Unwritten

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

Loved this book!!!
It Is all about how if the characters in the book are real and exist.  Will villains change their part.  And all the other stuff.
The characters were interesting.  Story was written amazingly.
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I received this book in exchange for an honest review, which has not altered my opinion of this book.

I am a fan of middle-grade books for the most part. They have this amazing way of telling you about adult issues in a way that seems relevant and almost silly. This being said, there is a lot that can be taken from middle-grade books, and this one is no different. This story follows Gracie who really just wants to know who she is and where she comes from. She is a young girl who is prone to fits of curiosity and occasionally breaking the rules. The main rule is to not ask about the book they came from. When her parents took her from the book when they learned she was supposed to die, they wouldn't tell her how. Not only that, but her father is gone. When she goes looking into her past and the story itself, she gets dragged into the story with her best friend and they learn some pretty dramatic things.

Without getting into spoilers, I was surprised by what they found out because it is something a bit unexpected and not quite the cliche I was expecting. However, I just couldn't get into this story. I couldn't get myself to care about the characters and I found Gracie to be very annoying at many points. That being said, I thought it was a unique idea that I have only seen in a few other stories but I have to say that this is very similar to The Hazel Wood in a middle-grade novel. 

Overall, this book was unique but also a bit boring for me and I enjoyed parts of it but also didn't enjoy other parts of it. 3 out of 5 from me.
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Sorry for the delay on this one but I finally got to it!

So, Unwritten is about Gracie. She is just a regular 12yo living with her mom. But unlike many others, she was taken from an unpublished book, just like her mom and family friends. The thing is, she knows nothing about that story, the one Gertrude Winters wrote about her.

Grace is from a world called Bondoff where, according to her mom, who knows part of her tale, Queen Cassandra would do anything to put her hands on Gracie. But, unlike she is told to do, Gracie keeps digging and digging and going against her mom’s will to discover her story. After a meet-up with her writer, nothing will be the same and she embarks on an adventure that will lead her and all the persons she loves back to Bondoff.

Gracie was the typical inquisitive and “rebellious” child. Nothing her mom could say would have made a difference, which annoyed me a bit. And this is one of the things where middle-grade is a hit or miss with me. I much preferred nerdy Walter. Gracie was just a notch too ungrateful for my taste (I guess some 12yo’s might be just that way), but I did like her story development.

As for the story itself, I found it really interesting and it made me think quite a bit. It’s in a sense about figuring out who we are, being ourselves with the knowledge that we can change. As a character, Gracie felt her life pre-destined, but the truth is, there’s always a way and I really liked how that was approached.

From the first 50 pages, I thought I had this book figured out, but it surprised me and I’m pretty sure I would have loved this as a child. As a grown-up tho, I wish it was bigger and more developed. It was a quick and surprising story with a great message and I would recommend it to a young audience.
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Unwritten by Tara Gilboy follows twelve-year-old Gracie Freeman. Gracie 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 draws 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.

This book is absolutely incredible! Ms. Gilboy is a fantastic writer who is able to evoke emotion with such few words. I read this as an adult because the synopsis is so magical, so alluring. I'm shocked this is a debut, and I will absolutely be reading more of Ms. Gilboy's novels. I highly recommend this five-star read!
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*book was archived or unable to be read due to formatting errors. Because of this, I unfortunately can not read or review the story*
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Loved this, reads a lot like Gail Carson Levine or Diana Wynne Jones books where they're YA/MG and highly accessible to younger readers while still being enjoyable for old farts like me. I was surprised at the amount of depth in the middle grade book.
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Unwritten is an astonishingly original and fresh story that was read aloud in my household. It kept the attention of the children and the adults alike. We truly enjoyed the creativity of the world seen through the eyes of Tara Gilboy. We recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a bit of adventure and magic.
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I love how this book just looks like an adventurous fantasy where characters move between two worlds and good triumphs over evil, but deep down its more than that. It deals with anger management issues, self-discovery, struggling against one’s fate and more.
I loved the characters in this book. Gracie is a strong-headed, brave little girl who just wants to know the truth when all the adults around her try to protect her from it. Her search for the truth takes her back into the story along with her friend Walter. I know several people will call her an unlikeable character. She’s sometimes selfish and makes some rash decisions. But she’s just a 12-year-old girl who is frantically trying to make sense of it all. You just can’t help but root for her to have her happy ending.
It has such a unique plot and so much potential but it fell short for me. It felt rushed and the writing style was a little choppy. Despite that, it was still a fun read.
I recommend this book to children/teens as well as adults and all those who love reading a story within a story kind of books. It’s a fun and easy to read middle-grade fantasy book about a girl who’s determined to make things right and fight against the fate written for her in the book.
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The Blurb:

Gracie lives with her mother in our world, though she suffers from “story glimmers”, which are memories from what happened in the book Gertrude Winters wrote about her. Indeed, Gracie and her family as well as her best friend Walter are all characters from Bondoff, a magical world that Winters created. They got out of the story, unbeknownst to the author, in order to save themselves from Cassandra, the evil stepmother who wants to get her hands on the magical book and control everything.


But is everything as it’s been told to Gracie? She wants to talk to Gertrude Winters to ask more about Bondoff and the book, but what she will find will be more dangerous and life-altering than she could have imagined.


Will Gracie come out it strong?


Is there a choice to make to be who you truly are?

Introduction:


You know when a book cover grabs your attention, then the blurb just compels you to read the book and the story just amazes you? That’s exactly what happened for me with Unwritten by Tara Gilboy. As soon as I saw it on NetGalley, I knew I had to request it. Fortunately (to me, at least, haha), my request was granted.

Thanks a lot, NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press!


The Positive Sides:

The best positive side has to be how this story tells of an identity quest. It asks important questions while never being boring and it gives the reader the sentiment/feeling of being in control of one’s destiny and actions, to choose who we want to be. Perfect and extremely moving!

As for the writing itself, it is sweet but honest with an emphasis (rightfully so) on Gracie’s turmoil of emotions. What a ride! Speaking of Gracie, I extend my thought to the characters because they felt alive to me. Gertrude did feel off sometimes and sounded trite in her dialogue, but Walter (Gracie’s friend), her mother, Cassandra, and the rest popped out of the story to me (see what I did here?).

Now, I can’t reveal spoilers (goddammit, how I hate those pesky nuisances!), BUT I can tell you two things:

1- The plot twist with Gracie halfway down the road is PER.FECT.ION!

2- The very last sentence gave me so many feels I had tears in my eyes! It sums up the story pretty well and it’s quite a nice touch there.

Moreover, the theme of Unwritten is fundamental and wonderful at the same time. Fear not, it is NOT force-fed to us, no. It flows with the rhythm of the story and it’s just so precious. It focuses on choosing who you want to be and staying true to that person. Amazing! And so vital.

Oh, and I wasn’t bored even ONCE! It captured my attention from cover to end, never failing. It held my interest all the while. There were enough action scenes (yes, where Gracie has to make quick and hard decisions) and emotional insights to her. I loved her relationships with the different characters and her own nature. She was fun and strong in her own right, looking for her true identity with admirable determination.

In the end, this is the story I was personally looking for as a child and teenager! Unfortunately, there was nothing like it at the time and I felt so alone. I believe this book can help others like me who are too different and have so many doubts about themselves and who they should be versus who they are. Needless to say that’s a huge point to me.


The Negative Sides:

What about them?

Where are they?

Honestly, I don’t know. I was waiting for a negative side to show up but it never did. In my opinion, it’s a flawless middle-grade book.


In Conclusion:

I have so many excellent things to say about this book, but since numbers help too, here you are: I give it a rating of 5 out of 5 no less. And trust me, if I could, I would give it way more! But alas, rating has to be contained to a specific number… I can’t rate 10 out of 5, even though I genuinely want to with Unwritten by Tara Gilboy.

To me, it’s such a good MG story, it goes with the likes of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. If that’s not grand, I don’t know what is. But don’t take my word for it: try it for yourself. You’ll see, it’s pretty darn great!

Here’s a bonus great news I found on Goodreads from the author, Tara Gilboy, herself: Is this a stand-alone or the first in a series? “I’ve been dying to answer this question and wasn’t able to announce it until now! Yes, there will be a sequel! I am hard at work on it right now, and it will release in spring 2020!”

I couldn’t be happier! We’re getting a sequel, woohoot!
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A cute little fairytale story that teaches young readers that who you are isn't set in stone and you can always change it. Reading this gave me some Inkheart vibes, which I absolutely loved.
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Tara Gilboy's debut was full of everything fun that I love in a middle grade novel! Unique and special, this book was a blast to read and I highly recommend!
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An interesting MG book for those who have enjoyed Once Upon a Time’s meta themes. It’s a lovely story, and one i’ll Read again.
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What is real? What is a fairy tale? Gracie begins to question this when she finds out life as she knows it is not the life she was born into. The start of her life was a figment of an author's imagination. When her parents did not like the life written for them in the fairy tale, they found a way to escape. Unwritten is an interesting twist on fairy tales and alternate universes. After an evil force draws them back into the fairy tale world, Gracie, Jacob, Cassandra, and the author who created them are the only ones who remember the other word even exists - Gracie's mother doesn't remember, Walter and his parents don't remember. Jacob even pretends to not remember.

Tara Gilboy has written an interesting story. It is well-written and convincing. The characters are well-developed. You will love the heroine and hate the villain and question the loyalty of others. What if there is another dimension? Can stories be explained by science? These questions are pondered by the scientist in the story who doesn't read at the beginning because stories aren't real.

I would not hesitate to add Unwritten to my library. It is a fantasy story appropriate for upper elementary and middle school. 

I received a complimentary e-copy of Unwritten from Net Galley.
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Such a cool cover, I only wish the book itself was better. It was fine,  better than meh but not particularly good I guess. Kind of in that weird middle spot.
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Unwritten by Tara Gilboy is a middle grade fantasy. 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.

Unwritten started of as a hard read for me, be quickly changed to an engaging adventure. When readers meet Gracie she already knows that she came out of a fairy tale along with some others, and that the author is coming to visit a local bookstore. I found all the information to be a little overwhelming and it felt a bit like a recap so I felt like maybe I had missed a previous book . However, once the major action got moving I was fully engaged i the story and it worked much better for me. I liked the struggle of the main characters in dealing with the two sides of themselves and their two stories. I really liked the idea of how we can overcome what is written, or destined, for us by taking the time and care to make the right choices. I found the secrets and lies to be good plot devices, and realistic for people to cling to in situations like the ones they faced. The thoughts and ideas about people and characters shared by Winters (the author in the story) were profound, although a little heavy handed at times. I liked the general feel of the characters, and how the interacted. I also like the fairy tale world building and character building that was done. So much really worked, but when the story was finished I had mixed feelings. I liked it, but I did not love it, and could come up with no definable reason why. 

Unwritten is a solid fantasy, with good amounts of action and character development. There is room for a sequel, but still a satisfying conclusion- so who knows there could be moren in the future.
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“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.
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Unfortunately I won't be able to read this book, as I forgot to send it to my Kindle before it got archived and my library doesn't have it.
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It took me forever to get around to reading and reviewing this, but I'm glad I did!

It was a fast-paced and enjoyable book with likable and easily definable characters. I will definitely be looking out for more from this author in the future!
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"Unwritten" is a fantasy middle grade novel with a similar basic premise to the YA novel "The Hazelwood", and I actually enjoyed "Unwritten" more.

The main character was flawed, her decisions not always right, but her actions felt rather realistic and I liked that she didn't just forgive people right away. It made her feel more real and I definitely enjoyed reading about her journey.

I really liked that the author addressed some really complex subject matters without becoming preachy. I also liked the focus on the villains of the story and how everyone can be the villain of somebody else's story.

The ending was somewhat weak, but the author can always remedy that in the next part of the series.
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This book has a really sweet premise and, truth be told, I'm a sucker for all things fairy tales. Gracie is a girl out of place. Her whole life has already been written out in an unpublished story that she's never seen and, seeing as how she is as inquisitive as they come, her only goal is to find out what it says. I loved this premise and, for the most part, I felt like the book stuck true to that idea. It just took a little while to really get going.

On the list of things I loved, is the whole theme throughout this story about finding your true self, regardless of what others want for you. It's a beautiful idea to introduce to young readers. Gracie's whole life has been mapped out, but now she has a chance to be whatever she wants. The question plaguing her becomes which version would be her true self. Watching her war with herself, and grow to understand what was most important in her life, made me smile. It's lovely to see an MG character really dive deep into who they are. I can't say that this whole book had as much depth as Gracie's personal growth, but at the end of the day that was my favorite part anyway.

What made this a bit of a rough read for me was simply what I said above, that it lacks some depth. While Gracie's story is very sweet, and definitely original, it's in such a hurry to get to the climax that it skims over a lot of what I would have loved as a young reader. When I read a book in this age group, I always try to read it from both my current perspective, and from when I was a young reader. This book was a good read, but it didn't quite hit that memorable mark.
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