It’s been a while since I read, or listened to, a middle grade fantasy. And now that I’ve finished Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy, I am hooked! Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy is a sweet middle grade about fitting in. Keep reading this book review to find out my full thoughts about the representation and story!
Nothing ever happens in Filomena Jefferson-Cho’s sleepy little suburban town of North Pasadena. The sun shines every day, the grass is always a perfect green, and while her progressive school swears there’s no such thing as bullying, she still feels bummed out. But one day, when Filomena is walking home on her own, something strange happens.
Filomena is being followed by Jack Stalker, one of the heroes in the Thirteenth Fairy, a series of books she loves about a brave girl and her ragtag group of friends who save their world from an evil enchantress. She must be dreaming, or still reading a book. But Jack is insistent–he’s real, the stories are real, and Filomena must come with him at once!
Soon, Filomena is thrust into the world of evil fairies and beautiful princesses, sorcerers and slayers, where an evil queen drives her ruthless armies to destroy what is left of the Fairy tribes. To save herself and the kingdom of Westphalia, Filomena must find the truth behind the fairytales and set the world back to rights before the cycle of sleep and destruction begins once more.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy gave me serious Ella Enchanted vibes! It’s a charming middle grade about fairies, fairy tales, and the importance of stories. For anyone who has been looking for more books that would fit into the Rick Riordan family, this is the perfect addition to your library. Not only is Filomena adopted, but I enjoyed the representation so much. Her parents are honest with her, loving, and the resolution of this story line made me tear up. Filomena was a precious and quirky character.
It’s hard not to love her enthusiasm and vulnerability. How we can empathize with her feelings of sadness and frustration when her favorite series isn’t finished. Or the vulnerability she feels with the bullying at school (which broke my heart). And then, in a magical turn of events, Filomena is submerged into her favorite fantasy world of ogres and fairies. Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy is very much one of those “everything we know about the fairy tales are wrong” and I am here for it!
Listening to this audio book was fantastic. There are some chapters which have that rhyming of fairy tales and Imani Jade Powers made them sound exactly like what I was imagining. I can imagine that having a younger child listen to this audio book would be incredibly fun or even reading along!
Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy is a story about friendship and quests. The people we find along the way, and the ones we’ve always had. It’s such a sweet middle grade and I cannot recommend it more! I need this to be an entire series!