Review of My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

My Very UnFairy Tale Life
By Anna Staniszewski

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/YA Urban Fantasy
Number of Pages: 208

Date Started: March 28, 2017
Date Finished: March 28, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They’re lies. All lies.

I’ve spent my life as an official adventurer. I travel across enchanted kingdoms saving magical creatures and fighting horrible beasts that most of you think are only myths and legends. I’ve never had a social life. My friends have all forgotten me. And let’s not even talk about trying to do my homework. So – I’m done!! I’m tired and I want to go back to being a normal girl. But then along comes “Prince Charming” asking for help, and, well, what’s a tired girl like me supposed to do?

What if you had something you were great at, but the novelty had worn off and you weren’t sure you wanted to keep doing it? Enter Jenny’s UnFairy Tale life. There are so many great messages that this novel gets across. Learning that what you thought you wanted and would make you happy isn’t going to if you have to give up things you enjoy is a great lesson all people can learn from. Relating to others and trying to make meaningful connections is also something that can be difficult when caught up in your own life. Facing your fears can be difficult, but there’s a solution to everything, if you look hard enough. Of course, Jenny’s “kindergarten phrases” as she calls them are usually great life advice that all of us could use a refresher in.

I absolutely love the tie in between Earth with Jenny’s aunt’s love of animals, and Jenny’s love of mini golf, and how that transitions to Speak and trying to defeat the dastardly villain.

Although listed in the teen category, I think this book would fit the perfect niche of 5th grade on, as there is a great story line and a lot of reminders about how to be a good friend, and a good person, for all.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was a Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston, Mass. and teaches at Simmons College. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time reading, eating chocolate, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at

Review of A Little Princess; being the whole story of Sara Crewe by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young People, Young Adult
Number of Pages: 2649781435142091_p0_v4_s260x420

Season Read: Fall

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
At Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies, young Sara Crewe enjoys the friendship of her classmates and the staff–much to stern Miss Minchin’s disdain. When Sara is unexpectedly impoverished, she is forced to become a servant under Miss Minchin’s control. To escape her dreary life, Sara imagines herself a princess, and her experiences soon teach her that being a princess on the inside counts more than any outward expression of royalty.

I love this novel so much.  What’s wrong with being a princess?  Being a princess is hard work.  You have to remain poise and collected no matter what adversity strikes you.  You have to do what is good for all above what is good for yourself.  You must also be kind.  Are those not the attributes many like to see in not just women, but all people in society?  There is a great deal of difference between “princess” and “damsel in distress.”  Sara is an amazing character who, despite everything horrible going on around her, tries to remain strong and trustworthy for those who rely on her.And I still love the 1997 movie just as much, although there are some significant changes to what happens.  Most of the changes between the book and movie adaptation could have been done to make it easier to understand the complete story for a new generation, and to tell the story without having a three hour movie.

500px-Frances_BurnettAuthor Bio: (From Wikipedia)
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was an American-English writer of plays and prose fiction. She is best known for the three children’s novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885–1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911).

For more information, check out Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Wikipedia page.


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Review of Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones

Castle in the Air
A Companion to Howl’s Moving Castle
By Diana Wynne Jones


Star Rating: 
Genre: Young People
Number of Pages: 400

Season Read: Late Spring/Early Summer

Synopsis:(From Amazon)castle-in-the-air-by-diana-wynne-jones
Young merchant Abdullah leads a humble life. Or he did until a stranger sold him a threadbare—and disagreeable—magic carpet. Now Abdullah is caught in the middle of his grand daydreams. Waking one night in a luxurious garden, he meets and falls instantly in love with the beautiful and clever Flower-in-the-Night. But a wicked djinn sweeps the princess away right before Abdullah’s eyes, leaving the young man no choice but to follow. This is no ordinary quest, however, for Flower-in-the-Night isn’t all the djinn has stolen. Abdullah will have the so-called help of the cantankerous carpet, a cranky genie in a bottle, a dishonest soldier, and a very opinionated black cat. Will this motley crew be able to find the djinn’s mysterious dwelling and rescue a castle full of princesses?

Howl’s Moving Castle was sheer perfection.  While this novel is set in the same world, and many of the previous enchanting characters resurface, it seems removed from the amazing setting we came to love.  Abdullah may be easy to relate to, given that he is always lost in a daydream, but he seems otherwise boring.  His family is horrid, and although Abdullah does find a quest, it is half by luck that he does.  While the adventure was interesting it took quite a while before the characters from Howl’s Moving Castle became prevalent.

Nevertheless, looking forward to see what the third book connected to these two is like!

Author Bio:
Diana Wynne Jones has had a career spanning four decades, and for more information about her, please visit her Amazon page.


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