Unwritten

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

How does it feel to be part of a story written by someone else? And how does it feel to not understand why you were part of a story written by someone else, and who you were before?

This is the problem that is facing Gracie, and it is driving her crazy, until she learned that the author of her original story is in town, and so finds a way to go see her.

There have been other books written where the characters come to life or the author gets to meet the characters written about, but what I liked about this was that the author didn’t really remember the story. It wasn’t one she liked, and never got published.

Well written, with clues, of course, of what is coming. Good fantasy story for middle grade.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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This book is a really fast reading as it keeps you interested from the start. 

It tells the story about a girl named Gracie whose life was literally written.
She spent her whole life wanting to know what this story said about her until she found herself in the middle of something she would've rather not know about.

What I liked a lot about this book is that whenever you feel you already know what's going on and what's coming next it turns out you're wrong and the story gives a 360 turn.

I really recommend this book and only took a star from it because the end left me a little disappointed. It was not bad, but it was too open for me (unless it has a second part that I'm missing).
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Thank you, NetGalley for the preview of this digital ARC.

Unwritten follows Gracie, a girl who is brought into the real world from within a book by her mother to avoid terrible events from unfolding. While have read a few books with similar plotlines where the protagonist comes to the real world from a book, Unwritten was a very interesting read.

The book was a breezy read and fast-paced. The author did a wonderful job.
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“What if every story ever written is a world in another dimension, waiting for us to find it?”   This is the premise of Unwritten, an exciting fantasy by debut author Tara Gilboy. The plot is unique and intriguing - Gracie has grown up in the real world, but she is really a character from a story.  Struggling with unanswered questions about herself and her story, Gracie ends up back in the story. In order to get home, she must face some unpleasant truths and learn how to make her own choices.  This book is fast-paced and hard to put down, with lots of twists and turns. I loved the idea that everyone wants to be the hero in their own story- including the villain. There are so many positive and thought-provoking ideas in this book, and I am delighted to share it with my students. I look forward to reading more of Tara Gilboy’s writing!
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I really enjoyed this middle grade book, it felt nothing like a middle grade. The writing was not something only a middle school child would enjoy. I loved the story and the characters. The story flowed and was the perfect amount of information arlt the perfect time. 


I received this book through NetGalley for review, all opinions are my own.
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I was really interested in this book based on the description but it fell a little flat for me.

Nice premise and the writing wasn't bad however I found the main character unlikable.
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I loved the character dynamics and themes of this book so much. The mix of fictional/fairytale-esk and science was well done and provides great messages. It was complex and intriguing even as an adult. I don't know if I would have been happy with it as a kid in the age group, so I think it is a bit outside of the normal middle grade genre.

However I wished that the "in-book-language" was a bit more medieval/renaissance appropriate. Otherwise a great and fast story for almost all ages, that makes you crave more.
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Huge thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for an advanced copy of this sweet little read! I haven't dipped into Middle Grade Fiction in a while, but it's always nice to step into a book that isn't as heavy as YA or even adult fiction can be.

Right from the start you're thrust into this world where stories are real and the characters are on the run. They don't take the time, initially, to explain what's going on, it's more like you're just expected to know. I'm not sure if I like this or not, because we didn't waste time in the beginning of the story with the character not knowing her origin, but we're also just thrown into the story with little to go off of.

We also start off right in the middle of a fight between Gracie and her mother, and thus starts the plot wheels turning. Gracie wants to meet the woman who wrote their story because her mother refuses to tell her what happens in their book. She's tired of being left in the dark and wants to know how she was written. When she defies her mother and goes to the book signing to meet the author, she confronts the writer and accidentally transports the author into their fictional world. We follow Gracie as she travels through this world and the fictional one as she struggles to understand herself and the forces surrounding her family.

The writing here is so beautiful! It's so descriptive and lyrical and I think its really high quality, which is something people try to say isn't present in middle grade and other children's fiction. The only thing that kind of annoyed me here was the fact that the word "Gracie" was basically the start of every sentence. It was highly repetitive at times and could have been reworded to help the paragraphs flow a little more.

For me its a toss up as to whether or not I enjoyed the characters. The story centers on Gracie and so we don't get to see any of the other character's feelings or thoughts, but everyone was just a little flat to me. Those who weren't flat were more on the 'blah' scale. For instance, I thought Gracie's mom was rude and so were Walter's parents. Walter was overly naive, even for a child. Then there was Jacob, who was simultaneously helping and hurting everyone.  For a story that was based so heavily on characters changing, the characters were all flat and impersonal.

Overall, I had fun while reading this. I thought the writing was great and the plot was fast paced and very character driven. I just wasn't crazy about the characters and probably would have liked it more if they were a little more dynamic. The premise of this book was so fresh and interesting, but I really got a lot of Once Upon A Time and Coraline vibes while reading this. Which I'm not mad about!

This was all about overcoming what others think of you and discovering your own destiny, you get to make your own decisions and steer your life, even if you're the 'bad' character. It was a super fun, sweet, and interesting read and I think kids are going to really enjoy getting to know Gracie and both her worlds!
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This was such a good book! Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down!  Plus it’s pretty short. When I finished I was lookin for more book!
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“What if every story ever written is a world in another dimension waiting for us to find it?”

Unwritten is a fantastical embedded narrative reminiscent of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart  trilogy (though not as long) and The Hazel Wood  by Melissa Albert (but without the mature content).  

Younger readers who have not been exposed to embedded narratives from YA or adult authors may enjoy this story about a young girl who finds out she was created by a human for a story and a certain narrative purpose.  Unsatisfied with her story, Gracie sets out to make things go her way in her life, and she decides that she controls who she is and how she acts in her life.

For middle grade readers who may find the intricacies of such winding plots too much for them to follow, Unwritten serves a purpose for a younger middle-grade or older elementary audience who don’t quite possess the attention span (or reading comprehension) yet for more complicated stories.  Additionally, since this genre is large- and expanding-many books are being added to the genre that give such readers a gradual introduction into more the complicated plot structures of embedded narratives.
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Middle Grade Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I enjoy the stories in this genre. However, I found it hard to like Unwritten. I really wanted to like the story but the MC was just too dislikable. She was too selfish, self-absorbed, dismissive of people, an annoying know-it-all at such a young age and prone to abnormal anger episodes for a kid – a spoiled brat. 

I get that she was that way because of how she’d been written as a character in the story from which she and her mother had escaped from. But I hated how she treated her mother, who had sacrificed to protect her. Gracie just dismissed all her mother’s worries and acted as if she knew better. She was just too childish and uncaring of anyone but herself.

I love characters who fight against the mold they’re forced into but Gracie just didn’t rise to the occasion. In addition, there wasn’t much backstory and character to the supposed villain in the story, Cassandra. The book wasn’t even funny, not even sarcastic humor that I enjoy in my middle grade books. I was leaning towards 3 stars but the ending with a twist that I didn’t find a good fit to the story made another character that I actually liked, act uncharacteristic to his personality. This just lowered my rating to 2 stars.

That said, the cover is amazing and I did like the writer’s writing for the first half of the book.
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A fast read that is interesting, exciting and great fun for any age.

This short story is so well written it is easy to completely lose yourself in Gracie's world. 

Tara Gilboy does an incredible job at immersing the reader with her incredible writing style and portrayal of characters. 

A real joy to read!
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I enjoyed this book and will add it to my classroom library. This is a perfect fascinating story of a girl confronting  a difficult aspect of her life and the steps she takes to overcome those. There is a real message wrapped in this fantasy adventure.
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I really loved this book. I wanted to find a new book for my daughter to read that was in the fantasy genre and this book didn't disappoint. The characters are very well developed and the plot was fantastic. I can't wait for my daughter to read this book once it's released. I'm sure she'll love it as much as I did.
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If you're looking for a fun and interesting middle grade novel, you'll want to grab Unwritten.

Unwritten is a fascinating middle grade fantasy your young adults are sure to love. I found it to be a compelling and fun read and didn't want to put it down. My favorite aspect is the constant struggle each character had with the good and evil inside themselves. 

I have to admit it took me a while to get into Unwritten, I couldn't seem to get my bearing at the beginning but I loved it once I did. The only warning I'll offer is that there as some scenes that are a bit dark and scary. Not all will understand the struggle.
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I loved the idea for this book, I personally would love it if I discovered I actually came from a storybook. This was such an easy read for me and I think that was partly because it's middle grade, but mostly because it was really well written. I loved how Gracie's character was written, Tara perfectly captured an almost-teenager, I especially love when Gracie knows something was her fault but still shifts some of the blame onto someone else - if her mum had just told her about the parchment, she never would have taken it - typical twelve year old. 

I also really liked the little plot twists throughout the book, and also finding out why Gertrude had written the characters in her book the way she did. This was quite a dark story for a middle grade book but I for one would have loved to read more books like this when I was that age. This also works really well as a standalone but if the author decided to turn this into a series, it has been written in a way that both would work. I don't want to include any spoilers so I'll leave you with my favourite line from the book...

"Because what does it mean, really, to be labelled as a villain? No one actually thinks of herself as a villain. We are all the heroes in our own stories."
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*I’d like to thank the Publisher for providing an ARC of this book through Netgalley*

 This was such a different foray from my usual reading choices

Unwritten a children's book. More specifically, middle grade. But I was really fascinated by the synopsis and ended up requesting for an ARC.

It sort of follows the idea of "Enchanted", a movie I adore.

12 year old Gracie gets vision or what her mother calls glimmers of a different world. She dreams of fires. It turns out that she was a part of  a fictional world, an unpublished novel by a writer who's real. That book even has an evil queen. Her mother with a group of accomplices escaped from the world of those fictional pages when Gracie was just one year old. According to her mother, the writer of Gracie's book had written her to die as a child. That is why, her mother escaped that world to escape that cruel fate.

If it sounds vague to you, that's because it is. Gracie's mother is not very forthcoming about the details. She has told Gracie only the bare minimum - that she was destined to die and that's why she had to be brought to the real world - to keep her safe. But Gracie has a lot of questions which her mother doesn't want her asking. Her mother wants to let go of the past. But Gracie's glimmers and nightmares won't let her move on. That's why when she gets the opportunity to meet Gertrude Winters, the writer who wrote her story and whom her mother despises, she leaps at the chance. But because of her desperation to find out the answers to her story, she sets things in motion that could put her future in jeopardy.

There is something very fascinating about the concept of characters from books crossing over  into the real world. There were enough twists and unexpected reveals to make the idea work too.

I liked how the book made us question the idea of villains, fate and parallel worlds. This story seemed to be a take on one of my very favorite quotes by Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter -

'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'

I liked the character of Walter and how he wanted to find the scientific rationale behind everything. Characters that are science nerds are always a welcome addition to any book.

Of course, it wasn't all perfect. I think, the execution could've been better. There was lack of proper character development and world-building. Maybe, because it was for children, this book felt too short to me. I felt like more time could've been spent on building the world and establishing the plot. But a shorter length meant a tighter story line and fast pace, which I can't really complain about.

I'm just pleasantly surprised that I ended up liking the book as much as I did. Goes to show that trying something different every once in a while isn't always a bad thing.
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This book is going to be a hit with young girls. The story weaves all the magic of a fairy tale with all of the mystery of a middle-grade story well told.

The idea that the main character, twelve year old Gracie is actually a character from a storybook is interesting and will be unique for the younger generation.

At first Gracie is living a normal life, just like the rest of her schoolmates. As the story continues we learn where she came from and how it came to be that her mother escaped with her into the “real” world.

The Author writes with the perfect mix of preteen angst and magic. What twelve year old girl hasn’t fantasized about discovering that she is really a Princess?

Imagine discovering that you owe your life to an author, rather than to your parents. How bizarre would that be?

After Gracie discovers with where she came from, events quickly speed up. She is desperate to know more about what the story says about her, but her mother will not tell her anything.

With typical youthful exuberance, Gracie decides that if her mother will not give her the information she so desperately wants, she will find answers on her own. This leads to a snowball effect and soon events spiral out of control and Gracie discovers that her life is now in danger.

Will she survive returning to the fairytale she had been rescued from as a baby? Or will she discover too late the power of the fairytale?

Writing Gracie must have brought out the author’s inner child. She does a brilliant job of describing the way young girls often feel. They may think they are on the cusp of adulthood, and be aggravated by the way their parents still treat them “like a child.”

It is only later (and sometimes too late, or not all) that they come to realize that maybe, just maybe, their parents are right and should have been listened to after all.

I enjoyed the mother daughter dynamics and could empathise with both characters. The scenes from inside the fairytale are terrific, as are Gracie’s interactions with the characters.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I will say no more about the plot.

UNWRITTEN is due to hit bookstores on October 16th and it is sure to become a hit. It would be a great Christmas present for the preteen or young adult in your family.

I rate UNWRITTEN as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

**Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**
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I loved this book! The full review will be posted soon at kaitgoodwin.com/books! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to connect books to their readers!
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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.
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