Title: Saving Fable (Talespinners #1)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
No. of pages: Hardcover, 384
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Date Read: August 31, 2019
Side characters can be heroes too!
Indira has been a character-in-waiting her entire life. So she can’t believe her luck when she’s finally chosen to travel to Fable and study at the renowned Protagonist Preparatory, a school known for producing the best heroes.
But Indira’s dreams of achieving hero status don’t exactly go as planned. A failed audition lands her in the school’s side-character track, and her best efforts to prove advisors–famous characters like Alice from Wonderland and Professor Darcy–wrong are constantly sabotaged. Indira is starting to feel like an evil antagonist might be to blame.
As the danger spreads, Indira discovers all of Fable is under siege. With her friends Maxi and Phoenix by her side, she pieces together clues that will reveal who is behind the dark magic threatening them all. But the more Indira uncovers, the more doubt she feels about her place in this world of stories. After all, can a side character really save the day?
Many thanks to Random House Children’s Books/Crown Books for Young Readers for sending me a link to an eARC in exchange for a review!
Saving Fable, since announced, has been one of my most anticipated books for the year. Really, anything that Scott Reintgen writes thanks to Nyxia is highly placed on my hope-to-read list. The idea seemed super fresh, super genuine, and super fun, especially for Middle Grade readers who may not be too attuned to pick up a book for fun. And it absolutely was.
Saving Fable follows Indira Story, a character-in-waiting who has hopes that one day she’ll be picked by the Authors to become the hero in their story. When Indira finally gets picked, she’s so excited that her dreams are finally going to come true. But, after she failed her audition into Protagonist Preparatory and is placed into the side character track, she loses hope. But, with renewed spirit, Indira follows some great advice to work hard and prove that her destiny is to become a hero. Taking classes with some of literature’s most notable characters, she truly believes that she’ll one day make it into a story as the hero. When she learns from her guidance counselor that she’s not doing as well as she had hoped, Indira once again feels hopeless. But there are some mysterious things happening in Fable and at Protagonist Preparatory and Indira seems to find herself in the middle of the mystery. As she follows the clues, Indira enters into an adventure that she didn’t see coming. One where if solved, she’d not only be a fictional hero, but would save Fable from it’s doom.
I absolutely loved this story. Indira is a main character that any one of all ages can resonate with. Indira wants to be the hero of a story, she wants to matter. As she enters Protagonist Preparatory and is placed on the side character track, she loses heart. But it’s the community and the friends that she finds who truly inspire her to press on, regardless of what is spoken about her. She’s smart, adventurous, loyal, and a really great friend. She loves those who love her fiercely and does what ever it takes to keep them safe. She’s awkward at times, but it just makes her that much more of a wholesome, complete, relevant character.
Reintgen, with this story, does something super creative and super new. It’s literally a story about the behind the scene look of what it takes to create a story in a fantastical way. In telling Indira’s story, there’s so much creativity of what it looks like, kind of like Toy Story when the humans aren’t around. I loved how the story uses famous characters (both protagonists and side characters) to help train the newbies. I loved how there are references all throughout of favorite childhood books that resonate with many people, that students (even now!) are finding and love such as The Hunger Games, The Lightning Thief, Alice in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, etc. The worldbuilding of Fable and the book references throughout are genius! I absolutely loved this world and considering this is only book one, I can’t wait for more.
Saving Fable is a book that is perfect and fun for Middle Grade readers. Not only does it resonate with them, but it’s so much fun for those that just love to read. It also is a perfect book for students who may not love reading as a way to get to love reading. I couldn’t put this book down. I also can’t wait for the next one. Until then, I’ll be recommending it to all my teacher friends and friends that with students who are just starting to catch the reading bug. Saving Fable can be found in stores starting September 17th, 2019. I can’t wait for y’all to read this!