Book Review: Unwritten by Tara Gilboy

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Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she's never read.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