Morgan was first introduced in Why I Let My Hair Grow Out, which detailed her magical, memorable trip to Ireland. Her story continues in two more books: How I Found the Perfect Dress and What I Wore to Save the World. The follow-ups are just as wacky and fun as the first book.
Maryrose Wood's offbeat contemporary YA fantasies are fun. These quick reads offer plenty of comedy, romance, and magical mischief. While Wood uses elements of classic fairy tales and Irish mythology within the stories, she always keeps things light and funny. Lewis Carroll's Alice would definitely like the scene in the second book in which Morgan follows a sales clerk through a dressing room mirror. I know I did.
Most of all, I enjoy the characters. In addition to the mere mortals, Wood has populated her stories with goddesses and gods, royal faeries, garden gnomes, talking dolphins, and even a snarky leprechaun. Leading lady Morgan is more punk-rock than princess, more comfortable in funky boots than high heels. Morgan's conversations with her wide-eyed little sister Tammy are classic. In fact, most of my favorite moments in the second book are scenes with the sisters. With her energy and insatiable curiosity, Tammy jumps right out of the book and into your heart. I think she'd be friends with Charlie from My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel because he could answer all of her questions, and Batty from The Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall because both girls are happily hyper. Of course, I also approved of kind, collegiate Colin.
My favorite quotes from Why I Let My Hair Grow Out include:
Snip, snip. You never realize how long your hair is till you chop off a piece right next to your scalp, smooth it out and hold it in your hands. - Page 1
"There was this episode of Buffy, when she and Angel are about to say good-bye, and he gives her a ring exactly like that, because it's an old Irish tradition, and now, look -- it's all starting right here, and here we are, how cool is that?" - Page 178
I put the book away. I'd read it later, but not now. For what could be more magical than to fly across the sea? To get on a plane and then off again, a world away and back in time from where you began? - Page 217
How I Found the Perfect Dress is summed up perfectly in this quote:
With only ten days left before the junior prom, this is how things stood: I had a guy I was crazy about who couldn't take me to prom because he was leaving the country (if he didn't end up in the hospital first), another guy who wanted to take me but I wouldn't let him, a pair of stinky sneakers to steal, a fabulous dress on layaway, and a crabby leprechaun who had to be convinced to escort a pair of excitable plastic gnome sisters to the Spring Faery Ball.
I can so totally make this work. - Page 140
My favorite quotes from How I Found the Perfect Dress include:
"Tinker Bell pajamas!" - Tammy, Page 1
Mom slammed her lips shut, but I could tell what she was thinking. She was thinking that Tammy wouldn't grow up to be president now because her plastic princess tiara was slowly turning her brain into glitter. - Page 7
"Morgan!" Tammy ran into my room and started jumping on the bed. She was wearing a pink poofy princess skirt over her grass-stained soccer uniform. "Get dressed and come outside. I want to practice my new soccer moves!" - Page 98
Tammy shrugged. "He said that the Day of the Gnomes came early because of a 'girl bull warning.' But I don't believe that. There are no girl bulls. Bulls are boy versions of cows."
I had to think for a minute to decode that one. "Global warming, Tam. That's what he meant."
"Bulls don't glow either." - Pages 98-99
I did so many rainbow checks I gave myself a stiff neck from looking up, but it was a beautiful sunny day, with a cloudless blue sky overhead. - Page 103
As soon as the Subaru was parked Tammy jumped out, dressed in her soccer uniform and shin guards, with twelve sparkly barettes in her hair. - Pages 128-129
Colin showed up an hour later, frazzled and pale, but putty in the hands of a cute, manipulative kid. [ . . . ] Reluctantly Tammy changed out into her soccer clothes too and went outside, where she promptly starting chasing imaginary butterflies. - Page 155
I kept folding Colin's clothes, trying to fill each T-shirt and pair of chinos with all the stuff I felt but couldn't say. - Page 181
Boy, this is definitely a different spin on the "Heather has two mommies" concept, I thought. - Page 228