BOOK REVIEW: The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

by E.D. Baker
Bloomsbury, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59990-487-0
MG Fantasy
Grades 4-7
Reviewed from purchased copy.


In this new fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.

But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.


A delightful retelling of Sleeping Beauty, A Wide-Awake Princess, begins with Annie watching from a distance as her sister opens her birthday presents shortly before her sister pricks her finger and falls into an enchanted sleep. Annie has been shunted off to the side her whole life because of a fairy's gift/curse of being completely immune to magic of any kind.  As a result, anyone who spends time around her finds his/her magic fading as well.  After the whole castle falls under the wicked fairy's spell, she sets off with Liam, a new guard, to find Gwen's true love to break the spell.  Run ins with an enchanted bear, a witch, and a variety of princes makes Annie wonder if she can truly break the spell or if she's stuck with a sleeping family and a quiet castle.

Like many of E.D. Baker's books this one is full of humor.  My favorite parts involved someone trying to cast a spell on Annie and then having to live with the amusing results. Both Annie and Liam are very likeable characters with lots of charm and spirit.  As always it was a pleasure to follow along as Annie and Liam face a multitude of challenges involving kelpies, witches, and interfering mothers. An entertaining read for fairy tale fans, but especially appropriate for middle grade girls ready for their first taste of romance.


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