Thanks to James Franco, some people have heard of Tristan and Isolde, but the legend goes far beyond James and his bad accent, to a beautiful, but tragic love story. Thankfully, Tris and Izzie isn't tragic, in fact, it has quite a happy ending.
Here is the summary from Goodreads:
A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.
The legend of Tristan and Isolde predates the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle. Some argue that the legend of Tristan and Isolde was actually the basis for A-G-L. In a nutshell*, Tristan, a handsome, young knight, travels to Ireland to bring Isolde home to Cornwall to marry his king and uncle, Mark. Mark trusts Tristan and treats him like a son. Tristan loves Mark like a son loves his father. However, as legend has it, somewhere in the journey, Tristan and Isolde take a love potion and fall for each other, darn the consequences. Tristan and Isolde try to hide their love, out of respect and admiration of Mark, but, as you suspected, are found out. So, if you are still a little muddy on the character comparisons, Arthur is like Mark, Lancelot is Tristan and Guinevere is Isolde.
In Tris and Izzie, Izzie is already dating Mark when Tristan (Tris) arrives at her school. She creates a love potion to give to her friend Brangane as she is in love with someone (but won't say who). For some reason, Izzie gives it to Tris and then drinks some of it herself. Immediately, Izzie finds her self in the middle of a magical battle to save the world.
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, the magical bits were somewhat cheesy at times, but it was all in good fun.
As you may recall, I really hate books where the main characters hate each other one day, and then the next are over the moon in love with each other. In Tris and Izzie, the exact opposite happened---the characters fell in love with each other (thanks to the love potion) and then tried to hate each other. I found it pretty funny and refreshing.
I liked that Izzie had a good head on her shoulders and tried to do the right thing. While she was described as being smart and beautiful, she didn't come across as vapid or spoiled. She didn't rely on her looks to get her places. Sure, she was confused and unsure of herself---how can you not be given the situation she found herself in? But she quickly overcame it.
As I was reading this, I kind of felt like I was watching Shrek. Not that I was expecting a big, green ogre to appear, but because I felt like this was a book you could appreciate on many levels. If you don't know the Tristan and Isolde legend, its just a cute story. If you do know the legend, you can see little twists and inside jokes.
All in all, if I taught higher grades than elementary school, I would have no problem having this book in my classroom.
*weren't you picturing me in a nutshell? I totally was. And doing the Austin Powers voice, "Help, this is me in a nutshell."
I downloaded this book for free via NetGalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.