Book Review: Neenah Fynn and the Dawn of Summer

Hello lovely readers! It’s been a while since I posted a book review here, so I thought it might be fun to mix it up a bit. I do review a lot of books on my Goodreads, but maybe I’ll post more of them here if that interests you.

Today’s post is about an ARC (Advance Reader Copy), which is always fun. There’s something really cool about reading a book before it comes out. And, okay, I was influenced by the pretty cover.

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About the Book

A school for faeries… An evil queen… And a fight to the death.

“Life as a faerie is supposed to be simple. You go to Endeavour Academy, learn to harness your powers, and gain your wings so you can become an active member in society. Unfortunately, that is not reality for my friends and me.”

Neenah Fynn is a new full-fledged faerie at Endeavour Academy, but learning to harness her powers isn’t as simple as it seems. With rumors that the next-in-line Faerie Queen has come to Endeavour, dark faeries begin hunting students and threats abound from all corners of her world.

When her best friends are thrust into the dark faeries’ path, she must find the strength to fight back. Will she have what it takes to defeat the forces that are trying to destroy her?

Goodreads | Amazon | 284 pages | ebook
Where I got it: I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Neenah Fynn and the Dawn of Summer releases tomorrow!

The Writing

This was a fun read I would classify as middle-grade. The main character is 13. From the back cover blurb, I was expecting older for some reason, but I always enjoy a good middle grade book so I didn’t mind at all. The writing style was conversational and easy to get into. Neenah’s voice felt fresh and unique. It felt nice to read from a younger perspective for a change. It’s been a few years since I was 13, so I can’t really speak to how accurate it was, but she seemed to be realistic.

The Plot

I got strong Harry Potter vibes from this. Neenah goes to a faerie school where she’s sorted into one of four houses. However, this wasn’t an original idea for J. K. Rowling either – what I learned in my Children’s Literature course is that the “school story” is quite a popular genre in British fiction. And there are common tropes within the school story – namely, British schools have “houses” within them – so the Hogwarts houses are just playing off that trope. I didn’t know this before taking that college class, but that information definitely helped going into this book. So while there are similarities to Harry Potter, it’s perfectly fair use because it’s drawing from the school story trope. That being said, the “sorting” did seem a little too similar (I got someDivergent vibes from it as well).

The plot is pretty fast-moving and well thought out. I called the plot twist from 30% in, and was just waiting for the characters to catch up. Since it’s a middle grade novel, though, maybe the target audience won’t catch on as quickly. Overall the plot was well done and drew me in. It ended tidily while still leaving room for future books (much like the Harry Potter series does).

There was no “fight to the death” as promised, which was disappointing. Not sure what that says about me.

Editorial Notes

A clean read, both in content and in editing, for the most part. A few swear words, but the characters are young, so nothing intense. The occasional typo, but not enough to distract from the reading. Also, I read an ARC, so I’m guessing it will be cleaned up in the final version. Quite well-edited.

The Characters

Neenah was a great main character. She was sweet, smart, and cared about her friends. One thing I really appreciated was when she decided she wasn’t ready to date, even though she and another character liked each other. I was flipping out at the mere thought of 13-year-olds dating, because that’s way too young in my opinion. *head explodes* But Neenah was sensible about it. There are some pretty wild names in this book, like Savaraeh, but I always enjoy a fancy fantasy name. (Neenah is a really cute name, and I like this spelling.) There are a variety of diverse characters. There was one scene where a girl is shocked at the thought of another girl being a lesbian, and I didn’t like how it was just a throwaway line (even though the idea is accepted). Maybe future books will see some LGBTQ+ characters. It’s not “mature content” to have a gay character in a children’s book. I hold out hope for future books!

Point of View

Written in first person from Neenah’s perspective, which I think was the right choice for this book. I really liked reading her point of view.

Will I Continue Reading?

I’m satisfied by the conclusion to this book, but I could see reading future ones if given the opportunity. It’s not my preferred genre, so that’s the only reason why I wouldn’t continue. I think my younger self would have adored this book. I wish I could send it back in time to young!Claire. Definitely recommend for readers of middle grade fantasy!

★★★★☆

4/5 stars = really liked it

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