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

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  4,351 Ratings  ·  447 Reviews
Jack lives in a fantasy world. Really. He's the son of the infamous Jack who stole the magic beans from the giant, and he's working hard to restore his family's reputation. He finds the perfect opportunity when a "princess" lands in front of him, apparently from the land of Punk, as her Punk Princess sweatshirt implies. May is from our world, and she's utterly confused to ...more
ebook, 400 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)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Hannah Rose Yes, it becomes even more so as you get in to the series. The suspense is completely worth it.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 27, 2011 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2010 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone nad evyone who loves fanatsy books!
[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
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
Feb 21, 2013 Cassidy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 19, 2017 Mina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
action-packed with plenty of twists and turns. I just want to hug all the characters and make all of their troubles go away, seriously, they're so funny and awesome!
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
Jacob Carroll
Sep 30, 2016 Jacob Carroll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2013 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidsbooks, inventory
This is one of those books that if you are in a reading funk, or have reader's block, or have read a slew of bad books all at once will reawaken your love of reading and encourage you to pick up another book. A great twist on a whole bunch of fairy tales, mostly Jack and the Beanstalk with some Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and so much more all rolled up into a magical land where May, a girl from our world lands. She is wearing a shirt that says Punk Princess, so obviously everyo ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Cathlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Feb 02, 2013 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Baker
May 31, 2011 Mark Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 04, 2013 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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!!
Macy Field
New Favorite series of all time
Danyelle Leafty
Oct 01, 2010 Danyelle Leafty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. :)
Laura (bbliophile)
This was... not as good as I expected. The story was cute, but a lot of things just didn't add up, and it's quite forgetable overall.
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
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
Sharon Bhojwani
Jan 07, 2016 Sharon Bhojwani rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Fairytales retelling
Plot: Story starts off with Jack meeting May and that they are going to rescue May's Grandmother, Snow White. Along the adventure, we met with a number of well known fairytales characters such as Red hood, Big bad wolf, the huntsman, giants, fairies and others.

The main flaw with the book was that the MCs are flat, two dimensional characters.
May: She is a young girl from our world dropped into the fairytale world. Her attitude is horrible, she is rude and always has something sarcastic to say (t
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
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,
Kyla E.
Jan 23, 2017 Kyla E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a kid named Jack, who wants absolutely NOTHING to do with royalty. One day, he failed his princess test and got into an argument with his grandpa. He argues that if he wants to find an adventure than adventure itself can find him first, then he proceeds to stick out his arms. Then May, a princess who is lost and confused, falls from the sky. This results in Jack and May to go on an adventure to find her grandmother, and beat the evil queen.

I like how this book takes character
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
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amelia Talbot
Sep 21, 2016 Amelia Talbot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This plot is so cool. I love the adventure how they are everywhere trying to save people and the problems that happen. The characters make the parts so funny, questioning, intense and they just fit the action so well. I love how the fairy tales start out like most people know then there is a random twist IT IS SO FUNNY.

I think Jack changes the most because at first he is KINDA grumpy like I hate this I hate that. But in the end he had so much fun or adventure that it is more like That is OK I gu
Kate Z
Dec 12, 2014 Kate Z rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin Mcdonough
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
Kaylen Kepler
Jan 19, 2017 Kaylen Kepler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
A really fun and humorous book that will make you smile for sure! A crazy adventure that will keep you reading until four in the morning. I literally couldn't put this book down. It was pretty original, which is hard to do when you're writing a fairy-tale with a twist. I did have some trouble imagining it. Didn't really give a good description. But it's probably just me. It kept me reading, which is pretty good for me because I usually don't end up finishing a lot of books. All in all, it was a ...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.
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Half Upon a Time (Half Upon a Time #1) by James Riley - Starting April 15th 2016 10 11 May 03, 2016 08:47PM  
Who else likes this book? 9 23 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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“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.” 12 likes
“He realized that it wouldn’t be much longer before the trees picked themselves up and migrated to the warmer south, leaving their dead, leafless brothers behind.” 1 likes
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