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Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel    by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes order for
by Kim Askew
Order:  USA  Can
F+W Media, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Kim Askew and Amy Helmes's Tempestuous takes the basis for Shakespeare's The Tempest and turns it into a light YA contemporary.

Miranda Prospero used to be the queen of her prep school until (unbeknownst to her) a tutoring service she was running turned into a cheating ring. Thrown under the bus by her ex-boyfriend, Miranda now has to pay back the tutoring money by taking a job at the mall food court. Although she has fallen from grace, Miranda's problem-solving magic soon endears her to the rest of the mall workers who help her throw a birthday party for her fellow Hot Dog Kebob employee, Ariel.

Unfortunately, a snowstorm strands all of the workers and some late shoppers including Miranda's ex and three former best friends inside the mall. Also trapped inside is a burglar who is exploiting the blizzard to raid stores. To make matters worse, Miranda accidentally gets herself handcuffed to Caleb, the geeky clerk at a gaming store. Can Miranda defend her new friends against her old friends, find the thief, and help Ariel have a great birthday, all with just one hand?

Tempestuous is billed as 'a hilarious twist on The Tempest'. While some character names and traits are there, the only similarity that really clicked with me was the fact that the characters are stranded. Askew and Helmes try to show that Miranda can work magic, like Prospero in The Tempest. But it seems rather forced as he could command spirits and she is just very good at problem-solving. Ariel gels best with her Tempest counterpart (although she is firmly female rather than an androgynous male) as she displays an ethereal, fairy-like quality in her outlook on life. Caleb is obviously supposed to be a modern-day, teenaged, non-witch-cursed Caliban, except in The Tempest, Miranda would never fall in love with Caliban.

While it does not really work as a twist on The Tempest, Tempestuous is a light-hearted, fast-paced, fun YA contemporary. The characters get up to some hijinks that would not end well for their mall careers in real life, but it does make entertaining reading. If you are familiar with The Tempest, you will find vague similarities and enjoy the chapter titles, but that is about it; if you have never read The Tempest, you will enjoy this fun, quick read.

Hopefully this Twisted Lit series will encourage readers to check out the works on which they are loosely based, and that would be a great win if they do.

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