by Tara Gilboy

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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Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she's never read.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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631631788
Publisher: North Star Editions
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
File size: 1 MB
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.

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Unwritten 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
SchizanthusNerd More than 1 year ago
“What if every story ever written is a world in another dimension, waiting for us to find it?” I was enchanted by this book from the very beginning. It explores the complexities of good and evil, and the power we have to write our own story, regardless of the roles and labels others have placed upon us. There’s action, drama and so much heart. Gracie may look like a normal 12 year old girl but she’s actually the creation of Gertrude Winters, an author whose unpublished story includes Gracie, her mother and Walter, a boy in her class and an aspiring scientist. Gracie gets story glimmers, glimpses of what her life would have been like in the story, but she doesn’t know the whole story and is frustrated that her mother won’t tell her. When Gracie learns the story’s author will be coming to her town she can’t resist. Here is the opportunity she’s been waiting for! If only she can speak to the author then she may finally find out who she really is and what her story contains. Things don’t go quite as planned and Gracie, her mother and other characters wind up in the world of the story. I was captivated the entire time I was reading. I loved the greys in this story; the villains weren’t all bad and the heroes didn’t always make the right choices. I was easily able to imagine the story world and wanted to stay longer to meet more of the people who live there. While this book works well as a standalone I’m greedily hoping for a sequel and/or spin-off. I’m interested in knowing what happens next for Gracie, Walter and Cassandra in particular. I’d also love to see how Gertrude, the author of Gracie’s story, would react if another of her storybook characters walked into her life and wonder what their story would be about. I would like to know more about Cassandra, particularly her background and more about her motivations. She was an intriguing character who deserves more page time. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not but Cassandra in this story has some similarities to Cassandra from Greek mythology; although different in so many aspects they were both able to foresee the future. Jomike Tejido’s cover illustration is absolutely gorgeous and captures the essence of this story so well. I’m not sure I would have read this story’s blurb without that cover sucking me in and I would have missed out on a gem. Over the course of a single book Tara Gilboy has cemented her place in my ‘Have to Read Everything They Ever Write’ Hall of Fame. I can’t wait to read whatever comes next! Thank you so much to NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press, an imprint of North Star Editions, for the opportunity to read this book.
BookLoverGirl39 More than 1 year ago
This was a good middle grade story. There are definitely some good messages in it about just being yourself and don’t let others make you someone you’re not. I liked the aspect of being able to go in and out of a fictional story. I think that is pretty much every readers dream. Gracie didn’t always make the best choices but she learned from her mistakes and tried to be a better person. There were a few spots where the story moved slowly but it would start moving again shortly after. In some ways this had some similar aspects to Chris Colfer’s middle grade fairytale series so I would recommend this to anyone who liked those books. It seemed like this left it open for a sequel, without leaving us on a cliffhanger, so I look forward to seeing what happens next for Gracie and her family. I received an eARC from netgalley. All opinions are my own.
The Snow Queen More than 1 year ago
What if the life you're living right now know is not what you thought it was? What if you were originated from the imagination of a fictional writer? That is the story of the main antagonist, Gracie, in this middle-grade book, "Unwritten." She always has odd dreams, especially about the fire, and she has no idea why she always has those visions. Her mother, Elizabeth, told her that they are not ordinary people because they used to be characters from an unpublished fantasy book, Vademecum. But Gracie's mom and the parents of Walter, Gracie's friend, escaped to be able to save their children from the wicked Queen Cassandra. The dreams are called glimmer, a special kind of memory that would have happened to them in the book. Gracie became a bit obsessed on what happened to her in the book so she grabs the chance to talk to the author, Gertrude Winters, in one of her book signing events. While Winters was in the ladies' room, Gracie sneaked in so she can question her, but things became crazier when the author suddenly disappear after Winters wrote her name in the parchment paper that Gracie has stolen from her mother's trunk. The paper is a portal to go back to Bondoff, the kingdom which was reign by King Jacob and Queen Elizabeth, and it was torn from the pages of the Vademecum book. According to Gracie's mom, she will die in the story so she tried to save her by bringing her to the real world, but it was far from the truth because she's the villain and the one who kills Walter. Also, they could not be able to control themselves in Bondoff because they will think and act just like how they were written in the story. Her mom always reminds her that they could be whoever they wanted to be and not just want Gertrude wrote. "Because what does it mean, really, to be labeled a villain? No one actually thinks of herself as a villain. We are all the heroes in our own stories." Gracie's curiosity and temperament in the story reflect how the usual middle-graders are. Also, the lesson of that it is up to us on how we want to live our lives and that no one should dictate us on how is the message it wants to impart to its target readers. Moreover, the characters and flow of the story of Unwritten were obviously carefully planned, therefore the narrative is solid and quite interesting. Lastly, I hope that this book will be adapted to either in TV or movie because I want to see the characters in motion. basakaintulog.wordpress.com | basakaintulog.blogspot.com
lostinagoodbook More than 1 year ago
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
Michaela_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
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
DeborahJRoss More than 1 year ago
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.
LaraBeth More than 1 year ago
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.
ColeCampfireBlog More than 1 year ago
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!