Author: Marissa Burt
May Contain Spoilers
When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of opening the cover and diving in. But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story—a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy-tale characters.
But not everything in Story is as magical as it seems. Una must figure out why she has been Written In—and fast—before anyone else discovers her secret. Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story’s shadowy past. She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined—and it might be up to her to save it.
I am having a fantastic winning streak of wonderful Middle-Grade novels so far in 2012. Storybound turned out to be another winner. The premise is fantastic, and I could not put the book down. I was literally glued to my reading chair for an entire afternoon as I frantically turned pages, eager to see what kind of trouble Una would find herself in.
Like Harry Potter, Una has never known her parents. She has been shuffled through the foster care system, and she currently lives with Ms. McDonough, an odd woman who speaks to her cats far more frequently than she speaks to Una. Una is fine with that, because she finally has some time to herself after being fostered in big families where she never felt that she belonged. She feels invisible, both at her foster home and at school. One day when Una is reading in the library in the basement at school, she finds a mysterious book. A book about her. Before she even has a chance to catch her breath, she finds herself sucked into the book, trapped as a character in the story. Now she must find her way back out again, all without getting killed. Whoa!
In the land of Story, Una finds must become a student at the school where the children of Story learn how to be characters in books. All of the citizens of Story have roles in books, and they all have to behave in a manner consistent with the character they are playing. I loved the concept of this world. Una’s ally, Peter, is learning to be a Hero. He takes his studies very seriously, and when Una is magically zapped into one of his practical exams, he is not very happy when she screws it up for him. With Peter’s help, Una learns that she was Written In. Peter is shocked, because no one has been Written In since the Tale Keepers overthrew the evil Muses and took control of Story.
I am going to gush about how much I adored Una. She is resourceful, clever, and loyal, and she is my favorite kind of protagonist. She meets setback after setback, but each one makes her more determined to figure out what is going on. Something is stinky in the land of Story, and Una won’t rest until she discovers what it is. There is something wrong with the Tale Keepers, and she doesn’t believe that the Muses were evil. With the help of Peter and Sam, a talking cat, she searches for the truth, even when it puts her in mortal danger. And Una is in a lot of danger. She doesn’t belong in Story, and she needs to get back home before someone figures out that she has been Written In. Another thing that I love is convincing character development – Storybound has it in spades. The Una at the end of the book is a much more mature and likeable girl than the Una at the beginning.
My only gripe about Storybound is the cliffhanger ending. I hate those! Aside from that complaint, this is a fantastic book with wonderful characters, creative world-building, and non-stop suspense. Fans of Harry Potter will enjoy Storybound, as well as anyone who loves a rousing fantasy yarn. I am counting down the days until the sequel, Story’s End, hits store shelves, though 2013 seems like a long time away!
Grade: Waffling between an A- and a B+ (Either way, I LOVED this book)
Review copy provided by publisher