Excerpt from Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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by Alethea Kontis

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  • First Published:
    May 2012, 320 pages
    May 2013, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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"Yes. Every morning and every night and every moment I can sneak in between."

"And do you always write about your family?"

Sunday flipped the pages of her never-ending journal - her nameday gift from Fairy Godmother Joy - past her thumb. It was a nervous habit she'd had all her life. "I am afraid to write anything else."

"Why is that?"

Maybe it was because the honesty was intoxicatingly freeing or because he was a frog and not a man, but she felt strangely comfortable with Grumble. She had already told him so much about her life, more than anyone had ever before cared to know. Why should she stop now? "Things I write... well... they have a tendency to come true. And not in the best way."

"For instance?"

"I didn't want to gather the eggs one morning, so I wrote down that I didn't have to. That night, a weasel got into the henhouse. No one got eggs that morning. Another time, I did not want to go with the family to market."

"Did the wagon break a wheel?"

"I got sick with the flu and was in bed for a week," she said with a smile. " 'Regret' is not a strong enough word."

"I imagine not," said Grumble.

"And now you're wondering what would happen if I wrote that you were free of your spell."

"The thought had crossed my mind."

"You might not come back as a man but as a mouse or a mule or a tiger who'd eat me alive. You might come back as a man but not the man you were. You might be missing something vital, like an arm or a leg or -"

"My mind?" Grumble joked.

" -breath," Sunday answered seriously.

"Ah. We must always be careful what we wish for."

"Exactly. If I write only about events that have already come to pass, there is no danger of my accidentally altering the future. No one but the gods should have power over such things."

"A very practical decision."

"Yes." She sighed. "Very practical and very boring. Very just like me."

"On the contrary. I found your brief essay quite intriguing." " Really?" He was just saying that to be nice. And then she remembered he was a frog. Funny how she kept forgetting. "Will you read to me again tomorrow?"

If her ridiculously large smile didn't scare him off, surely nothing she wrote could. "I would love to."

"And would you... be my friend?" he asked tenuously. The request was charming and humble. "Only if you will be mine in return."

Grumble's mouth opened wide into what Sunday took to be a froggy grin. "And... if I may be so bold, Miss Woodcutter -" "Please, call me Sunday."

"Sunday... do you think you could find it in your heart to... kiss me?"

She had wondered how long it would take before he got around to asking. A maiden's kiss was the usual remedy for his particular enchantment. Normally Sunday would have declined without a thought. But he had been so polite, and she was surely the only maiden he would come across for a very long time. It was the least she could do.

His skin was bumpy and slightly damp, but she tried not to think about it. After she kissed him, she straightened up quickly and backed away. She wasn't sure what to expect. A shower of sparks? Some sort of explosion? Either way, she wanted to stand clear of whatever was involved in turning a frog back into a man.

Sunday waited.

And waited.

Nothing happened.

They stared at each other for a long time afterward. "I don't have to come back, you know, in case you were offering just to be courteous."

"Oh no," he said quickly. "I look forward to hearing about your sisters. Please, do come back tomorrow."

"Then I will, after I finish my chores. But I should go now, before it gets dark. Mama will be expecting me to help with dinner." She stood and brushed what dirt she could off her skirt.

Excerpted from Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. Copyright © 2012 by Alethea Kontis. Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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