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The World Above: A Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood (Once Upon a Time #19)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,816 Ratings  ·  299 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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Cassandra Kind of. As in, one character definitely does, and the mc does a bit, but she's also aware that it's insta-love.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 25, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: retellings, fantasy
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
Mar 14, 2010 Cara rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Shelves: fantasy, 2010, 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
Sep 18, 2010 Anne Osterlund rated it liked it
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.
Dec 06, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
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.
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
Apr 23, 2013 Jerome rated it really liked it
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
Dec 20, 2011 Mara rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2013 Meli rated it really liked it

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
Apr 22, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
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
Jan 03, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
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. :)
Kamryn Hicks
Feb 19, 2013 Kamryn Hicks rated it it was amazing
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!
Mary Bronson
I thought this book was very good. I really enjoyed reading it. I first started reading the Once Upon a Time Timeless series where each book is a retelling of a different fairy tale classic, but with a twist on it. I thought it was interesting how Cameron Dokey decided to combine both Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood. I also like how the main character was a girl whose twin brother was Jack and she was the one who was older. Gen was smart, independent and practical. I would like to think th ...more
Anna Marie
Nov 27, 2013 Anna Marie rated it it was ok
My daughter LOVED this book, and gave it to me with such excitement... I hate to give it two stars, quite honestly. But... I have to be honest. Cameron Dokey is not my favorite author, and I didn't think this was a stellar book.

It's the re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk, except that it's Jack and his twin sister (Gen) and the handful of beanstalks. Yes, it has the goose that lays golden eggs, but Dokey did *NOTHING* with it. Yes, it has the bag of money, but Dokey does *NOTHING* with that, ei
Jun 24, 2012 Jeanna rated it liked it
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
LPL Staff Reviews
Jun 14, 2015 LPL Staff Reviews rated it really liked it
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

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
Feb 06, 2015 Alice rated it liked it
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
Hope N
Jan 17, 2016 Hope N rated it it was ok
Shelves: fairy-tales
A retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk with a female protagonist and elements of Robin Hood thrown in. I'm clearly not the target audience for the book. I guess it's supposed to be easy and quick to read and it is. But it's also boring, simplistic, predictable and doesn't really add much of interest to the original tales. I wasn't emotionally invested enough to hate it but I would have preferred to spend my time reading something else.
Kaitlyn  Saunders
Apr 16, 2015 Kaitlyn Saunders rated it it was ok
This book made me really sad. Not because the story was actually a downer. Because it had potential to be a decent fantasy story. Cutsie, but decent. Unfortunately, it wasn't decent. The characters were very bland. Every obstacle that they came across fell away easily. Everything was tied up in a bow. I liked that they incorporated several fairy tales, but the grammar and storyline errors were too much of a turn off. At least it was short and easy and not super dark, I guess.
Apr 27, 2011 Rae rated it did not like it
This was the first book of this series that I really didn't enjoy. I thought the two siblings were incredibly flat (they keep having to state their personality traits because they're not otherwise observable), and the story was just plain boring. No chemistry between the girl and her love interest, and all the other characters are just as forgettable as the brother and sister. Disappointing.
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.
April Sarah
Jan 06, 2015 April Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, retellings
Jack and the bean stock and a bit of Robin Hood thrown in. It was a quick entertaining read. Nothing extremely ground breaking or earth shattering but sweet and great if you want a fairy tale fix with one of the lesser done stories.
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.
Aug 31, 2010 Cara rated it really liked it
Jack and the Beanstalk mixed with Robin Hood. What's not to like?
Kristen Averett
Nov 06, 2016 Kristen Averett rated it really liked it
Shelves: engl-420
A twist between Jack and the Beanstock and Robin Hood, but with a twin sister who is five minutes older and wiser than her brother Jack, they go to the world above to reclaim their lost home from Robin's father. A light hearted tale for any age.
Jan 30, 2011 Bitsy rated it it was ok
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
Jamie Dacyczyn
2016 Reading Challenge: A book by an author that I previously didn't like (still don't).

*sigh* What a load of rubbish. If I was in middle school, perhaps, and inexperienced in fairy tale retellings, this one might have kept me entertained....but nowadays I see right through the thin. thin plot, the cringe-worthy writing, and the awful ending. *another sigh*

First, the good: this was a mashup between Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood. Hm, interesting idea. So, the idea was good, even if the ex
Lydia Rose
Oct 23, 2013 Lydia Rose rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
I loved it. It's a mix between robin hood, and Jack and the bean stalk.

Gen is a practical girl, and a great planer. Her twin brother, Jack, has his head in the clouds a lot. Their mother, Celine, is poor, and their dad is dead.

As a bed time story, Celine tells a story about the World Above, and Jack loves it. To Gen, it's just a story. Until Jack heads to town to sell the cow, and comes back way to early. When he shows Gen the beans, she's mad, but Celine starts crying. Her tears are happy and
Mar 23, 2010 Lexie rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-owned-read
I'll freely admit I have no love for the original Jack and the Beanstalk tale. It bothered me that Jack could be so thoughtless when he knew so much was at stake. Plus I felt it taught a bad moral lesson; do irresponsible things and things turn out better! However I'm a big fan of the Simon and Schuster line of "Once Upon a Time" novels, and Cameron Dokey as an author in specific, so I was content to read this novel.

I wouldn't say The World Above blew me away, or made me rethink how I felt abou
Janus Vielle the Erudite Artist
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
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Dec 21, 2014 09:51AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The World Above 1 2 Feb 09, 2012 01:12PM  
Is this the last "Once Upon A Time"? 6 47 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 (Once Upon a Time #1)
  • Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty (Once Upon A Time, #2)
  • Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Once Upon A Time, #3)
  • Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid (Once Upon A Time, #4)
  • Scarlet Moon: A Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood (Once Upon A Time, #5)
  • Sunlight and Shadow: A Retelling of The Magic Flute (Once Upon A Time, #6)
  • Spirited:  A Retelling of The Last of the Mohicans and Beauty and the Beast (Once Upon A Time, #7)
  • The Night Dance:  A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Once Upon A Time, #8)
  • Golden:  A Retelling of Rapunzel (Once Upon A Time, #9)
  • Water Song: A Retelling of The Frog Prince (Once Upon a Time, #10)

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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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