Half Upon a Time
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Half Upon a Time (Half Upon a Time #1)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,704 ratings  ·  226 reviews

Life’s no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father's been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who'd want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway? Especially one that falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and still denies she's roya...more
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Aladdin (first published August 18th 2010)
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Mock Newbery 2010/2011
32nd out of 74 books — 189 voters
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Based on Fairy tales
16th out of 114 books — 46 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 18, 2014 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: Cara
I just found this out (from another book) that there are a lot of Jacks in fairy tales. If someone where to ask you a trivia question like this "What was the name of the boy who went to seek his fortune in the fairy tale..." Jack should be your answer.

So this Jack is having trouble with princess rescue training, he failed. But then what do you know, a real princess falls out of the sky. She needs help and so an adventure is set in place. With all number of creatures and fairy tales coming out o...more
Jun 06, 2014 Cara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fairy tale fanatics
Jack has a bit of a bad reputation. His dad is/was a theif and his only chance of making a name for himself is by saving a princess. Apparently though this is not his forte, and besides there really isn't that many princesses just ready and available for rescue.

After another dismal day of training it just so happens a princess literally falls from the sky. This particular princess has a shirt that says Punk Princess, but keeps saying over and over again that she isn't. Obviously she's in denial...more
[To start with I have never really written a review before, so this is my first. I'd first like to apologize for any mistakes or childish comments, if there are any, and I know there are.]

But of course this is a book review so about the book *in my opinion*:

I just have to say that I just adored all of the characters in the book. Every single one of them even the least important ones. The characters were very lively and their dialogue suits them perfectly.
JACK: Jack is my number one fa...more
Brenna H.
4.5 stars.

This was a funny mixed-up fairytale retelling full of humor and adventure and magical objects and fairytale creatures and lost sarcasm. (A sad thing, indeed, that.) The tone of the book is lighthearted and funny and, well, simply put, I loved it. :)

My biggest complaint is how open-ended it was. It left so many questions unanswered, so many mysteries unsolved. *sigh* But according to the author's website, the sequel is going to be published in April, '12, and it involves mermen and pira...more
Franzi Robinsôn
I chose this book because i was in the Auckland library and i really like fantasy and drama kind of books. this book had a beanstalk on it so i assumed it was like a fairy tale book. i didn't even bother reading the blurb, i just took it home. I did really like it, it was very modern and the language was very "in my time" and it was very, very funny. I enjoyed it and its actually a trilogy so i will most likely read all the other books.

The book is about a young boy named Jack who is nagged my h...more
Alex Murphy
This book was super amazing and cute. I loved it, totally fun and funny. I am a little sad that I don't own this book, and will eventually have to rectify that.

Jack is a boy who is failing at his hero training classes, he just doesn't see the point as there aren't that many princesses left. Until one wearing a punk princesses shirt falls into his arms, well a foot away from his arms. May is from our world but has ties that she doesn't quite understand to Jack's fairytale land.

Going on an quest...more
Mark Baker
Another alternative fairytale story with the characters we know and love at war with each other. This time, a reluctant Jack is trying to help a strang girl from our world find and rescue her grandmother. The book moved quickly and the ending left me anxious to get my hands on the sequel. Highly recommended.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
He didn't like to do such thing as saving a princess. He just didn't like to do it. But, after he saw a girl who fell from weird hole, he had started to do an adventure, thinking she is SNOW WHITE's grand dauther... But was it true or not?
shannon Evans
This is such a fun book - I can't wait for the rest of the series!!! It's a modern, witty take on classic fairy tale life. Fun adventures, great for both teen and adult readers - I'm getting it for all my nephews!!
Danyelle Leafty
Can't wait for part two! I loved the twist at the end, and looking back on all of the hints I'd had early on without realizing it. :)
This is a fun fairy tale mashup disappointing only because the author failed to wrap up any of the story lines. You won't find out how Prince Phillip finds his Sleeping Beauty or why there is a little fairy in the Princess's hair. You won't learn who the Princess really is or see the Wicked Queen defeated. You won't see Jack discover his inner hero or find out the identity of his mysterious mentor. The book just ends with everything unfinished. Possibly the author thinks he is being clever but i...more
Super clever, unique, and funny! I loved this new combination of fractured fairy tales and know my students will to!

This one drops you right into the story with Jack on a mission to rescue a princess (well, a boy dressed as a princess...automatically you can see where this humor leads). We quickly learn that Jack (son the Jack you may have heard about..you know the one who climbed the beanstalk and stole from giants) is quite the clutz and is not so keen on rescuing royalty...which of course on...more
Jack is just not cut out to be a hero. But with a criminal for a father (you know, the one who climbed a beanstalk and stole a harp and golden goose from a giant), what can you expect? So his hopes for marrying a princess are pretty slim... until a girl and her problems fall (literally) into his arms. Thus begins a crazy adventure as Jack, May (the girl), and a prince named Phillip try to rescue May's captured grandmother in this fairy tale world.

Fun! I love that Riley took all these well-known...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
James Riley does a brilliant job at throwing in numerous beloved fairy tales and twisting them into an engaging, fast paced plot that both middle grade and adult readers will enjoy. There's action, there's adventure, betrayal and of course plenty of sarcasm and wit that make this a one of kind story.

What's not to enjoy about Jack, the story's main character who's failed his training in how to save princess. He's goofy, funny, clumsy and really just a fun character to get to know. He's someone wh...more
Apr 26, 2013 Cassidy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Um... Everyone, obviously!
Oh... My... Gosh...
Still really sort of blown away by this book... I don't really know what to say...
Such a GREAT BOOK, and considering those seem to be hard to find sometimes... BONUS!
I guess I'll start with...
Characters: May... Is sarcastic, as is said many times over in the book. I always love a good I-CAN-DO-IT-MYSELF Sarcastic girl hero in a story, and she was everything I praise. I LOVE HER.
Jack: Was perfect. All aro...more
Half Upon a Time is awesome! It's a silly and fun read with a HUGE plot twist at the end! Don't let my 3 star rating discourage you from reading this adventurous story!

The story flowed a good quick pace, yet nothing was rushed. There's lots of different events that take place and all were enjoyable to read about. ...I reeeally hated May though, and I think the story would have been way better if she wasn't there with her snarky and rude comments while she looks down on everyone... Sadly enough,...more
I really wanted to like this......really I did. Looking back on it it definely wasn't the best book I've ever read. This book would be awesome as a movie. You don't have to change anything about it.....the script is all there. The thing is I really didn't want a movie, I wanted a book. I was really excited to read this because I've discovered I like reading "fairy tale" kind of books. Jack and the beanstalk is a pretty well known fairy tale story so I was excpecting something that was different...more
Really cute fairy tale retelling from a boy's perspective. Jack (son of Jack of "Jack and the Beanstalk" fame) is 14 and his grandfather is insistent that he find a princess to rescue. Evenually one falls out of the sky (literally) and she turns out to be the grand-daughter of the long-missing Snow White. Jack and May embark on a crazy journey to find Snow White, meeting up with a lot of other fairy tale folk along the way. Fun with lots of twists, turns and adventure. Perfect for the tweens.
A very fun fairytale mashup, though it loat its way a bit at the end with the wholly telegraphed twist, and never really resolved much... Also May was a disappointingly weak character and should have been given more to do... Intriguing enough for a sequel...
Mary Margaret
I read this aloud and had my whole family in stitches of laughter and begging for more! Bravo James.
Sarah Capps
I really enjoyed this adventure book for young readers. Riley takes the "next generation" of fairy tales and matches them up with the originals for a fun, new story.
Joanne Broska
Goodreads win and enjoyed this book0- Just fun reading- Once upon a time stories ( they are all there) with different twist. Looking forward to the next installment
This book turned out to be a lot more complex than I originally thought. Needless to say, it was really good.
well that was unexpected.
Poor Jack. He is not having a good day. He failed his princess rescuing training, but who cares because there aren't a lot of princesses anyway and royalty is a pain. His father has disappeared (Jack of Jack and the beanstalk). And he has to listen to his grandfather go on about all his adventures. Then a princess falls from the sky...a Punk Princess to be exact (it says so on her shirt). May isn't like a normal princess, but her grandmother has been kidnapped and they must go on a guest to find...more
3.5 stars

What a darling little book Half Upon a Time was! It was such a fun fairy tale retelling and I loved the blending of so many different fairy tales to create the adventure May and Jack go on!

The story was so much fun to get caught up in! May and Jack have so much witty banter and clever dialogue that was a joy to read. I loved seeing where their story would end up next and what fairy tale would be woven into the story next. My one complaint about Half Upon a Time is the pacing - this bo...more
I won this book from Goodreads back in October, but didn't have a chance to start reading it until later, when I had the time to devote my attention to it. Though I hated having to wait, I'm glad I did, so I could give it my full attention.

I won't go into hyperbole and say it was the best book I've ever read. There are a few issues I have with it, but nothing that detracted (too much) from the enjoyment I got reading it. It's a fun, clever story, with interesting characters. Yes, Jack and May's...more
Oh how much fun this was to read – even for an adult! Many of the great fairy tales that we know and love come to life in a slightly fractured way from what we previously knew. This is not a retelling of any of those tales – those things either happened in the past or are rumors – but take these characters above and beyond and to a new life. Their actions certainly feel true to their original incarnations.

This would be a great read for both boys and girls and is entirely appropriate for the age...more
Albert Riehle
Half Upon a Time is a great idea poorly executed. The characters are narrowly drawn and never reach past the most basic necessities of their archetypes. The plot has potential but is drawn in a way so intent upon foreshadowing what's to come that it's plainly evident and makes the big reveal extremely anticlimactic. Add it all up with the fact that the book lacks a proper ending, which is a glorified "to be continued" and you have the ingredients for a book not worth reading.

It's a shame becaus...more
This book is about a boy named Jack who met a girl, May, one day. It turns out that the girl was a princess that was in trouble because her grandmother, Snow White, was kidnapped! So Jack decided to help May. On the way to the snow castle( that's where Snow White is ), they met Phillip, a prince. So the three of them sets off to the find the snow castle while facing many obstacles along the way. Soon, Jack and May unravel a very terrible truth.

The reason I picked this book up is because I thou...more
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Who else likes this book? 9 18 Sep 08, 2014 03:01AM  
THEY NEED A MOVIE FOR THIS SERIES! 3 7 Jan 09, 2014 03:59PM  
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