This sleeping beauty is no wilting flower
I love fairy tales and I love outer space, so picking up Anna Sheehan's debut novel A Long, Long Sleep was a no-brainer for me. In this fantastic reinterpretation of the story of Sleeping Beauty, we meet (biologically) 16-year-old Rose Fitzroy, who has been awoken from a long, long sleep by a kiss. It isn't a terribly romantic kiss, though, and she doesn't find herself in a magnificent four-poster bed in a picturesque castle - instead, she's resuscitated from a chemically induced stasis by a boy she's never met, finding herself in the dusty basement in her apartment building. Instead of going upstairs and finding her parents, as she expected she would when she woke up, she discovers that her parents, along with everyone she's ever known, have died years ago. Her little nap has lasted 62 years - long enough for the Earth to suffer a plague and recover. Coping with the sudden loss of her family and friends would be hard enough, but Rose has to deal with the extreme changes the planet has gone through, as well as her sudden fame. Not only is she the only person to have survived stasis for such a lengthy period, she is also the heiress to an interplanetary empire - one whose appearance is not exactly welcome to her father's former business partners. To add to her troubles, she is being hunted by a robotic assassin, and she has no idea why, or how to stop it.
While the premise of the story alone is pretty fantastic and fascinating, what really takes it from merely an entertaining read to a tale that lingers in the mind and begs to be shared is Rose herself. Her reaction to her situation is understandably extreme, but the hope and strength she shows as she comes to accept her loss and learn to live and thrive in her new world is touching and inspirational without being cheesy and sentimental. While the story may start out as a fairy tale, it ends up being much more, without ever losing its magic.
If you like this story, you may be interested in checking out some other fairy tale retellings. Take a look at the booklist Fairy Tales, Old and New for more teen fairy tales.