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The World Above (Once Upon a Time #19)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,248 ratings  ·  266 reviews
Gen and her twin brother, Jack, were raised with their mother's tales of life in the World Above. Gen is skeptical, but adventurous Jack believes the stories--and trades the family cow for magical beans. Their mother rejoices, knowing they can finally return to their royal home.

When Jack plants the beans and climbs the enchanted stalk, he is captured by the tyrant who now
Paperback, 175 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Simon Pulse (first published June 4th 2010)
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Once Upon a Time Series
16th out of 21 books — 249 voters
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The Best Fairytales and Retellings
237th out of 1,719 books — 7,208 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jack and the Beanstalk with a girl, huh? Is what I thought when I first heard about this retelling. However, it worked nicely into this book. Jack has a twin sister and her name is Gen and she helps quite a bit in the success of her brother.

I like it that Gen isn't one of those who seek out adventure. A reluctant heroine if you will. While Gen is practical and dependable Jack is spontaneous and erratic. So when it is Jack who brings home the magic beans he is more than ready to climb up to the
Oct 07, 2010 Cara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Shelves: 2010, fantasy, fairy-tales
Long sigh... What can I say? Well that this is one of my new favorites in the series. I was wondering how they were gonna pull this one off because the protagonist are always females and Jack and the Beanstalk is known to have a male lead. As always the series put their twist on it so we could see the "real" story.

Gen and Jack are twins and live on a farm with their mother trying to scrape by. Gen is the pratical twin and Jack is the adventuresome one. The other big difference between the tw
Anne Osterlund
Were you aware that Jack, from Jack and the Beanstalk, had a twin sister named Gen? Or that the tears their mother cried when Jack traded their cow for magic beans were actually tears of joy? Or that she was an exiled Duchess from the World Above. And that Gen--the practical twin--is actually the heir to that magical realm?

I liked the practical twin sister spin on this story. And that, for once, I didn't totally despise Jack.

Un lindo libro, sencillo y entretenido.

Me gustó porque, si bien es corto, las cosas pasan rápido y no hay lugar para que se profundice en nada, está bien construido, así que todo es creíble -tan creíble como puede ser un cuento de hadas- y tiene de todo, magia, aventura, un montón de acción, personajes queribles, sangre y amor. Todo en su medida justa.

También me gustó que a pesar de su sencillez, lograra emocionarme, hacerme reír, asustar y ponerme nerviosa montones de veces
Angela (:
As with many of Dokey's other retellings, The World Above is enjoyable but too short. I'm familiar with very few fairy tales, this being one of them. All I ever knew was Jack had a bean, he planted it, and *poof*, a beanstalk. What happens after that, I don't have a clue. That said, there wasn't anything I could expected out of the story.

I found the first few pages to be somewhat confusing. I had to re-read it several times to understand who was who. I'm slow on catching on. I felt that some par
After being disappointed with the last Cameron Dokey book I read, I was glad that this book was much better! The story was neat in that it retold the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk AND Robin Hood together. I really liked that! Overall, the story was interesting and a good read.
Kamryn Hicks
I loved this book! This was one of my favorite books in the ""Once Upon a Time" is Timeless" series. You should defiantly read this book if you like adventure, romance, and a good ending!
Joanne♥~Bookworm Extraordinaire
This was a cute quick retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk.

This book differs from the fairytale in that Jack is not the main character and not the one who saves the day. His twin sister Gen, is the main character. She is practical, quick thinking and a planner; a total opposite of her brother Jack who is impulsive and often finds himself in trouble.

Gen and Jack grew up on their mother's tales of her life in the world above where she was basically royalty. Gen doesn't really believe her mom's sto
Yes, I think I have probably read every book in this series. I just really like retold fairy tales (that might explain my gazillion-year obsession with writing a retold Beauty and the Beast) (which, by the way, is going reasonably well!).
This one was middling for me.

This is what I liked: The deeper version of the story. Here's what I remember about the original: Jack makes a stupid bargain for beans that probably aren't magical. By tremendous luck, they are. Then he goes up a beanstalk, steals
Gen is a wonderfully upbeat heroine who doesn't allow her skepticism get in the way of accomplishing what needs to be done. She's practical and blessedly admits when she is wrong, rather than hanging on to denial for the entire duration of the story. The contrast between her and her twin brother add much to the believability of their relationship, and gives them both a very distinct personality.

Adding onto this is the combination of a retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Robin Hood," which
A fun read. "The world Above" is an imaginative and fresh retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. Dokey proves herself a clever writer with the rearrangement of the old tale to accommodate a spunky, if not reluctant, heroine and two different worlds--one 'Above', and one 'Below'. Like with many fairy tales, the true love happens with a snap of the finger, unexpected heroes and heroines nobly rise to the occasion, and the villain is quick to admit his mistakes and accept defeat when cornered. Noneth ...more

I enjoyed reading this. The way the author interwove Jack and the Beanstalk with Robin Hood was clever. The characters were believable, and each new page kept you wanting to read more. Gen was a wonderful narrator, and I enjoyed seeing things from her point of view. Of course, Jack and the Beanstalk has long been one of my favorite fairy tales, yet it has faded greatly in the popularity of other fairy tales such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, so t
The World Above was a cute and creative blend of Robin Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Jack's practical and no-nonsense twin sister, Gen, who is in desperate need of an adventure. Being a fairy-tale retelling, there was magic (pertaining to the beanstalk itself) and everything is very unrealistic, and - being only 175 pages long- extremely short and to the point; not much detail (the plot was really well thought out, despite that!). I did enjoy it while it lasted and appreciated that i ...more
LPL Staff Reviews
Jun 14, 2015 LPL Staff Reviews rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings; Fantasy fans
This is the last book in the Once Upon a Time series, a series of fairytale retellings written by several different authors. Every book in the series, including this one, is a quick read that stands on its own. While not the most original novel or even my favorite in the series, those are reserved for Snow by Tracy Lynn and Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie, The World Above is an enjoyable read with a few unique twists of its own.

After reading so many of the Once Upon a Time novels, I admit to getti
Judith P.
So I liked the story, but to start off I'd like to say:

The prologue through chapter nine was amazing.

Chapter thirteen through the Epilogue was amazing.

But I found chapter ten through twelve boring.

Now that I've said that I can get on with it. As for characters, I loved Jack's personality and I have nothing really against Gen. I think the idea of Gen being skeptical is a really interesting idea, but I was not able to "know" Her. I feel that the characters need to feel real to you and you need to
I really liked this book, first because it's actually two retellings under the guise of being one. Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood.

But the problem with this--all of the series, really--is that they're too short. The characters aren't fully developed (well, Gen is, but Robin isn't, for example.) The relationships, also, are underdeveloped.

Still, I like the series. They're nice light reading. :)
This was my favorite of the Once Upon a Time series so far! I think it helped that Jack and the Beanstalk hasn't really been re-done all that often, so there weren't as many other stories to compare this one too. Also, any time you bring in Robin Hood tales, I'm all in! The interweaving of these two was incredibly interesting and satisfying, and the story twists intriguing - the addition of a twin sister Gen for Jack, sibling giants who were helpful rather than a married couple, a family rift ex ...more
This was a fun to read great retelling! Who knew Jack had such a cool sister! One of my favorites in the Once Upon A Time set. Read to my girls and they loved it. I love the added Robin Hood element. such a fun story to read aloud.
Mandy Hansen
Great, short, satisfying read!

I loved the creativity of this adaptation of 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. The original fairy tale is pretty blah to me, so I was pleased to find this book twisting it into an exciting and imaginative plot. Didn't feel too fluffy or juvenile, unlike some other books in this series.

Main characters were very relatable, and very realistic. Great job done of showing family dynamics and how families may bicker, but they love each other deeply no matter what.

Love stories in t
Erica (daydreamer)
I love this book. It was cute and magical, and had a nice, little romance. I loved all the characters. I really liked Robin, he was so confident and kind, and had a sense of humor. The World Above is one of my new favorite Once Upon A Time books.
Jack and the Beanstalk mixed with Robin Hood. What's not to like?
First off, I did think the story was a bit short as the book was only 175 pages. While I did love the adventure aspect, I felt that before Gen went up the beanstalk, things dragged out a bit too much and after Gen went up, Dokey was trying to stay within a page limit or something because everything felt really crammed. Let me explain:

For one, I would have loved to see Gen and Robin fall in love. Everything seemed to just happen and there wasn't a particular reason. I was a bit bothered by this b
Melody McBride
I first started reading the Once Upon A Time series when my 5-year-old was a baby. They're obviously based on fairy tales, and on that front are just a little bit on the unbelievable side. The series has several authors, but Cameron Dokey's contributions have always been my favorite.

The World Above is based on Jack and the Beanstock, but as with all of the stories in the series, there's a twist in the story; this book's twist is that it takes place from Jack's twin sister's point of view. Also,
Today’s post is on The World Above by Cameron Dokey. It is part of the “Once Upon A Time” series and is 175 pages long. It is published by Simon Pulse. The cover has a pretty young woman standing by and looking at a beanstalk. The intended reader is young adult or someone who likes fairy tales. The story is told from Gen’s point of view. There is no sex, no violence, and no language in this book but it is written for a young adult reader in mind. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book
Janus Vielle (The Blair Book Project)
When I first saw the World Above [seeing a girl on the cover], which was described as a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” I thought the retelling was going to go something like this: Jack is really a girl who disguised herself as a boy then went up a beanstalk. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong; my bad. Turns out the World Above is actually a retelling in which Gen, our main character, is the twin sister of Jack. And this is supposedly the true story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Now let me give
Biased because Cameron Dokey is my preferred author in this series. I'm glad the library (finally) purchased this book. I'm not too keen on the different type of female-figure-centered covers since I prefer Kinuko Y. Craft's covers, but eh, this review should be about the story, right?

The spin Dokey puts on for having a female figure into Jack and the Beanstalk is for Jack to have a not-mentioned twin sister. Is the somewhat dichomotous twin setting, Jack is the fantastical impulsive believer, a
So Cute! and simple! I loved it. it is a younger level like 4th or 5th grade but diffinently intertaining. this is a retelling of Jack and the beanstalk from his twin sister Gen's point of veiw. i never really found the story of Jack and the Bean stalk all that interesting and when i picked up this book i was honestly wondering how you could right a whole book out of something like that! I was surprised and deffinently pleased. Jack and Gen's mother was the wife of a duke and had to run away whe ...more
I realized going into this that The World Above is intended to be a light, fluffy read for young teens. The entire Once Upon A Time series is all made up of fairy tale books retold in a literary manner within a relatively sanitary and safe fairy tale world. Even knowing all this I still took issue with the book because, well, it’s boring.

In The World Above Jack has a twin sister who is the main character of the book. All of the Once Upon A Time books have a female protagonist. Following things f
I was wondering what Dokey would do with "Jack and the Beanstalk" since the story has a male protagonist and a giant. I've gotta say, she really outdid herself in retelling it.

Sixteen-year-old Gen lives with her twin brother Jack and her mother in what her mother calls "The World Below". Throughout her childhood, Gen's mother told her and her brother about how she used to live in "The World Above", and how she fell in love with the Duke Roland des Jardins and married him. But before she discover
Gen and her twin brother Jack have always lived with their mother on a small farm struggling just to get by. They love each other and their mother always keeps them entertained with stories of the land above--where she and her father ruled a magical kingdom until one day he was overthrown and their mother had to climb down a beanstalk to save herself and her unborn children. When the family is in financial trouble once again, their mother decides that Jack must go and sell their last cow. Jack c ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Dec 21, 2014 09:51AM  
Is this the last "Once Upon A Time"? 6 46 Dec 29, 2011 07:17PM  
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Cameron Dokey is an American author living in Seattle, Washington. She has a collection of over 50 old sci-fi and horror films. Cameron was born in the Central Valley of California. Cameron grew up reading classical literature and mythology, perhaps due to her father, Richard, being a teacher of Philosophy, Creative Writing, and Western Literature.

Cameron has one husband and three cats, and is th
More about Cameron Dokey...

Other Books in the Series

Once Upon a Time (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of the Arabian Nights
  • Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid
  • Scarlet Moon: A Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood
  • Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of The Magic Flute
  • Spirited
  • The Night Dance : A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • Golden
  • Water Song: A Retelling of "The Frog Prince" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)
The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of the Arabian Nights Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales) Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty Golden Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" (Once Upon a Time Fairytales)

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“I'm sorry I never really believed," I said. "Not the way Jack did."

"It doesn't make any difference," my mother replied. Her eyes focused on the beanstalk for a moment, then returned to mine. "You believe now. Be safe and smart up there, my Gen. Be yourself."

Before I could answer, my mother turned away and walked quickly toward the house. I turned to face the beanstalk.

There is no going back now, I thought.

For better or worse, there was only going forward. There was only going up. Seizing the trunk of the beanstalk with both hands, I pushed off from the World Below and began to climb.”
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