Rory Landon wasn’t sure if she understood the Ever After School (EAS) program. Everything is weird there. Rory didn’t understand why everything there is related to fairy tales. She soon makes friends with Lena (AKA Jacqueline), a girl her age and Lena helps Rory around EAS. Rory is amazed to learn that everyone there is a character from a fairy tale, including herself! Every kids at EAS eventually gets matched up with a “Tale”. When you are matched with a Tale, you have to go and live it out. The Tales can be dangerous, or really nice. It takes a while, but Rory really starts to enjoy life at EAS. When Lena is matched with her Tale, Jack… err… Jacqueline and the bean stalk (a Tale that can get pretty dangerous), she picks Rory and a boy named Chase to go with her. Rory thinks the Tale may be a GIANT disaster! Will the friends make it through?
This was a really exciting and adventurous book! I loved the uniqueness! The idea of the students all being characters in fairy tales is great! I really enjoyed Ms. Bach’s writing style. She mixes a lot of humor and sarcasm in the story. I think the cover is cool. I like the colors and how it is laid out. Rory was a great main character, she makes a great heroine. I am adding her to The Awesome List of Awesome Heroines! She had a great personality and I think girls will like having an adventure story with a girl hero. Boys will also like her because she’s cool I recommend this book to kids 9+.
I interrupt this review to bring you an author interview— Introducing Ms. Shelby Bach!
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Charlotte, NC, reading every book I could find and writing stories in battered notebooks. After graduating from college, I worked in publishing for a while, but in 2009, I left New York to follow my dream of becoming a writer. Since then, I’ve lived in Charlotte and Big Sky, MT, and I’ve recently moved to Portland, OR, where I like to explore my new city, discover tasty new restaurants, and take random craft classes (I can now etch my own glass and carve my own rubber stamps!).
Cool! Making your own stamps must be fun! When did you start writing stories? Did you always think you would write kids books?
I wrote my first book inside my desk during fifth grade. I was ten. I really should have been paying attention to my teacher, but I felt epically sneaky and rebellious (more than one time, that same teacher took away our recess and forced us to march up and down stairs for a half an hour instead).
And kids books are definitely my first love. When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, all the books I was reading were kids books. I just naturally assumed that I would write the same kind of book, and even when I grew older and I was expected to read books for adults, kids books were still my absolute favorite.
I get into trouble for reading in school, so I know what you mean! The idea of the “Ever After” school is really cool. I like how you have references to fairy tales we all know in “Of Giants and Ice” but they are altered a little, like Puss-in-Dress and Sarah Thumb. How did you get the idea for your book?
Thanks! I’m so glad you like it!
I’ve always loved fairy tales. I loved it so much that I actually took a fairy tale class in college, where we read hundreds of stories from Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, and Andrew Lang. Our professor encouraged us to do writing projects to make the fairy tales our own, and I actually wrote a short piece about “Puss-in-Dress” for the class.
Then, one day, years later, I found myself thinking about how when I was a kid, I didn’t want to meet a fairy tale Character – I wanted to be one. I thought about how cool it would be if a bunch of kids were waiting to grow up to be fairy tale characters in the same place, like maybe an after school program, where they could talk about it together, and bam! The idea for Ever After School exploded in my head. It was like all the stories I read in that college fairy tale class were just waiting to get used for the series.
Which character can you relate to the most? Do you base your characters on real people?
The only real person I’ve ever based a character on is myself. Which means that a lot of the Characters in the book have a piece of me in them – I can’t narrow it down to one. So, I relate the most to Rory, Chase, and Lena. Like Rory, I’m sometimes very aware of what other people are feeling, and since I don’t want to hurt anyone or cause trouble, I often don’t know what to say. Of course, when I was in sixth grade, I was just as show-offy and loud as Chase among my friends, and if I was having a hard time, sometimes I acted even more show-offy to hide what I was feeling, just like Chase does. I was also focused on following my dream, like Lena is focused on following hers – the same way she always has an invention in the works, I was always writing a story in one of my notebooks.
What is your favorite fairy tale?
“East of the Sun, West of the Moon!” It’s a Norwegian fairy tale like “Beauty and the Beast,” except when the heroine makes a mistake and loses her prince, she goes on a quest to get him back. In my favorite version, she visits each of the four winds to ask them for directions.
I actually couldn’t resist mentioning this fairy tale in Of Giants and Ice. Rory’s mom says that “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” is her favorite fairy tale on page 126.
I’ll have to read “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”! I read that “Of Giants and Ice” is the first book of the “Ever Afters” series. Are you working on a sequel? If so, can you give us a preview?
I am working on a sequel! The Ever Afters 2: Of Witches and Wind comes out on July 23, 2013. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can give you much of a preview yet.
Let’s just say – it’s spring break of Rory’s seventh grade year (about a year after Of Giants and Ice), and Rory’s excited to spend it at EAS with her best friends Lena and Chase. Then the Snow Queen sets a new plot in motion, endangering the whole Ever After School. Rory and Chase must go on another quest, this time to Atlantis, a Hidden continent filled with cranky magical creatures and other terrors. They’ll have to face witches, trolls, long lost villains, and even the Unseelie Fey Court if they ever want to get home safely.
Thanks Ms. Bach! I really enjoyed learning more about you!
I interrupt this interrupted review to bring you a give-away!—
I have a great deal for YOU, you awesome readers! I am giving away ONE SIGNED COPY of “Of Giants and Ice” to a lucky commenter! All you have to do is comment to enter! The contest ends on October 2nd and I will announce the winner on my Wednesday post (Oct. 3rd)! Good luck!
To learn more about Ms. Bach and her books, please click HERE.