Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book: Unwritten by Tara Gilboy
Release Date: October 16th 2018
Tags: Middle Grade / Fantasy / Alternate Reality / Story Book
Trigger Warnings: Talk About Murder / Abondement by Parent
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Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she’s never read.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 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
Unwritten is a pretty decent middle grade book about a young girl Gracie who actually comes from an unpublished story. When she confronts the author of her book, things start to go a bit wrong.
I found that for a middle grade book with less than 200 pages it took quite a bit to get going. For a middle grade that can be a bit of a downfall as a lot of kids need a book to grab them immediately. I don’t feel like this book would do that. Even so once it does get truly going it keeps going until the very end.
There are some interesting themes here regarding finding yourself when others want you to be something different, keeping secrets and what makes someone a villain. I am not often taken by plot twists but I wasn’t quite expecting the one we got here and I can only applaud the author for willing to take it in that direction. My only complaint would be that I think it lacked a little bit of depth. But that might be my adult heart talking.
Talking about depth, I think Gracie didn’t come off as strong of the page as the author wanted. There is a lot of talk about what kind of a person Gracie is but I don’t always see it on the page. I think she was fairly mild in some responses to be honest compared to some kids I’ve been around. I don’t think she is quicker to anger than any average child. As for the characters surrounding her they lack a bit of depth, especially Walter for the role that he gets to play.
Overall I think this is a middle grade with a great idea at its core but that lacks a little in execution and for that I think it might not be that memorable to the age group.