DiscoverMiddle Grade

The Land of Fake Believe


Loved it! 😍

An original and captivating take on beloved fairytales, as good and evil battle for control of an enchanted amusement park.

Everyone knows fairytales are not real, which is why Taylan is angry when her mother decides to punish her for telling her younger sister exactly this while queuing to meet her favourite princess at the Happily Ever After amusement park. Livid at the unfair punishment, Taylan and her brother Colby set out to prove once and for all that everyone in the park is just a good actor.

But what they discover might be more than they bargained for, as they find themselves tangled in a secret battle between the good and the evil Ever Afters. As none of the familiar tales reflect the truth, Taylan and Colby will have to decide who among the Ever Afters can be trusted, defeat the Evil Queen before she takes over... and try to make it out of the park alive.

The Land of Fake Believe is a highly original and captivating take on the recent fairytale retellings trend, geared towards a middle-grade audience. The fast-moving plot is engaging, delivering a well-paced combination of action, reveals, and character development. There was never a dull moment and the slow unveiling of the workings of the park and different Ever Afters' true stories kept the story moving forward while providing a solid worldbuilding base. Quite a lot of this happened through dialogue and exposition, which occasionally resulted in a few info-dumps, but it didn't massively affect the flow and engagement.

The characters were well drawn, if not particularly rounded, which would probably not have worked as well for an older audience but is highly likely to not be an issue for the target audience. Taylan is the centre of it all and she was a lovely character to follow, as she struggles with the typical issues of a young girl her age while discovering a whole new world of magic and facing great evil. The sibling relationship was especially well crafted, and a fair bit of growing up was involved by the end of the book, which was great to see.

The Ever Afters were also fascinating characters, and it is clear that a good deal of creativity and detail went into crafting the amusement park setting, characters' backstories and their dynamics. It was a pleasure to discover all of this as it was slowly unveiled, even though at times certain characters came across as a bit lacking or incomplete.

Although the majority of the book was well-paced, the ending itself felt slightly rushed, which was a shame after having spent so long getting into the thick of things, but there seemed to be a suggestion of a second book to come so we may get to spend some more time with the characters after all.

Overall, this was an extremely pleasant read despite a few minor issues and would suit a younger audience as well as any grown-up who loves a good twist on fairytales and an amusement park setting.

Reviewed by

I'm a book lover at heart and love to talk about what makes my latest read so special on my blog, Book For Thought, which I started in early October 2014 and update regularly. I enjoy reading almost all types of fiction books and occasionally read non-fiction books on themes that interest me.

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About the author

Children’s book author Laurel Solorzano has been creating stories since she first learned how to write, completing her first full-length novel while in middle school. Hailing from North Carolina, Laurel is a Spanish and English teacher. view profile

Published on September 01, 2022

50000 words

Genre: Middle Grade

Reviewed by