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Book Review

This teen fantasy book is the first in the " Wicked Lovely" series by Melissa Marr and is published by HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins.

Wicked Lovely is written for kids ages 13 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Aislinn can see faeries. The faeries in her town of Huntsdale are not harmless or benevolent. They are mischievous creatures who like to cause problems for humans, and Aislinn knows that she’ll be in danger if they ever find out that she can see them. Aislinn fears for her life when Keenan, the handsome young king of the Summer faeries, starts following her and pursuing her romantically.

Keenan isn’t just looking for a girlfriend. He wants Aislinn to become a faery and be his new Summer Queen. With a queen by his side, he can warm the world and grow strong enough to face his mother, Beira, the evil Winter Queen. Keenan disguises himself as a mortal and attends Aislinn’s school. He pursues her, but she rebuffs all of his advances. Aislinn tells her friend Seth that she can see faeries, and Seth helps her research ways to defend herself against them.

Aislinn can’t avoid Keenan forever. She is offered a test. If she does not take the test, she will become a Summer Girl who is dependent on Keenan and tied to him forever. Or she can lift the Winter staff, which is her test. When she lifts it, she will either become the Summer Queen or a lonely, isolated Winter Girl.

The choice is not easy for Aislinn. She has loathed the fey (the name given to the faery race) her whole life and doesn’t want to join them, let alone rule over them. Also, becoming Keenan’s queen would threaten her growing relationship with her friend Seth, and she learns that Keenan himself is still emotionally attached to the Winter Girl, Donia.

Danger awaits all the characters because Winter Queen Beira, Keenan’s mother, is ready to kill faeries and mortals alike to ensure that her son does not find his queen. She does not want the world to grow warmer.

In the end, Aislinn and Keenan find common ground and arrive at an understanding. Aislinn agrees to the test and becomes the Summer Queen. Keenan kills his mother, Beira, and Donia becomes the new Winter Queen. Seth and Aislinn are established as a couple, though she is now a faery and he is still mortal. Keenan and Donia are reunited, and the faery courts reach a time of peace.

Christian Beliefs

Seth’s parents left the country to go on a missions trip, but the type of mission work is not mentioned. Aislinn attends a Catholic high school. She pushes aside the thought of telling Father James, the principal, about her faery troubles. She thinks he would warn her against dabbling in the occult, but wouldn’t actually believe her if she said anything supernatural other than how God exists. Religious artifacts are supposed to ward off the fey. Crosses made of iron are supposed to be doubly helpful, so Seth obtains an iron crucifix necklace for himself.

Other Belief Systems

The fey use magic. When faeries die, they don’t have an afterlife, though some hang around as ghostlike "shades." Fortune-telling faeries predict Aislinn’s future. Keenan’s powers are limited because both his mother and the monarch of another faery court have cursed him. Epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter quote old folklore beliefs about faeries.

Authority Roles

Grams is concerned about Aislinn’s welfare, but she is too tired and weary to ask Aislinn much about where she goes or who she spends her time with. Keenan is a king and is concerned for the well being of his subjects. He doesn’t have much control over his people, however, and the Summer Court is allowed to do whatever it likes. Winter Queen Beira is Keenan’s mother, but she views him as a rival. She mocks him and tortures him with her wintry ice. Later, she attempts to kill him.


Limp Bizkit’s profanity-laced song "Break Stuff" plays in the background at the pool hall. God’s name is taken in vain a few times. D--n, a--, b--ch, b--tard, and h--- are said a few times each. The f word is used twice. The shortened expression WTF and other crass language such as p-ssed, screwed and freaking are used.

Aislinn is terrified of the fey because she believes they will blind or kill her if they learn that she can see them. Beira is a violent queen. She freezes one of her own faeries to death for laughing at her. She is said to beat her other courtiers, who are covered in visible bruises. Beira stabs and wounds Seth, Donia and Keenan. Seth stabs Beira in the neck with an iron cross. Beira claws Seth’s abdomen and pulls him upright by grabbing his ribs. Keenan kills Beira by breathing heat into her.


Seth has a copy of the Kama Sutra among his many books. He has a reputation for one-night stands and avoids actual relationships. Characters discuss his sexual prowess. Aislinn is approached by some men on the street. They overpower her and are about to physically assault her when Donia shows up and rescues her.

The Summer Court is sexual in nature. Keenan is said to sleep with all the Summer Girls, but since there are about 80 of them, he asks his counselors to help him meet their needs. The Summer Girls speak lustfully about Seth.

While under the influence of summer wine, Aislinn shares a kiss with Keenan. Aislinn is concerned that she slept with Keenan while under the influence, but she did not. Aislinn’s virginity matters very much to her, but only because she wants her first experience to be with someone she loves.

Seth and Aislinn share kisses as their relationship becomes more romantic and less platonic. Seth shows Aislinn test results that say he is free from STDs, and later that night, it’s implied that they have oral sex.

Donia and Keenan kiss. In the epilogue, it’s implied that they have sex.

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Why is Aislinn afraid to tell Seth that she can see faeries?
  • What does Grams think about sharing this information?
  • Is there any time when withholding information from someone might be the right decision?

  • In what way is Keenan good, and how are some of his choices immoral?

  • Is it all right for him to chase after Aislinn if his motives are pure?

  • Why does Donia envy the Summer Girls?

  • Why wouldn’t Donia have been happy if she had chosen to become a Summer Girl?
  • Should anyone be dependent on another person for all of his or her needs?
  • Why is God the only one who can be trusted to meet all your needs?

  • Tavish counsels Keenan to force his physical affection on Aislinn.

  • What does Keenan think is appropriate when it comes to violating another person’s will?

Additional Comments/Notes

Smoking: Characters smoke cigarettes.

Alcohol: Characters drink. Seth has alcohol in his fridge, and though he disapproves of Aislinn drinking, he shares a beer with her. Aislinn is intoxicated by the summer wine she drinks at the faire.

Tattoos and piercings: These are common among the side characters.

Drugs: A side character mentions drugs. Aislinn’s friends discuss their casual use of drugs. Addicts buy drugs on the street.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

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