Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

"I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. What happened? Dorothy. My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas. And I have a mission."

Madison Pendleton informed Amy Gumm that she was trailer trash on the playground three days before her ninth birthday. Ever since then, Madison has found a way to make Amy's life miserable. Nicknamed Salvation Amy, she and her mother, who wasn't always in her right mind since her car accident, live in the Dusty Acres Mobile Community. On the day the tornado struck, Amy caught Madison's eye after she was staring at her eight and half month’s pregnant belly. Exchanging barbs, Madison tells her best friend Amber that Amy is crushing over her boyfriend and baby daddy, Dustin, and wishes that she was carrying his baby. Madison overheard her talking to him in third period, offering to help him with his Algebra homework. Not wanting Dustin and definitely not his baby, she was also not the type of girl Dustin would go for. In fact, he has been "borrowing" Amy's homework for the past year and asked her to tutor him. The only thing Amy and Dustin had in common was the fact that they both wanted out of Flat Hill, Kansas. Dustin was on his way with a football scholarship before Madison got pregnant. Madison causes a scene by telling her to keep her hands off of Dustin. They are getting married after the baby is born. Trying to walk away, Madison grabs Amy's arm as she turns to leave and asks just who does she think she is, moving in on her boyfriend. Amy whispers that Dustin asked her for help. Madison is dumbfounded and says "what?" Amy says it again louder for everyone to hear. Their confrontation ends with Amy saying he just wanted to talk with someone his own size. Enraged, Madison punches her in the jaw and Amy falls down. The gathered crowd begins chanting "Fight!", "Fight!” Amber prods Madison as Amy attempts to back up, but not before the assistant principal sees them. Rubbing her belly, Madison puts all of the blame on Amy. She is suspended for the rest of the week.

Arriving home, she finds that her mother has rejoined the land of living for the time being. Al Roker is on TV pointing at a map of her hometown, frowning. Her mother tells her that a tornado is heading their way. Turns out, her mother has cleaned herself up to go to a bar for a tornado party. Amy lets her know that she got suspended for fighting with Madison. Her mother tells her that once her baby is born, Madison's life will over. Dustin won't stay around and she will be living in a trailer of her very own. Amy wonders if she is talking about Madison or herself. Her friend, Tawney, pulls up outside and her mother leaves. Amy looks around the trailer park and it is completely deserted. Even the highway is free of traffic. Amy looks towards the sky and sees the ominous clouds. The wind is howling and Amy ducks before she is hit with a flying lawn chair. Then, everything is still. She stands up and it is like something out of a movie, a funnel cloud is descending on the trailer park. Alone and nowhere else to go, she heads back into the trailer. Her mother's pet rat, Star, is hiding. She sinks into the couch as the trailer lurches. Soon the trailer is loose from its foundation and is flying through the air. Star comes out of hiding and licks Amy on her face. Always wanting to be anywhere but Flat Hill, a flying trailer is not how Amy wanted to leave.

Any wakes up on the ceiling of their trailer. It landed upside down. Star is scampering across her body in an attempt to wake her up. Amy hears "give me your hand" and sees a figure standing in the doorway. She cannot make out who it is. He tells her not to make any sudden movements. She is terrified but he is able to coax her to take two steps and grabs her hand. A spark passes between them and Amy is suddenly able to make out his face. He is the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. Amy asks if she is dead and tells her that they wouldn't be having this conversation if she was. She steps out of the overturned trailer and realizes that it is teetering on the edge of a deep ravine. When they step away, the trailer topples off the edge and pledges down. Amy never hears it hit bottom. She inquires if the tornado caused the canyon and he tells her that it has been there for a long time. She looks at her rescuer and thinks that he is probably her age and notices that he is very pale. There is something else about him that she cannot put her finger on but knows that it could be important. Looking around, Amy realizes that she isn't in Dusty Acres anymore. The landscape seems to have a "faded, washed-out quality" to it. There are "tiny, blue dust particles" floating everywhere. But not everything is blue. She notices that the boy is standing on vivid, yellow bricks. They lead towards the ravine and drop off. In the other direction, they stretch towards the horizon and Amy realizes that they are actually a road. Dropped in the middle of nowhere during a tornado, standing on a yellow brick road, Amy hopes that the state of Kansas finally decided to cash in on the whole Dorothy concept and built a theme park. The boy looks at her and says, "Welcome to Oz." Thinking she hit her head and is hallucinating, Amy laughs out loud. The boy looks at her apologetically. No munchkins or good witches in sight, she is standing in what Dusty Acres might resemble after a nuclear explosion. Stepping on the bricks, the road seems to pulse under her feet. He tells her that the road wants her, it wants everybody. The road has been there longer than anyone else. It has old magic that not even she understands. "Who's she?” Amy asks. The boy explains that there is so much Amy doesn't know and needs to learn and he wishes that she didn't. Amy asks if she is in Oz, what happened to it. The boy suddenly looks panicked and says that he has to leave. She begs him to stay. He comments that this is where it all began for her too. He doesn't know why she is there but it seems to be beginning for her. The two of them are so alike in so many ways but different too. He isn't powerful enough to help her but she can help herself. Prove him wrong and don't make the same mistakes that she did. He steps off the ravine and disappears. Amy is left alone.

She walks down the road until she reaches a town. No one is there, it is completely deserted. Amy realizes that munchkins once lived there. With moldy food left on the table, it seems that they left fairly quickly. She continues to walk around until she is the town square. In the center is a large statute of Dorothy Gale, commemorating her accomplishments in Oz. She hears a voice behind her saying that she likes her statues. When the voice comes near Amy, she realizes that it is a munchkin and a Goth one at that. She tells Amy that she won’t like her pink hair. They introduce themselves to each other and the munchkin is named Indigo. Amy asks for help and Indigo says that she has too many other problems to deal with. Begging, Indigo realizes that Amy is speaking the truth when she says that she is not from Oz. She wants nothing to do with Amy since she is from that Other Place and moves to leave. Indigo refuses to answer any of Amy's questions. She tries one last time. Oz is different from what she has heard her entire life, what happened? Indigo says that Dorothy happened and leaves.

Not knowing what to do, Amy follows the yellow brick road in hopes that she can find some answers in the Emerald City. As she is walking, Amy hears an intermittent banging noise. When she reaches the top of a hill, she sees a see saw looking contraption in the distance with about 20 munchkins on it. Then she notices the floating woman dressed in a ball gown. She rightly assumes that it is Glinda, the good witch. Before she can make herself known, she realizes that something is off about her. Indigo comes behind her and tells her that they need to get out of there before Glinda smells them. She offers to let Amy walk with her but only until they reach the Emerald City. Along the way, Amy learns how much Oz has changed for the worse since Dorothy became Princess. Her need for magic is insatiable and it is slowly destroying Oz.

Why and how did Amy get to Oz? Who is the beautiful boy who rescued her from her trailer? Why does no one want to help Amy? How did Dorothy come to rule Oz? Why has Oz changed from the story/movie? What happens when the two girls from Kansas meet one another? And why must Dorothy die?

Readers will be anxiously book two in the trilogy.

This prequel novella tells the story of how Dorothy Gale returned to rule over Oz. Dorothy is still the talk of the town from her sudden reappearance after the tornado that took Uncle Henry and Aunt Em's house and she landed in Oz. She was found by the chicken coop several days later without a scratch and no sign of the house. (We all know where it was.) She told her aunt and uncle about her adventures in Oz, but they didn't believe her and she shouldn't tell anyone else her tall tales. She did tell her best friend, Mitzi Blair, who also thought she was crazy. Now two years later on her sixteen birthday, Henry and Em throw her a small party, which is all they could afford. A few girls her age come, but they make fun of Dorothy and are downright relentless when she opens her gift from Aunt Em, a worn out dress of Em's that she attempted to refashion for Dorothy. Afterwards, Dorothy realizes that you cannot go home again and that "There's no place like Oz." She falls asleep.

When Dorothy wakes up, Toto drags a lavishly wrapped box to her. When she opens it up, lovely pair of red heeled shoes is revealed along with a note. Signed G, they are a replacement for the silver ones she lost and Dorothy will know what to do. They are supposed to be a secret but she still has them on when there is a knock on her door. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em come in but are taken aback by her new shoes. She tells them that they were wrong about her story. Dorothy decides she knows where she wants to be. She clicks her heels three times and her aunt and uncle grab he arms. She whispers "there is no place like Oz." All three find themselves in Oz, right next to their old farmhouse.

This prequel sets the stage how Dorothy came to rule Oz.

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