Tangled Up in You by Christina Lauren

Tangled Up in You by Christina Lauren

Charmed by Ren and Fitz

What happens when you spend four days in the hospital and come home feeling unable to do anything? Well, folks, you get me. June and the beginning of July haven’t gone as planned, but I can happily say that this book pulled me out of both a reading and reviewing slump. I loved it so much and can’t wait to feel well enough to get a physical copy.

Ren and Fitz were utterly charming, making me smile from start to finish. Some writers could pen a grocery list and I’d probably give it a shot. When it comes to YA Romance, that number can be counted on one hand with fingers left over. But as I finished Christina Lauren’s “Tangled Up in You” – a delightful modern reimagining of the classic fairy tale Rapunzel plus Disney’s Tangled – I had the same fizzy buzz I’d get as a kid when my heroine got her happily ever after. Even if I wouldn’t normally select a YA title, the story absolutely worked for me as a romance and a fairy tale retelling.

Christina Lauren has crafted a tale that is not only a nod to a classic but also a celebration of finding oneself and love in spite of a bumpy past. In this case, a past that cannot be changed or fixed by magic. (Unless you count therapy as magic, which I do.) I found myself turning pages quickly and looking up other books by Christina Lauren to add to my growing pile.

Twenty-two-year-old Ren has never attended formal schooling, having lived a secluded life on a rural farm in Idaho. Her parents finally agree to let her go to college, but only if she adheres to a strict set of rules. Ren embodies the phrase “innocent optimist.” Every experience in the “real world” is a first for her—first friend, first doughnut, first crush—you get the picture. It’s a joy to watch her discover the world at an age when most people are starting their independent lives.

Enter Fitz. He’s irresistibly charming, top of his class, from a wealthy family, and seems to have it all. But no one at Corona College knows the real Fitz, and he’s afraid they might not like him if they did. When an opportunity arises for Ren to leave town on a secret quest, she blackmails Fitz into taking her to Nashville, where he also has a secret meeting.

This story is a road trip across America, with Ren experiencing countless “firsts” and Fitz falling for the girl he thinks he shouldn’t. I loved the connections to Tangled: Fitz is Eugene Fitzherbert, better known as Flynn Rider; Fitz’s car, Max, is as stubborn as Maximus the horse; and Ren, of course, is the intelligent but naive Rapunzel. A retelling works when you love the characters as much as the original, and I adored Ren and Fitz. They each have unique storylines, and I loved reading about them falling for each other. Their first kiss is one of the sweetest and hottest I’ve read in a long time, and it felt so natural for them to be together. There’s so much kissing in this book, and you can feel how much they enjoy each other’s company. I was also thrilled with how Fitz handles consent. He makes her feel valued and seen, and it’s beautiful.

Even though readers might see where the story is headed, they’ll still love the journey. You get a sweet love story combined with a bit of mystery and intrigue, and all the lovey-dovey feels. Because this is for young adults, or even middle grade, the intimacy is kept to kissing and there’s some very well-handled discussion of boundaries and consent. That doesn’t mean it’s not very romantic in the classic sense and just the right amount of steamy. The dynamic between Ren and Fitz is beautifully crafted, with humor and sweetness woven into their interactions and playful banter. I look forward to going into this author’s back catalog when I need a pick-me-up because the writing worked like a charm.

Tangled Up in You by Christina Lauren

Rating out of 5
#Book Hangover Alert
Book 53 of 80
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