Publisher's Note:  

Princess Annie is frustratingly (and luckily) resistant to magic. When her sister Gwen pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie stays awake. Now it's up to Annie to find a prince to kiss her sister and break the spell. But who is her sister's true love? And what about Annie's own happily-ever-after? Annie travels through a fairy tale land filled with characters both familiar and new in this original adventure from the beloved author of The Tales of the Frog Princess.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children's Books

The Wide-Awake Princess

by E. D. Baker

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Overall Review:  

What if Sleeping Beauty had had a sister—a sister who was immune to magic, and so managed to stay awake after the famous curse had put everyone else to sleep? This quirky and engaging idea is the premise behind E. D. Baker's short and sweet novel, The Wide-Awake Princess. I found the book to be easily readable, and a fun way to pass an afternoon. Princess Annie is a spunky, clever heroine who you can't help rooting for.


However, there were many things about The Wide-Awake Princess that didn't quite live up to my expectations. The story starts out very quickly, so much so that the first few chapters felt abrupt and choppy and it took me a bit to feel like I was into the "flow" of the story. Although the cast of characters is large and entertaining, nearly all of them—including the central couple—are fairly stereotypical and never experience any kind of character growth throughout the novel, which makes it harder to connect with them. Additionally, the novel's writing itself felt very flat, sometimes bordering on boring, with very little description or evocative language of any kind. Finally, although the jumble of fairy tales was a fun idea, there were times when it felt like the inclusion of so many different stories became awkward and unnecessary, detracting from the novel's real plot.


Although The Wide-Awake Princess was a fun little read, and one that I think would be enjoyed by young preteens, it probably isn't one that I'd read again or recommend to older or more discerning readers. The Wide-Awake Princess is recommended for young preteens, probably between 10 and 13. (However, do be advised that some of the references in the text might be a little mature for some 9-10 year olds.)

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: ***


Violence/Gore: Throughout the story there are many references to curses, and attempts on the part of several unsavory characters to curse the protagonists. A wicked fairy is turned to a bug and accidentally crushed. In several instances, spells backfire on their casters. A character is kidnapped and held captive for several days (after the initial encounter she never sees her captors, and her captivity itself is very mild and mostly boring).


Sex/Nudity: On several (about ten) occasions, young teen characters flirt, hold hands, and think about being attracted to members of the opposite sex or marrying them. At one point in the story, it is implied that a character who is never present on-screen in the novel has had multiple sexual partners, some of them married men. (No detail of this is given and the implication is fairly subtle, but it might be too mature a theme for some sensitive young readers.)

Mature Subject Matter:  

Magical curses, sibling rivalry.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters drink (it's not clear whether some of them are minors or not), and one character who may still be in his late teens is described as habitually getting drunk.

Reviewed By CindyB
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