“If you could meet your main character, would they forgive you?”
This is a question that floats around writers circles often. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen it on twitter. It’s a question that really digs at you as an author. Your characters are your babies. As an author, you spend so much time crafting the characters, back stories, personalities, the world they live in, and so much more. By the time a book makes its way into the hands of readers, it can feel a part of you.
We throw our characters into stressful situations to see how they’ll handle it. Sometimes characters will even surprise the author in how they react to things. It’s happened to me, where a character definitely took on a life of her own, and started driving a way I did not anticipate. I was just along for the ride at that point.
“Once upon a time,” Gertrude Winters wrote, “in a land called Bondoff, in a castle on a hill . . .”
Our characters feel real. But what if they actually were? What if your character was walking around in the world, and you ran into them at the bookstore? What would they ask of you? What would you say to them? Would you even recognize them? This is the premise that Unwritten, by Tara Gilboy tackles. A fairytale storybook character Gracie, is taken from her story by her parents, and brought into the real world, because she is supposed to die in the story.
This story is so amazing. Tara takes this really great premise and runs with it. As Gracie moves through the book, she wrestles with her own emotions, fate, and forgiveness. Gracie’s adventure takes her through the real world, along with her own world within her story. She meets her author, and has so many things to say to her, which are not always good.
Tara does an amazing job crafting a world filled with all the fun elements you would find in a fantasy story, including castles, moats, and even an evil witch. Throwing a couple kids from the real world into a fantasy land has never felt so much fun, at least for one character. Who wouldn’t want their own fantasy storybook after all?
Gracie feels genuine throughout, reacting in ways that any young kid would when faced with the decisions, and the information, that is thrown at her. She wrestles with her temper, and if she can overcome the fate bestowed upon her. Can Gracie become her own person, with a personality not forced upon herself by the author of her story, or is she destined to live out what was written about her within her storybook, never to see the real world again?
It’s a fun adventure I couldn’t put down. Literally. I read the whole thing over the course of two plane flights. The premise felt unique and fresh. You should definitely go out and find yourself a copy right now!
Unwritten – Tara Gilboy
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.
You can find Unwritten here