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Serendipity Market

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  208 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
When Toby breathes on Mama Inez's bird-shaped invitations, giving them the power to fly, plans for the Serendipity Market begin. Soon, eleven honored guests travel from afar and make their way to the storytellers' tent to share their stories. Each tale proves what Mama Inez knows—that magic is everywhere. Sometimes it shows itself subtly—a ray of sun glinting on a gold coi ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by HarperTeen (first published February 20th 2009)
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Feb 21, 2013 Marilyn rated it it was ok
YA book - although I can't really imagine that many teens would want to read it. I like fairy tale retellings and I love the idea that when the world is off-kilter, storytellers can be summoned from the far corners of the earth to tell their stories and somehow make things right again. However, the frame story of Mama Inez, while poetic, is never fully or convincingly explained. The stories inside the story are uneven. A few are quite fleshed out; some are mere sketches. Many have a bland samene ...more
T.V and Book Addict
Apr 01, 2009 T.V and Book Addict rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
A woman, Mama Inez sets out to invite eleven people to tell their stories in order to set the world in balance. The power of their storytelling will surely set things right. Each story is told in the POV of each of the tellers. The tales are those readers will recognize such as Cinderella but told with a twist. :)
Now, Penny Blubaugh..that girl can write!
Meet the tellers:
A Lizard turned into a man by a fairy godmother in order to take a girl to a ball. The Lizard's story just broke my heart, poor
Apr 11, 2009 Khy rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to review, as it is not a "traditional" book. It's mostly made up of individual stories, but it's not an anthology. There is one plot line that brings all the storytellers together in the first place, but that plot line cannot stand on its own; it needs the stories. There are characters in each individual story, and in the bigger plot that encompasses the stories. Because of that, I really cannot review this book by talking about the character development or the plot.

The main
Oct 02, 2012 Lia rated it it was ok
It's a fun idea but it doesn't fly. The world is out of balance and stories need to be told to bring it back into balance. People are invited and gathered to tell their tales, all of which are aspects of fairy tales and folk tales. They're almost interesting enough to read, but the longer the book went, the more I found myself not caring. The tales dragged as there wasn't any way to see how they were setting the world right. Why create an intriguing frame for the stories and then do nothing with ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Rosa rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Mama Inez knows that the tilt of the world is off and they need the power of stories to set it right. Mama Inez invites 10 people to the market at the end of the world and tell their stories to set the world right.

I found the beginning a little bit confusing; I had to reread parts of it a few times, but once I started meeting the story tellers it all comes together. The story's are familiar fairy tales, folk tales, and nursery rhymes but all with a twist. Sometimes the twist i
Jun 25, 2010 Gemma rated it really liked it
Clever. Instead of just a collection of stories, they're a collection of stories woven into one big story. Well, that's one way to do it, I guess.

The stories were sweet. Almost fractured fairy tales, but lacking the cheesy familiarity that makes the FFTs corny. Well, some had that, but that was because the narrators switched. Each story had a different feel to it, because they were all somebody else's story. I liked the one about the mermaid man, and the other one about the fae boy. Would have
Brandi Wamsley
Mar 23, 2014 Brandi Wamsley rated it liked it
Cute book with a neat twist on fairy tales. The story that links the fairy tales together is pretty flimsy though. It kind of just cuts off at the end.
Willow Curtis
It's all about the stories within the story here. The Serendipity Market, which takes place at the end of the world, acts as the setting for invited storytellers to tell their tales and help bring the world back into balance. Why is the world out of balance and how will this help? We are never told.

Each of the tales given are retold folk or fairy tales. The larger story serves to tie the smaller tales together and gives a purpose for these stories to be told. Unfortunately, the magical market a
Sep 23, 2010 Zoë rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult

At the end of the world there is a place which comes together whenever the world is out of balance and needs a little more magic. Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh is a book I never would have come across, except when I was stalking the Francesca Lia Block section and at the library Blubaugh was beside her and the compact hardcover looked mysterious and appealing. It's a series of retold faerie tales, connected by the fact that the person telling them is a part of the story, all gathered toge
Miz Lizzie
The world has gone off-kilter again so Mama Inez sends out her magical origami bird invitations to folks she has serendipitously assisted in one way or another to come tell their stories at Serendipity Market. There follows a Story Slam with a difference ... the difference being that the true first-person accounts are shared by fairy tale characters, giving very different perspectives on familiar tales. The joy here is that the author has a feel for the oral tale and the art of storytelling. Not ...more
Mary Miller
Mar 24, 2013 Mary Miller rated it liked it
Another book that should have been better. I was enticed to read this by very good reviews and an appealing cover design. But an interesting premise and an charming cover do not make a good book.

The premise of the book is that Mama Inez, a mysterious matriarch with magical powers and a psychic dog Toby, feels that the world is out of balance. This has happened before and she knows what the remedy is--storytelling. So Mama Inez sends out invitations to the four winds for people to come and tell t
Alissa Bach
Nov 23, 2009 Alissa Bach rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone needing the spin of their world corrected
UPDATE: 3/23/14 Ended up re-reading this one. It all started when I remembered a book I'd read some years ago that included a bunch of really unique fairy tale retellings, among them a GLBTQ retelling of the "Princess and the Pea" and a role-reversed take on "The Little Mermaid". But there was more to the story too. A bit of hunting and I finally found it. This book. I re-read and liked it just as much the second time around. My only complaint was that the perspective jumped around a lot (with v ...more
Jul 14, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
I have to admit, I was a little unsure about this book at the beginning, but it turned out to be quite charming and lovely. Serendipity Market is a story about stories. When Mama Inez senses the world is off balance, she sends out invitations to ten individuals to come share their stories and set the world right. Each of the stories is a unique take on a different fairy tale or legend, and each storyteller has his or her own unique voice.

The concept of telling stories to keep the world in balanc
Mary Lee
Jan 09, 2010 Mary Lee rated it really liked it
When the spin of the world is off, it is storytelling that provides the magic to set things right.


This is a book for sophisticated readers, but the literary allusions to folk and fairy tales are delightful. (Not all were completely familiar to me -- I had to look up the text of Wynken, Blynken and Nod.) There are surprising twists to the familiar stories: The prince in The Princess and the Pea is gay and the one who can detect the pea under the stack of mattresses and who becomes his true l
Feb 07, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
This is essentially a collection of short fairy tale retellings brought together by the framework of a series of invitations sent out by Mama Inez to bring together a diverse group to tell their stories and bring the world back into balance. The stories include a version of Cinderella from the point of view of the lizard footman, a gender and species inverted version of the Little Mermaid, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod told as a boat race, a more adult version of Little Red Riding Hood, and another g ...more
Maggie Ciezobka
Who doesn't love a fairy tale? This book takes classic fairy tales and tells us about the other people affected, or gives the classic a twist. I myself enjoyed the book because I like to read fairy tales. It was interesting to see the twists the author choose to put in the novel. It has mystery, romance, humor and of course magic weaved into the book. I believe that my future students could really enjoy this book especially if they like fantasy books. I can even see myself teaching with this bo ...more
Feb 08, 2010 Kathy rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
I wasn't real impressed with this one. In fact, I was tempted not to even read it after the strange beginning. However, it did have one or two stories that I liked. A gropu of people are called together to tell their stories in order to bring balance back to the world. Most of the stories are twists on the classisc fairy tales. For example, instead of the Princess and the Pea, the Prince falls in love with another Prince who finds the pea in the mattresses. Another tale is of the lizard who is t ...more
Kylin Larsson
The world is out of balance and storytellers are needed to put things right again. After receiving an invitation (delivered by a paper bird), ten storytellers converge at Serendipity Market to tell their own stories of love, courage, and the just plain interesting.

Geared toward middle schoolers, I think some of the subject matter is a little old for the eleven to fourteen crowd. I think my favorite story was one where the Cinderella story was reimagined from the point of view of a lizard transfo
Jan 08, 2011 Colleen rated it liked it
I kept wavering between 3 and 4 stars for this book. I liked this book, I really did and I would reccomend it to people who like fairy tales. The stories within the story were true gems, based on rhymes and tales that most of us know and the writing is excellent. However, the overall framework was a little weak. Although we get hints of who Mama Inez is through the teller's stories, that question is never truly answered nor do we get a sense of whether her world relates to our world. I feel like ...more
Jul 17, 2011 Knitme23 rated it it was ok
This was listed on a list of best books for high school classrooms or something, so I got a second-hand copy to check out. . . It's got potential, but somehow the author's tone annoys me--it's too preachy, somehow, working too hard to convince the reader that the world of the Serendipity Market where stories set the world straight is actually real!!! and just like our world!!! While the twists on the fairy tales were entertaining, the book moved slowly. I can't think of a high schooler who'd rea ...more
Apr 20, 2009 David rated it liked it
An enjoyable read filled with universal and classic tales, completely timeless and encompassing all walks of life and culture. Complete with feminist tall-tale heroes, gay princes, and new spins on old stories, I found this book to be a generous celebration of classic storytelling with tales expanding on and offering fresh insight and interpretation to a contemporary world.

This collection of stories shows readers that while there may not always be fairy-tale endings, through compassionate accept
Jul 29, 2009 Allison rated it really liked it
The story is a tale of a community bringing the earth back to a healthy and balanced state through story. Each character tells his or her story and each one is a surprise. I read until the wee hours every night because I couldn't wait to find out what story, from the character's own life, each would share. Some of the stories are told by a pair or a group of characters and the banter between them all made me smile! If you choose to read this novel you will recognize favorite fairy, folk and tall ...more
Jul 14, 2009 Jeannie rated it really liked it
This is a very good little short story collection. The short stories are all retellings from an unusual perspective, of fairy tales, folk tales, or tall tales. All the short stories are contained within the story of a women who lives at the end of the world and keeps the world in balance by collecting and sharing stories. I love that idea! My favorite story was the first one, the story of Cinderella from the perspective of the lizard coachman made human. This would be a good book discussion book ...more
Mar 27, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it
Seminary Coop Bookstore member Penny Blubaugh's debut YA novel.

This novel reads like a collection of fractured fairy tales woven into the fabric of a world much like our own. You find yourself wanting to know more about this world and especially, the main character, Mama Inez. She conducts the orchestra of first person narratives that gives "balance" to the world. A magical and satisfying tale extolling the importance of storytelling. Although marketed and published by Harper Teen, this could e
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2010 Susie rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, although those who do not like folklore might not care for the story. The world has fallen out of balance, and the only way to restore it is to call together storytellers from around the world to tell their stories again. Mama Inez has them come, and one at a time we hear the stories of such diverse folk literature favorites as Wynken, Blinken and Nod and Jack and the Beanstalk (although the reader only gradually becomes aware of the identity of the current storyteller. This ...more
Jul 05, 2009 Clickety rated it it was amazing
I loved, LOVED this book. It's not just a collection; you've got a frame story and each of the stories in the collection is told by a character in the frame story. It's short and fun. It doesn't tie everything up in a neat little package, but I didn't feel like there were dangling plot threads - more that things were just kind of open, if you know what I mean.

Each of the stories touched on familiar tales, but shifted them a bit. This is definitely a set of stories for people who love story.
Mar 15, 2010 Christa rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
The beginning was a little slow, and each time a new character told their story, I had to reference back to the beginning to see how they were introduced. That aside, this book was full of lovely adaptation of various fairytales (like the Princess & the Pea, Jack & the Beanstalk, The Shoemaker's Elves and a few others). The stories were short and easy to get through, and I was able to finish the book in a few sittings.
Aug 18, 2010 Allison rated it really liked it
while it took me a while to get into this book, I absolutely loved it. it reminded me of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in which a frame story is used to get characters together to tell their stories. Serendipity Market does the same thing, only the stories they tell are all re-told fairy tales, like Cinderella and Tam Lin/Thomas the Rhymer and the Elves and the Shoemaker. Very good and almost addicting--it was hard to put it down!
Oct 04, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
A charming first novel. It is a linking and retelling of fairytales in very unique ways, by the characters involved in them. Somehow I didn't understand the plot of the book as a whole; why the fabric of the universe was off and how telling stories could make it okay again, but that's all right. This book was a good read anyway.
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Penny Blubaugh was born in Chicago. She grew up in Colorado and has been writing since age 12. She received her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.She lives with her husband and cat in Chicago.
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