Twelve-year-old Gracie Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she's never read. When she was a baby, her parents learned that she was supposed to die in the story, and with the help of a magic book, took her out of the story, and into the outside world, where she could be safe.
But Gracie longs to know what the story says about her. Despite her mother's warnings, Gracie seeks out the story's author, setting in motion a chain of events that draw herself, her mother, and other former storybook characters back into the forgotten tale.
Inside the story, Gracie struggles to navigate the blurred boundary between who she really is and the surprising things the author wrote about her. As the story moves toward its deadly climax, Gracie realizes she'll have to face a dark truth and figure out her own fairy-tale ending.
|Publisher:||North Star Editions|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 14 Years|
About the Author
Tara Gilboy holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she specialized in writing for children and young adults. She teaches creative writing in San Diego Community College's Continuing Education Program and for the PEN Writers in Prisons Program. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Beloit Fiction Journal, Cricket, and other publications. She lives in San Diego, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Unwritten is a very good middle grade fantasy book. I don’t usually take middle grade books, but sometimes if something catches my eye I will pick one up to see if it’s a book I can pass on to my 10 year old girl. I think she might like this one. It has definite draw for a kid who likes books and reading, which mine does. Twelve year old Gracie is a kid with an interesting past. She is actually a character in a book. Her parents had run away from the book into our world many years earlier. Gracie knows about her past but she is still so curious about where she came from that she seeks out the author of her story. I think there are a few things that are quite good about this story. Firstly, it deals a lot with how a young girl can learn to fashion her own sense of self apart from whatever expectations may have been placed on her. Can we each make our own stories or are we locked into one particular ending? It gives a girl a lot of autonomy to understand that she is the author of her own fate and I think this is a valuable lesson to learn. Gracie also learns a lot about how to deal with her emotions. Anger and frustration are difficult to manage at that age. I think it’s hard for kids to know how to experience their anger and not feel like a “bad person”. It’s a confusing time, but the love of her family, friends and her own resilience enables her to overcome the obstacles she finds in the book world. It’s a quick and easy read. I think I’ll probably pass it on to my daughter and see what she thinks about it. I have a feeling she’ll like it. At her age I would have. Song for this book: Lullaby – Dixie Chicks
NOTE: I received an Uncorrected Advanced Proof of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book. _______________________ TITLE: Unwritten AUTHOR: Tara Gilboy EXPECTED DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16 October 2018 ISBN-13 (paperback): 978-1-63163-178-8 ISBN-13 (ebook): 978-1-63163-178-8 __________________________ Unwritten is a beautifully written portal-fantasy/adventure novel written for middle-graders but that is also interesting enough for adults to read. The novel also has an attractive and eye-catching front cover. The reader follows twelve-year-old Gracie, who is not a normal child. She is actually a character from an unpublished novel that she has never read. She only knows that she was supposed to die in the story. That's why her parents took her (and some other people) out of the story, into this world, to save her. She longs to know more about the story but her mother refuses to talk about it. All that this secret-keeping does is foster Gracie's curiousity about herself and the story she came from. Then the author of Gracie's unpublished story comes to town and things get interesting... and messy. The main characters are believable (even if I did want to stuff Gracie in a broomcloset for continually ignoring sound parental requests), and the conflicts dealt with are complex. however, the other characters (Walter, Cassandra and Jacob) could all have used a bit more "flesh". The plot line is interesting and slightly twisty, with the setting skipping between our world and the story-world. There are many themes in this book - keeping secrets, being honest, the detrimental effects of being too stubborn, family - but the main theme is about figuring out who you are in a world that may try to turn you into something else; realizing that your story is not written for you and you can determine your own path. Being geared for the 8-14 years olds, this novel is rather short and fairly easy to understand, but it is a fantastic story about magic and self-determination that is enjoyable to read. REVIEW POSTED: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2395166496 http://elentarri.booklikes.com/post/1760879/unwritten-by-tara-gilboy
A story in which a character finds her way into the world of a book has enduring appeal, and I’m at the front of the line to read such adventures to my favorite imaginary places. So when I read the description of a story in which our young heroine escapes from the world of a book into our own, I was intrigued. Unwritten fulfils the promise of its premise with quirky, immediately sympathetic people whose personalities warp and evolve as they are revealed through the plot. Gracie and her (single, waitress) mother are exiles from a storybook world in which, Gracie has always been told, she dies. Our ordinary world is the only place they’re safe from the evil queen. They keep their heads down, trying to not attract any attention that might draw the queen to them. When the author of the book comes to town to do a bookstore signing, Gracie defies her mother and sneaks into the store to find out more about her own story. “I don’t know,” says the author, “that book never worked, so I threw away the manuscript.” A series of mishaps, catalyzed by Gracie’s act of rebellion, catapult her, her mother, the man who might be her deadbeat father, and her best friend and his parents, along with the author, into the storybook world. Just as she was warned, the story itself begins shaping each character according to how she has been written. Despite her best intentions, Gracie finds herself acting out her own plot line, not as the tragic victim but as the villain. The way the book played with subjective versus consensus reality, not to mention a plot paced briskly enough to hold the attention of younger readers, was enough to carry me along, through twists and turns, star-crossed love stories, and questions about how much control any of us have over our destiny. Although it’s marketed as Middle Grade (Gracie is 12), it’s a fine, fast read for fantasy lovers of any age. The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to say anything about it.
I picked up this book because I couldn't resist the premise—a girl in the real world who escaped with her family from a fairy tale, except the story still holds sway over them all. As a parent of a somewhat reluctant middle grade reader, I'm always looking for something fresh to tempt him with, and this story doesn't disappoint. I have to say that this was the freshest, most non-formulaic, creative book I've read in a very long time! Several times I uttered an audible "whoa!" as the plot took an unexpected twist. I loved and connected with the protagonist, Gracie, but I also had a soft spot for all the characters—this book does an outstanding job of examining the idea that none of us are all good or all evil. A word on Gracie's friend Walter—one thing I loved was how Walter was used to allow the skeptical reader a way into the story. Walter is a boy of science, and not easily convinced that magic is possible. His skepticism allowed Gilboy to address the natural resistance we have (or I have) to magic. Another thing I loved about this book was the exploration of character. “All characters are real to the people who love them.” I love this premise both as a reader and as a writer. As a child (ok, sometimes as an adult, too) I’ve fallen in love with characters and dreamed that their universe, just as real as mine, was only on the other side of this dimension, and if I tried hard enough, I could join them. As a writer, I often feel as if my characters keep me company, and refuse to do what I want them to—much like real people. When their stories are over, I miss them. It’s really intriguing to read this as writer—the idea of writer as villain, but also the discussions of process—who we base characters on, why bad things happen to characters, etc. I've never read anything that really addressed this aspect of the writing/reading dynamic. It was so fresh. Look for my review on my website, LaraLillibridge.com in my TBR Tuesdays column, scheduled for October 16, 2018.
Unwritten by Tara Gilboy Reviewed on Cole Campfire Blog, Friday August 31st. The premise of this story reminded me of a cross between Magic Treehouse meets The Chronicles of Narnia where there is a magic book and hidden fairytale land, and an evil queen out to get you. I was super excited to read it! Gracie is a very likable and relatable character as she battles her self worth and choosing her identity. In the story Gracie finds out that she was from a fairy tale that her parents escaped from, and the author of the story is having a book signing in her town. Since her mother hasn’t told her all that she wants to know about the book, and her past, she is compelled to find this author. Things don’t go as planned at the bookstore as everyone ends up in the fairytale and it’s up to Gracie to find their way out. I absolutely loved this book! Not only is it a fun and entertaining story but I felt deeper messages tied in about self doubt, character, making peace with your past, and parental separation. I think lots of children in this age range can relate to the feelings Gracie has toward her absent father, and wanting to know details from their family’s past. Even for me I was taken back to being a kid as I read this story. For children in this age range, I think it’s a wonderful read! Thank you to NetGalley, Flux and the author, Tara Gilboy for this advanced reader copy!