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The Unwritten Girl

The Unwritten Books

by Bow

2 ratings
4.5 of 5
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reviews: 1
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contemporary, books & libraries
list price: $12.99
also available: eBook
published: 2006
publisher: Dundurn Press
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
12 to 15
4 to 8
Reading age:
12 to 15
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Community Reviews and Comments
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Unwritten Girl

James Bow, in his novel The Unwritten Girl, introduces Rosemary Watson from Clarksbury. She is a “nerdy” 12-year-old girl who wears glasses and gets picked on by the school bullies. Then comes the new kid, Peter McAllister, from the big city of Toronto. Peter offers Rosemary a new friendship, which could not have come at a better time as Rosemary soon sets out on a magical quest.

Rosemary is a huge lover of books but has a bad habit. Of any four novels that she picks up, she only ever finishes one. Now, all the characters from those unfinished books want revenge on Rosemary for her abandonment and they kidnap her older brother, Theo. Rosemary and Peter soon find themselves in the Land of Fiction and must pass a series of tests in order to reach the centre of the island. Along the way, Rosemary must learn how to face her fears or risk losing her brother forever.

In James Bow’s newest book, Fathom Five, the sequel to The Unwritten Girl, a new adventure begins. The story focuses around Peter who, after three years, still feels like an outsider in Clarksbury and, when Rosemary rejects his confession of love, is finally convinced that there is no place for him there. Then, a mysterious woman named Fiona appears and tells Peter that he truly does not belong in Clarksbury. He is a Changeling, a Siren who has been cast into the human world. Now, Rosemary must find her way to a dangerous underwater world and rescue Peter before she loses him to the mythical creatures of the deep.

Both The Unwritten Girl and Fathom Five are interesting novels of fantasy. It is obvious that Bow’s writing has matured as he continues to create fantastic stories for children. The beauty of the Unwritten Books series is that they do not have to be read in order. Both books stand alone as separate adventures, partly to accommodate the fact that the characters are pre-teens in The Unwritten Girl, making it suitable for children ages nine to twelve, but full teenagers in Fathom Five, more suitable for older readers. In addition, the books focus on both a male and female character so both boys and girls will be able to relate to, and find equal pleasure in, reading this series.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2007. Vol.30 No.4.

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Rosemary Watson lives in the small town of Clarksbury, where news travels fast and gossip sticks around. Years before, her brother Theo suffered a nervous breakdown, and Rosemary, now entering junior high, is constantly teased about it. She wonders if she might go crazy like her brother, and she feels guilty for not being able to save him. She tries to hide in books, but even there she’s uneasy: she can’t stand to see characters suffer. She’s happiest in the cool world of fact and figures.

Rosemary and Peter - the new kid in school with issues of his own - are thrown together, and soon find themselves on a life-or-death quest to rescue Rosemary’s brother, who has lost himself in a book. With the help of Peter and her guide, faerie shape-shifter Puck, Rosemary must face the storybook perils of the Land of Fiction and learn to open her heart, before it is too late.

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Contributor notes

James Bow's first novel, The Unwritten Girl, introduced readers to the strange and compelling worlds of Rosemary and Peter in 26. A transit enthusiast, urban planner, and freelance journalist, James lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with his wife, poet Erin Noteboom.

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Editorial Reviews

"Both The Unwritten Girl and Fathom Five are interesting novels of fantasy…both boys and girls will be able to relate to, and find equal pleasure in, reading this series."

— Canadian Children's Book News

"…a story full of fairytales, mystery, and adventure."

— Lethbridge Herald
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