NOTE: I received an Uncorrected Advanced Proof of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.
AUTHOR: Tara Gilboy
EXPECTED DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16 October 2018
ISBN-13 (paperback): 978-1-63163-178-8
ISBN-13 (ebook): 978-1-63163-178-8
Unwritten is a beautifully written portal-fantasy/adventure novel written for middle-graders but that is also interesting enough for adults to read. The novel also has an attractive and eye-catching front cover.
The reader follows twelve-year-old Gracie, who is not a normal child. She is actually a character from an unpublished novel that she has never read. She only knows that she was supposed to die in the story. That's why her parents took her (and some other people) out of the story, into this world, to save her. She longs to know more about the story but her mother refuses to talk about it. All that this secret-keeping does is foster Gracie's curiousity about herself and the story she came from. Then the author of Gracie's unpublished story comes to town and things get interesting... and messy.
The main characters are believable (even if I did want to stuff Gracie in a broomcloset for continually ignoring sound parental requests), and the conflicts dealt with are complex. however, the other characters (Walter, Cassandra and Jacob) could all have used a bit more "flesh". The plot line is interesting and slightly twisty, with the setting skipping between our world and the story-world.
There are many themes in this book - keeping secrets, being honest, the detrimental effects of being too stubborn, family - but the main theme is about figuring out who you are in a world that may try to turn you into something else; realizing that your story is not written for you and you can determine your own path.
Being geared for the 8-14 years olds, this novel is rather short and fairly easy to understand, but it is a fantastic story about magic and self-determination that is enjoyable to read.