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My Very UnFairy Tale Life Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Series: My Very UnFairy Tale Life (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; Original edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402259468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402259463
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Staniszewski's debut is a speedy and amusing ride that displays a confident, on-the-mark brand of humor, mostly through Jenny's wisecracking narration...the inventive and lighthearted premise will keep readers entertained."-Publisher's Weekly

"A light comic romp...Staniszewski pitches her writing to a middle-school audience in her debut, emphasizing comedy along with non-threatening suspense, and keeps the tone chatty and frothy...[Audiences will] easily will identify with Jenny. Charming."-Kirkus 

You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They're lies. All lies."-Twelve-year-old Jenny has spent the last two years as an adventurer helping magical kingdoms around the universe. But it's a thankless job, leaving her no time for school or friends. She'd almost rather take a math test than rescue yet another magical creature! When Jenny is sent on yet another mission, she has a tough choice to make: quit and have her normal life back, or fulfill her promise and go into a battle she doesn't think she can win.

***

There are lots of things to love about this middle grade book. First, it has a feisty and opinionated protagonist--I mean, c'mon people, she fights unicorns. And strange talking magical creatures. Second, she's a golfer. Well, mini-golfer. But still. It's a fun read--perfect for your middle-grader who's sick and tired of the traditional fairy tale. Or not!


Anna Staniszewski is getting fabulous reviews for her debut novel -- I would suggest that perhaps it's a great holiday gift for your favorite middle grader.

And if anyone is interested in meeting Anna, she's doing some appearances for her book--I think I'll be going on November 18 to the Barnes and Noble in Burlington, MA.

Wow, what a fun middle grade novel with fantastic characters, an amazing and witty main character and a magical plot.. Jenny's voice is pitched perfectly for the book's intended audience and her magical problems reflect the real world problems that 9-12 year olds face every day. A very different but original and recommended read!

As I read this book, all I could think was that a 4th or 5th grade me would LOVE this book! Real Kingdoms with all the fairytale creatures? Unicorns? Fairy's? Dragons? Talking frogs? Yes Please!! I think the clincher for me was the talking Gnome! (I have an odd place in my heart for Garden Gnomes!)

I think this book had everything a mid grade novel should have! A lovable main character who learns a lesson (the grass isn't always greener on the otherside) and spouts off good sayings (treat others as you would like to be treated) and learns to accept friends for who they are. (With a lesson on not telling lies thrown in there as well.)

But all those good lessons are masked by a great story! Anna Staniszewski did a wonderful job of creating a new world, as well as the characters that inhabit the world where Jenny is employed as an Adventurer! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun mid-grade book!

In the acknowledgements for her book My Very UnFairytale Life Anna Staniszewski describes it as her "wacky little book". It is indeed a whacky little book but in a way that is fun and not too ridiculous especially if you are of the age of the intended audience. Elementary school me would have loved this book with a fervent and fierce devotion.

You know all those stories that have fairy godmothers coming into change the lives of ordinary girls? Well this is that in reverse. Jenny is an ordinary girl sent to help change the lives of magical creatures. Instead of being armed with a magic wand, Jenny relies on a repertoire of cheesy cliches to make a difference. Sure sometimes baby dragons try to burn her head off and unicorns charge after her, but that's all part of the fun. Except Jenny is not having much fun. She is in middle school and she wants a life and normal friends. Instead she gets a candy addict gnome guide and an old adventurer who keeps an eye on her. When faced with a saving a kingdom being terrorized by an evil magical clown who tortures prisoners by making them appear in his circus, Jenny decides she can't take it anymore. But normal is not what Jenny expected and she has to consider that maybe adventuring is what she was born to do.

Jenny is an engaging and witty narrator. She is imaginative and adventurous, the sort of girl who dresses up as Indiana Jones for Halloween and releases a jar of spiders into her Kindergarten class so she can "rescue" her classmates. While she does complain quite a bit about her lot in life you can't help but agree that she is being sorely used and mistreated by the mysterious committee who gives her assignments. And Anthony her guide does seem pretty heartless at times. Jenny's voice is pitched perfectly for the book's intended audience and her magical problems reflect the real world problems that 9-12 year olds face every day. There are couple of plot points that aren't really explained or wrapped up well (the disappearance of Jenny's parents, the mysterious committee) and this left me feeling like something was missing.


If you have a young girl in your life who has a spirit of adventure, enjoys fantasy, plucky heroines, and a bit of silly this is the perfect book to put in their hands.

Anna Staniszewski creates a magical world that's totally relatable. You'll find yourself wishing you were alongside Jenny fighting against unicorns (who aren't as peaceful as you think) and traveling to fantastical realms.

Part of the genius behind Anna's premise is that middle readers who like and middle readers who don't like traditional fairy tales will both enjoy it. It's a great middle ground that celebrates the spirit of fairy tales while turning them on their heads.

If your middle reader is looking for a fast-paced and humorous read, this quirky book is a great option.

About the Author

Anna Staniszewski lives outside of Boston, MA with her husband and their adopted black Lab, Emma. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library. When she's not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at www.annastan.com.


More About the Author

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston, Mass. with her husband and their adopted black Labrador, Emma. When she's not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at www.annastan.com.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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It was action packed and tons of fun!
Princess Deb
Overall, I think younger teen and tween girls will love this light and quick read.
ReadingVacation
This book was definitely one of my favs!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By My Full Bookshelf Reviews on May 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I had mixed feelings about this book. It was...bizarre, to say the least. But even so, I found it entertaining!

This was definitely a fluff read. The fact that I could read this without problems on only five hours of sleep says a LOT. However, despite all my problems with this book, I managed to enjoy it. Maybe not 'read the sequel NOW' enjoyment, but an 'aww, that's cute' enjoyment. Unicorns learn to share? Cute. Gnomes who like chocolate? Cute! Lamb princes who needs rescuing? Very cute!

I have a feeling that this author has coulrophobia. The antagonist was not only an evil sorceror, he was also a clown. (Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns, and no...I do not know if it is spelled exactly like that.) This is where the bizarre label comes in. I mean...a sorceror clown? Really? Creative, I guess, but...come on.

Plus the aunt who baked things with animal food in them. Ew. And the animals who had no mouths. -cue the creepy music-

To summarize, there are two words that I would use to describe this book: cute and bizarre. No, it's not the highest praise I've ever given a book, but I didn't hate it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Princess Deb on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
This was a super quick, fun, and quirky book. I didn't know anything about it besides it had an awesome title and cover, but that was enough to make me pick it up!

It was action packed and tons of fun! Jenny is an Adventurer, and as such, has the responsibility to keep peace among the many magical realms. This leads her on many strange quests, which result in things such as being stabbed by a unicorn horn and having her mouth removed by a lunatic clown.

And speaking of clowns, Klarr sure was creepy. A clown with no mouth who has cursed practically everyone elses mouths off. I've never liked clowns, but I think Klarr has just ensured that I don't head to the circus any time soon! (And as I type this, my friend who is, in fact, a professional clown (yes, I know), is liking my facebook status...)

Other than that, I loved all the characters. They were fun and definitely belong in fairy tale worlds. Anthony was definitely a favorite. He reminded me very much of Chrissy from My Fair Godmother (by Janette Rallison). He's the side-kick/helper who manages to get by doing the bare minimum, while spending most of the time with something trivial (in his case, candy!)

The writing was fun and light, and carried the story with ease, and lots of humor. There were many moments when I was smiling a cheesy grin or giggling out loud. All in all, it was a fun and very unique adventure, and I look forward to going on another adventure like that sometime soon!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Briana Windle on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to be able to read Anna Staniszewski's debut novel before it came out on the shelves; I was worried about a massive sell out! Ms. Staniszewski does not disappoint. In a world where we encourage our children to grow up too quickly, her book allows the reader to get lost in an adventure of epic proportions.
My Very UnFairy Tale Life packs it all in; humor, witty characters, magical creatures, and adventures to other lands. This book leaves the reader eagerly anticipating the next Jenny undertaking! Jenny, the main character, is a feisty adventuress with a commitment to right the wrongs of all the magical shenanigans. And shenanigans she does encounter!
I would highly recommend this book to all the kids who want to laugh out loud and accompany Jenny on all her amazing missions to magical worlds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AboutToRead on March 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
My Very Unfairytale Life is an action-packed middle grade novel. While I wouldn't classify this as a YA cross-over, I found myself being sucked into Anna Staniszewski's story. Jenny was a bit young for me, but she was still funny and I liked her bravery. The writing, however, is what really steals the shows.

Staniszewski does an amazing job at creating suspense. She ends her chapters on the most intense notes, and you just have to keep reading to see where the story is going to go--it's almost impossible to put down. I was able to finish the entire novel in just 2 hours, and was not bored for a minute. I would even go so far as to say that she is a middle grade Julie Kagawa.

Jenny herself is a fun character. She is funny, albeit cheesy, and is certainty very brave (especially considering how much of her life has been taken over by being an adventurer). While I didn't love her, I did enjoy reading from her perspective and am expecting her to be even better in following novels.

My Very Unfairytale Life is a cute and fast read. As short as it is, it is very exciting and is exactly the kind of story I would have devoured as a child.If Staniszewski ever writes a YA cross-over, I will most certainty be picking it up! In the meantime, however, I am looking forward to the next installment in Jenny's story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I very much liked this book and I liked how she made the bad guy a clown because I don't like clowns but that is juste any way I liked all the little twist in the book they surprised me and made me feel urged to read more
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By mcmorra on April 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book! It's a fun read start to finish. I enjoyed the the quirky characters, "cheesy" expressions, and original storyline. It's a fun and funny story told from the "adventurer," Jenny's perspective, and I am looking forward to the sequels.
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