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

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4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,183 Ratings  ·  340 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
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Hardcover, 385 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Aladdin (first published August 18th 2010)
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Jaina Totally! As long as you don't mind a little "fairytale-style" romance (i.e. very clean, nothing more than kissing), it's completely appropriate for…moreTotally! As long as you don't mind a little "fairytale-style" romance (i.e. very clean, nothing more than kissing), it's completely appropriate for younger kids.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Valerie
Nov 05, 2015 Valerie rated it really liked it
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 were 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 of
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Cara
Jun 06, 2014 Cara rated it really liked it
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
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Deborah
Jun 18, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
[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*:

CHARACTERS:
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
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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
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Cassidy
Apr 26, 2013 Cassidy rated it it was amazing
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...
FIVE STARS AAAAALLLL THE WAY!!! Can I rate it TEN stars? Or FIVE HUNDRED?!
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
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Franzi Robinsôn
Aug 27, 2013 Franzi Robinsôn rated it it was amazing
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
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Ashley
Feb 02, 2013 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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
Alex Murphy
Feb 03, 2016 Alex Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mark Baker
Mar 02, 2014 Mark Baker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, middle-grade
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.
Andrew Shumate
This fun little book allowed me to read a whole lot of fairy/folk tales at once. This delightful mash-up is a new take on the idea of a fractured fairy tale.
Jack isn't doing to well at the Princess Rescuing Academy, when a girl wearing a "Punk Princess" T-Shirt falls from the sky Jack's grandpa figures she's the one! The two uncover a nefarious plot involving May's grandmother and with the help of a Prince Charming and the Wolf King, they'll face foes like the Huntsman, Maleficent, and Red Ridin
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Annie
Jun 04, 2013 Annie rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2010 shannon Evans rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 21, 2010 Danyelle Leafty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookshelf
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. :)
Macy Field
New Favorite series of all time
Cass
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
Cathlin
Jun 19, 2013 Cathlin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 4th-or-5th-grade
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
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Treasa
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
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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
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Lily
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,
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Kevin Mcdonough
Feb 16, 2015 Kevin Mcdonough rated it liked it
Good story, though the writing is disappointing for me. The characters keep moving, but we have little sense of where they are or WHO they are. Sarcasm is NOT character.

Speaking of sarcasm -- the main character, May, gives away her sarcasm to a creature as payment, and I was hoping that she would now be more direct and sincere, something the book needs. But, no. Within a page, she starts being sarcastic again, though we're told it's not sarcasm, it's poking fun. Not fair!

The book does fill a ni
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Heather Laird
An amazing first book to a wonderful trilogy. The main characters Jack and May are really awesome, Jack is witty and relatable and May is smart and sarcastic, making it a page-turner because you constantly want to see what challenges they are going to overcome. If you like classic fairy tales you'll LOVE this trilogy no matter what your age :)
Taylor
Nov 15, 2014 Taylor rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! And Just found out that this book is a series. I can't wait to read the other books! (Twice Upon A Time and Once Upon The End) It was soo exciting ! I kept telling myself okay Taylor after this page it is time to stop but I couldn't stop turning the pages and reading! This book is great and - trust me you won't be able to put it down.
Kate Z
Dec 12, 2014 Kate Z rated it really liked it
This is a Will book (I did not read it). I have been searching for books that are challenging, interesting but age-level appropriate. He can (and has) read several non-fiction books like Unbroken, No Easy Day, etc. and while they appeal to his interests, they are good to read (reading non-fiction texts and getting information from them is an important skill), my nine year old does not need to read those things. So I've been on the hunt for age appropriate books.

This book is based on Jack (of bea
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Margareta
Sep 29, 2014 Margareta rated it it was amazing
I love the fantasy involved in the book, bringing in all the fairy tales and putting it in one whole story about 3 kids.
Jennifer
Sep 24, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
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.
Deetz
Nov 01, 2015 Deetz rated it really liked it
I bought this book for my 9 year old who is an avid reader. She finished and said, "you should read this, it is a great book." I tried it and was very pleasantly surprised! It was interesting, not predictable. It is well written enough to be a good read for a child with a high reading level without being inappropriate or having subject matter that she wasn't ready for (a problem we often run into.) We will definitely check out out the rest of the series!
Kathy
I can't believe I've overlooked this book and the rest of Riley's trilogy for so long. I have read a ton of twisted tales, but this one ranks right up there with A Tale Dark & Grim and The Adventures of Alfred K Kropp. I can't wait to discuss it with my Third Thursday kiddos today. Half Upon a Time is a must read for all my 5th grade peeps!
Yapha
Jan 02, 2016 Yapha rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
Jack is no good at rescuing princesses. In fact, he has just failed at the rescuing test AGAIN when May drops (literally drops) out of the sky at his feet. He and his grandfather (also named Jack) assume she must be a princess since she is wearing a t-shirt that says "Punk Princess." The reader will understand that she came from our world, into Jack's fairy tale world, as she tries to get service on her cellphone. May's grandmother has been kidnapped and as she tells Jack the story, he realizes ...more
Trish
"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 who falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says PUNK PRINCESS and still denies she's royalty. In fact, May doesn't even believe in magic. Yeah, what's that about?" (from the book jacket)

In the beginning of this story,
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Jan farnworth
Mar 15, 2015 Jan farnworth rated it liked it
Half Upon a Time is a funny adventure in which James Riley twists the fairytales as we know them. Who is good and who is bad? To know that you need to go on this great adventure with Jack, May and Phillip. Even though it is clearly a book meant for children, it is still an enjoyable read for adults too. I had a fun time reading about clumsy Jack who has the best intentions, but things don't always work out the way he would like them to. May on the other hand drops in from the real world and does ...more
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Who else likes this book? 10 22 Dec 01, 2015 05:41PM  
fantacy,adventure 1 1 Sep 13, 2015 08:58PM  
fantasy 1 2 Sep 06, 2015 10:28AM  
THEY NEED A MOVIE FOR THIS SERIES! 3 10 Jan 09, 2014 03:59PM  
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Other Books in the Series

Half Upon a Time (3 books)
  • Twice Upon a Time (Half Upon a Time, #2)
  • Once Upon the End (Half Upon a Time, #3)

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“These are challenges,” Jack told her. “That’s it. We are going to win. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter if you’re in a fairy tale or here in real life, doing the right thing still counts for something. We’re going to win because we’re good, decent people trying to accomplish something noble.” 3 likes
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