Spelled by Betsy SchowSpelled by Betsy Schow

Spelled

byBetsy Schow

Paperback | June 2, 2015

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Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks-like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future. Talk about unhappily ever after.Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse? before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.The Storymakers Series: Spelled (Book 1) Wanted (Book 2) Banished (Book 3)"
Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with non-profits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals. Visit her at betsyschow.com
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Title:SpelledFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.95 inPublished:June 2, 2015Publisher:SourcebooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1492608718

ISBN - 13:9781492608714

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from A little too cute I finished reading this book about 3 days ago and I already feel like I've forgotten and don't care about more than half of what happened in it... so I’ve dropped from 3 to 2 stars. It wasn't a total disaster... so let's start with the good and work up to the not so good. The ok things 1) The absolute best part was not part of the story at all! They are these little snippets of cheeky quotes from well-known fairy tale characters (like Jack or Jill, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, etc.) in biography style or self-help fairy tale books. They are really witty and clever in many cases. For example: "The Rule of Apology: Being royal means never having to say you're sorry." - Thomason's Tips to Ruthless Ruling OR "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” - Gretel from Candy Kills: A True Story 2) There are a couple clever takes on fairy tale characters and stories in Spelled. Betsy Schow has clearly read ALL the stories we all love. She even references a few obscure stories that I really appreciated! 3) It’s witty. If you want to hear crazy witty comebacks or the driest of all sarcasm then you've come to the right place! The meh things 1) The overall storyline was just okay. It wasn't that it was bad; but it just wasn't compelling enough (more on this in bad things below). 2) Our lead gal is a bit naive. And while I can accept that this is meant to be a 'coming of age' novel for her (and that she's never left the castle) it feels a bit too forced for me. The ugh things Here's the long list... 1) This story should be interesting... but instead it's just so boring. I mean sooo boring. From approximately page 75 or so forward I just didn't care anymore. By the end they could have all blown up and I wouldn't have minded. Just nothing to connect me to the characters or their plight. 2) Speaking of personalities... when everyone is the same type of witty, snarky, sarcastic character it gets old, fast. I realize that the prince was perhaps not as bad as the others but he still didn't charm me like I think he should have. 3) The annoying fairy, pet, thing that hangs out with our lead gal is just that, annoying. Give me Toto back please (he certainly talked a lot less and was a lot cuter). 4) Swearing. I know it seems cute to replace god with Grimm and hell with spell; but when your characters use the terms a lot it just gets tiresome. Maybe if Dorthea didn't say "What in the spell" every two chapters I would have been okay; but it's appeal got old fast. 5) An overdose of cuteness. When the writing tone wasn’t sassy it was overly cute and cliche. I’d compare it to the type of eye-roll drama and lame lines you expect when you read paranormal romance. Just because your genre is connected to a cliche does not mean you should write just like that cliche. 6) The writing was sub-par. I had to force myself to pick this book up and pretend to care. I honestly should have DNF'd it; but I kept waiting for the amazingness that so many have raved about. I just didn't find it (except in the chapter quotes). My ultimate pet-peeve 7) It seems that 95% of the fairy tales referenced (before it all gets cursed) are the versions we all know. Belle and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. So how come the story of Oz is all messed up! I never understood how our lead gal, Dorthea, could in anyway be Dorothy or was connected to Dorothy except for her shoe obsession (roll eyes) and the fact that she’s sheltered. And it’s not just her, every Oz character was seemingly turned into someone else and named. Like Schow didn't have to actually develop a new character or come up with unique names if she ripped them all off. As a big Wizard of Oz fan this really bugged me. Although... at least a house did fall on someone. Overall I definitely wouldn't re-read Spelled and I think there's just so much better 'updated' or 'pseudo' fairy tale writing out there for teens. Book 2 sounds like a lot more of the same boring characters and crap so I'm definitely skipping it. However... Book 3 has a different premise (our lead gal) Dorthea ends up in our world... maybe there is some merit there and maybe Schow got better at writing by her third book? I’m not going to hold my breath...
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Entertaining Spelled is like Percy Jackson meets Once Upon a Time, with the base story being that of Dorthea, a princess in the Emerald kindgom and a lot of elements of the Wizard of Oz, but having many other fairytales thrown in. To avoid an arranged marriage, Dorthea makes a wish that breaks the rules of story and magic, and puts her world in chaos. To undo it, she has to go with her unwanted fiance (who has been spelled into a chimaera), and a kitchen girl to get over a rainbow and break the spell. Along the way, she is being chased by the Gray Witch, comes across a Black Crow witch who loves hot pink, fights off some demon puppies, constantly is kidnapped, and drugged, and finally has to decide if she will let the power inside her dictate her life. The story has a lot of parts to get into her, so I'll just leave it at the fact that it is entertaining for the most part, with constant puns about fairytale things, like UPS being United Pegasus Services, there being a munchkin band called The Wrong Direction, and chapters being preceded by 'excerpts' from the memoirs/interviews of various fairytale characters, as well as a Fairytale Survival Guide. It plays with many tropes, but displays others, and has a pact-faced adventure theme to it. However, a lot of the story parts also seem coincidental or just there for the humor. As a middle grade novel, this works pretty well, but on a YA level, it feels like there is not enough. Character development is barely given much concern and the romance also feels underdeveloped. There are also some things rushed in the ending, especially concerning the epilogue because I refuse to believe they forgot such a major part of their quest! Overall, an entertaining start to the series, and a good spin on the fairytale retelling genre, but it had the potential to be much more.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I absolutely loved this new take on the Wizard Of Oz. The imagination that went into this book is amazing.
Date published: 2018-02-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fun read I love fairy tales, and especially re-tellings or new fairy tale type stories. This one is a take on the Wizard of Oz, but not really. It was a fun read. Had some great moments. I love the "quotes" that each chapter began with. I love how modern day things were changed to make them fairy tale things. It's a fun, easy read. Nothing overly spectacular. Nothing overly terrible.
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from QUIRKY I thought it was a pretty interesting story of Oz full of fantasy danger and romance with a modern narrative and a heroin who's full of life. Not a retelling of the classic tale,This is about a princess thrown out of her normal life and having to find her way home with dangers being thrown at her from every corner. There's some romance but I can promise you you won't expect this prince Charming
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Spelled is certainly one of the more innovative fairytale retellings I've read, and it's a quirky read that I think would be particularly enjoyable for younger readers who like fun, fantasy books. As for me, this was one of my less enjoyable reads lately because of what I personally look for in a story; a more complex plot, and a different sense of humour. Reasons to Read: 1. A creative retelling: While Spelled has a number of obvious nods to The Wizard of Oz, it doesn't closely follow the story and Betsy Schow relies on her own imagination to create a whole new story. It's a rather loosely inspired retelling, but I think that's something that clearly works in the book's favour since it felt like a completely new story. And interestingly, Spelled also includes references to many other familiar fairytales. The basic setting is a fairytale world where all of our favourite stories co-exist. And while in some ways this was a fun addition, I wasn't much of a fan of the ways it was incorporated with campy allusions to pop culture; mentions of brands like Hans Christian Louboutin shoes, for example. It's a consistent theme throughout the book, and for those that like these types of jokes, you'll love it. But if you're like me, it detracted from the story since that just isn't my sense of humour and I rolled my eyes at it more often than not. The main character, Dorthea, definitely felt like a younger character to me as she was rather naive and immature. And that's fine - not all characters need to be grown up and mature! There's a clear sense of strong development as she learns important life lessons in the story. But the risk is that a character like this can also grate on the reader, as Dorthea did for me. All in all, Spelled was not the right book for me. I think I've just read too many other retellings and tend to prefer the darker, grittier types. And I can see how this would work for many other readers who appreciate this type of storytelling. ARC received from Raincoast Books for review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2015-09-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Loses its Cuteness Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was really excited about this one. It was a Wizard of Oz retelling and had the promise of an interesting take on a beloved story (of mine). Then I started reading it and it tied together the entirety of the fairytale world. Characters from every story were present and accounted for, which kept the plot fresh and fun ... until it wasn't anymore. This one fizzled and died for me about 35% of the way through. The puns and the other fairytale characters were fun at first but they got to be overused. Then they got to be annoying. It was as if every other sentence was a blatant (but twisted to fit the story) pop culture reference and I was done with it. It is better to do things in moderation and a lot less of these would have been better in my opinion. I didn't like the "punny" curse words either. They were a little much in my books. There was minimal world building, which was a waste in my opinion because with a fairytale retelling that includes every fairytale under the sun, you could have a lot of fun with the world building. But there wasn't much there and what was there was lacking because it was rushed and overlooked. Character development was also minimal and felt as if it was exclusively Dorthea who had it. She was extremely bratty in the beginning but we got to see her change throughout the course of the story. You know, after she created a magical disaster and realized Kato actually loved her. And the fact that she was self aware enough to realize she had been stuck up and didn't want to go back to it was nice but almost too nice. Obviously she should have realized she was stuck up and a brat, but she did a complete 180 in like a couple weeks. Which doesn't happen. People do change but not that quickly -- it takes time. It would have been more realistic and I would have liked her more had she not become "perfect". It was a pretty predictable ending, but that was to be expected since it is a retelling of a story I already know. I do hope some of the world building gets fleshed out in the next one because that would make me really happy. Overall: 3/5. I liked the fresh take and the puns started out fun, but I would have liked more world building.
Date published: 2015-08-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Starts bad, grows quickly to be amazing. For the first 125 pages, I really wanted to DNF this book, I even complained about it to my non-reading friends. The main character was extremely naive, her helper was more of a pain in the bottom than helping and the furry thing that followed them was a nuisance. The story was very cheesy and childish, the whole plot line was silly and I cant believe Dorthea did such a thing and all that happened. Then there were the pop culture/language references in this book, like Wrong Direction's "My Spell's What Makes You Beautiful" for One Direction's "That's what makes you beautiful", and Pix for well, sh*t. I couldn't stand it. But the book had a lot of hype on NetGalley, you can really only tell by how many likes the cover had (I wish they could show how many requests were made too). That was my number one reason for requesting the book. That was also my number one reason for wanting to give the title more of a chance by saying "I'll give it 50 more pages then I can drop it." After that the book got a lot better, (view spoiler) and I wanted to finish the book. Betsy Schow wrote really well, even when I hated reading it, I loved how she wrote beautifully in a voice that definitely suited the main character, Dorthea. I really enjoyed the writing. Schow wrote one hell of a retelling that was so genius, so one of a kind. She created this whole world with all the fairy tales we know with more that Schow created. The world building in this story is definitely on point. One thing that annoyed me about the plot of this retelling, is that it left me with a lot of questions, especially around the wedding. So many questions here. Otherwise the plot was really fine, I couldn't predict anything. It was full of plot twists that leave you surprised and wanting to read more. The only predictable ones were the ones that played a card from the traditional Dorothy in Oz tale, e.g. the Poppies. Through the book Dorthea (whom while writing this review I keep on writing my name, Dorotea,) really develops. She starts as a naive, shoe loving, spoiled and doing without thinking princess into a determined, strong, still shoe loving heroine. Kato grows out of the dirty, sharp tounged guy-who-my-parents-are-making-me-marry prince, into a caring, save-the-world-before-myself love interest who even I would want to marry, fur ball and all. In conclusion, if you enjoy fairy tale retellings with a lot of fantasy, and you also read with a child in your heart then this book is perfect for you. The sequel is on my TBR, but is not one I will be queuing up at the bookstore for.
Date published: 2015-07-20