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October 18, 2018

Unwritten by Tara Gilboy ~ a #KidLit Review

by MK French

Grace Freeman occasionally has very vivid nightmares that were flashes of the life she would have led if she had remained within the story world she was originally part of. Her mother had escaped into the "real world," and had hidden the part of the book that they had come from. Gracie can't help but wonder who she was "supposed" to be in that story, and seeking out information about that winds up drawing everyone that left back into the story. She doesn't know who she is anymore: the Gracie of the real world or that of the story, which is drawing ever closer to its ending.
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Unwritten
Oct 2018; Jolly Fish Press; 978-1631631771
ebook, print (200 pages)
children's, fantasy
While we often think of story characters as real people while we're reading the book, here is a school-age novel addressing the question about what makes them real. Are people destined to be what was written about them, or can they change their fate to create something new? Grace is twelve, so this is a very weighty topic for her to broach, and she's the one in charge of her own actions here. The adults around her have tried to withhold the truth or manipulate her understanding of the situation. As much as it frightens her, Grace is far stronger emotionally than she really thinks she is. She makes some impulsive decisions, such as meeting the author over her mother's objections at the start of the book, but also very mature ones as well.

Grace is a wonderful character to get to know, especially as she struggles with the frightening impulses to act in the ways she originally was written in the story. Queen Cassandra was a fairly one-note villain, though that didn't stop her from feeling almost creepy in her interest in Grace. As relentless as Cassandra's power seemed, Grace was able to keep it together throughout the novel and push hard to assert herself. This is certainly a great takeaway for girls her age to have.

It ended a little differently than I expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could very well be the opening to a sequel story if the author wants to go there. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to seeing more of Grace in the future!

Buy Unwritten at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.


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