just have them going from formal greetings to kissing within the next dozen pages.
Keeping with the length problem, the main characters felt somewhat lacking. Nissa and Levy were just two hopeless fools in love, and somehow the supporting characters were the ones who shined the most. Vicky's unjustly pushed-off character arc was really sweet and cute after the bullying crisis was over. The redemption of one of her bullies was also adorable because his apology was so sincere and just ah!!! Even though he was a vile character initially, his extremely long and heartfelt apology just stood out so much. In fact, it was my favorite moment of the book. I kind of want to see a spin-off with Vicky and the guy getting together because he became my fave character of the novel.
Despite its somewhat undeveloped world and romance, Nissa was an enjoyable read. The writing was not completely solid throughout the entirety, feeling a bit childish at some points. However, the story was able to effectively move along, which is definitely more important. There was a lot of potential in this book in spite of its faults, so I do look forward to Bethany Lopez's future works.
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