Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige was my first venture back into contemporary fiction in about a year, and I have to say that it was an adventure from the first line:
I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday–one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secauscus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had a car accident, started taking pills, and began exclusively wearing bathroom slippers instead of shoes.
The story follows a teenager named Amy Gumm as her trailer is swept away Wizard-of-Oz style. She lands in Oz, a once resplendent land now wilting because Princess Dorothy is harvesting its magic, with only her mother’s pet rat and is soon captured by the Tin Man and taken to Dorothy. When a witch saves her from Dorothy’s dungeon, she begins training in combat, magic, and etiquette in order to sneak into the castle and do what must be done: kill Dorothy.
The book is a striking take on what happens after Dorothy gets back to Kansas and often brings to light the line between what is right and what is duty. Amy Gumm becomes a noble character who faces many hardships in the span of 480 pages.
It does, however, at times fall into classic young-adult tropes (the back cover starts with “I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero” and only continues to get more angsty), and at times it tells where it could easily show, but overall, it’s a wonderful read.