Storybound (Storybound, book 1)
By Marissa Burt
Published 2012 by HarperCollins Children's
Poor Una Fairchild has always felt ignored. Her life is about to change, though. One day, while reading a strange book she's found in the library, Una experiences something she's never felt before and the next thing she knows, she's part of the story. That's right, Una has landed in Story, where kids go to school to learn how to be Ladies, Heroes, Sidekicks, and Villains. But how did Una get there? And why is she there? With her new friends Peter and Sam, Una will begin to unlock the secrets of Story, discovering that everything is not as it appears and she may be in much greater danger than she could have imagined...
I first heard about this book from another blog that I follow (Book Smugglers) and it sounded like something pretty much right up my alley. I never really noticed it before but most of what I read in children's literature, especially middle-grade, is fantasy. The plot for this one sounded like something I'd definitely enjoy, so I was thrilled to grab an ARC at Midwinter in January. After finishing, I must admit that the book wasn't entirely what I expected. Though there is a lot going on and a very intriguing premise and plot, it wasn't quite as action-packed as I expected it to be. However, this didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book. I loved finding out Story's backstory (haha) - learning about the Tale Keepers and Muses and being Written In. I think Burt has created a beautifully imagined world that will draw readers in completely. Kids will love wondering what character they would be - a Lady? A Villain? Characters are another thing that Burt has done very well - I was completely on Una's side from the very beginning. But she has also created some more complex characters that readers must learn to love - Snow, Professor Thornhill, Endeavour Truepenny. All these characters are fantastic and interesting. As with most fantasy novels, Burt is also exploring a lot of themes that kids this age are exploring - what it means to be a family, how to be a good friend, learning about good and evil. This book was not exactly what I expected but it definitely drew me in and kept me hooked. I look forward to reading the next title soon!
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.