Middle Grade, MMGM, Reading, Review

MMGM: FAIREST OF ALL and IF THE SHOE FITS by Sarah Mlynowski

I love it when agents give away books on Twitter–especially when I win! A few weeks ago I won Tamar Rydzinski’s contest for the first two books in Sarah Mlynowski’s middle grade Whatever After series. Often when I win a book (or books) I will pass them along to my readers, but my three and a half-year-old has already asked me to hold on to these for her. I realize it will be a while before she can read them, but how can I say no to that? In any case, I can still tell you about them!

Once upon a time my brother and I were normal kids. The next minute? The mirror in our basement slurped us up and magically transported us inside Snow White’s fairy tale.

I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.

But hey — we’re heroes! We stopped Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray! Or not. If Snow White doesn’t die, she won’t get to meet her prince. And then she won’t get her happy ending. Oops.

Now it’s up to us to:
– Avoid getting poisoned
– Sneak into a castle
– Fix Snow White’s story

And then, fingers crossed, find our way home.

Here are the five things I loved most about these books.

1. The voice – The main character is ten, so the series skews younger than I usually read, but the voice is spot on. Just read this sample about her brother and you’ll see.

“Plus, it’s my job as an older sister to boss Jonah around. I’m only performing my sisterly duty.

“It’s also my job to make sure he eats his vegetables.

“At dinner, I caught him hiding his broccoli in his sock. So I told on him. Then I felt guilty and gave him half my chocolate cookie.”

2. The premise – I didn’t go looking for these books, but they are exactly the kind of book I would search out. It’s no secret on this blog that I love fairy tales. In the first two books, Abby and Jonah encounter Snow White and Cinderella. I love how they answer a “what if” question. What if Snow White didn’t eat the apple? What if Cinderella’s glass slipper didn’t fit?

3. The pacing – These books are such a quick read. Sure, they’re on the shorter side to begin with, but the pacing itself kept the story moving along at a fast clip. They will definitely keep younger MG readers engaged.

4. The underlying thread – While the series does seem to be somewhat episodic, there is more than one story going on in the background. The questions aren’t all answered at the end, and that keeps me wanting to read on to the next book even though there isn’t a cliffhanger ending.

5. The ending – Speaking of endings, I liked the the way the author twisted the fairy tales. I wonder what the ultimate message will be at the end of the series, because I suspect Abby and Jonah are going to learn something important from their trips into fairy tale lands.

Has anyone else read these books or others by Sarah Mlynowski? I see that she’s quite a prolific author, but I’ve never read her before, so if you have a suggestion on what to read next, I’d appreciate it!

10 thoughts on “MMGM: FAIREST OF ALL and IF THE SHOE FITS by Sarah Mlynowski”

  1. This is a series I have not read yet, but will. Thanks for featuring it, just love the sound of it and know a number of my students who will very interested in checking them out.

  2. I read and really enjoyed Whatever After, but hadn’t realized there was a second. I’m with you, that a retold fairy tale is almost always a win, so thanks for the recommend and happy MMGM!

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