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Gail Carson Levine Books In Order

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Publication Order of Ella Enchanted Books

Ella Enchanted (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Two Princesses of Bamarre (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fairest (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ever (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ogre Enchanted (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Princess Tales Books

The Fairy's Mistake (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Princess Test (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cinderellis and the Glass Hill (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
For Biddle's Sake (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fairy's Return (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fairy's Return and Other Princess Tales (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of A Tale of Two Castles Books

A Tale of Two Castles (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stolen Magic (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Dave at Night (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wish (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Betsy Who Cried Wolf (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fairies and the Quest for Never Land (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Ceiling Made of Eggshells (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sparrows in the Wind (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Poetry Collections

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Transient (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

Betsy Red Hoodie (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Writing Magic (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writer to Writer (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Unexpected(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Be Careful What You Wish For(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Half-Minute Horrors(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Gail Carson Levine is a Young Adult, Children’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction author from New York. Born in 1947, she grew up in New York City where she asserts that her parents Sylvia and David fostered the creative streak that would make her into the writer she is today. Her father was the owner of a commercial art studio while her mother was a playwright who taught theater. Raised in a family of creatives, she was very early on led onto a path of creativity as she watched her sister Rani become a painter. From a very early age, she was an avid reader and loved to read “Peter Pan” by James M. Barrie and the works of the likes of L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott. Levine initially wanted to follow in the footsteps of her sister and become either a painter or an actress. Early on, she became a member of several theater troops before she lost interest in an acting career.

Gail Levine never planned on becoming an author though she started writing in elementary school. She was a charter member of the Scribble Scrabble Club at her elementary school and had some of her poems published in an anthology of student poetry in her high school years. After graduating from high school, she attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, then proceeded to City College of New York where she got her degree in philosophy. It was at college that she would meet David the man that she would go on to marry in 1967. Once she was done with college she went on to work for the New York Department of Social Services and the Department of Labor. She spent nearly thirty years working for the state of New York but was pursuing a very creative and rich life outside of work. She got her first taste of writing as an adult when she became interested in theater. She wrote the story for a children’s musical she called “Spacenapped.” Her husband wrote the music and lyrics in the musical that was produced by a small theater in Brooklyn and became a minor success. She also took classes and worked with watercolors and oils as she tried to revive her interest in painting. Levine once asserted that it was her dabbling in painting which made her decide to write for children. After taking a class illustrating and writing children’s books, she discovered that she liked writing more. She then went on to write a novel and several picture books inspired by the story of her father who had grown up in a Harlem orphanage in the 1920s.

Levine writes children novel on the themes of magical creatures and magic, strong female leads, marriage, and love. Most of her novels end with marriage or some type of romantic relationship. The stories typically drive the message of courage in the face of danger, kindness, self-confidence, and selflessness. He got her first break as a novelist with “Ella Enchanted” her most popular and most successful novel. She was thinking of something to write and could not think of a plot when she thought why not write a Cinderella story. She tweaked the story to make her lead less of a goody-two-shoes by including a curse. The Cinderella in her story is always in constant rebellion given that she is on her good behavior because of the curse. The novel is thus more about how people live up to other people’s expectations and obey at the expense of living the life that they want. Following the success of the novel she went on to publish several more children’s novels that were a rewriting of other popular fairy tales. For instance, she spun Toads and Diamonds to write The Fairy’s Mistake, The Princess and the Pea was made into The Princess Test and Sleeping Beauty was retold as Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep. She has also created her own fairy tales most of which are on the motif of recognition, acceptance of oneself and gratitude. The real draw of Gail Levine’s novels is that they use folkloric elements in inventive ways to make for very charming stories. Ella Enchanted the first novel was made into a film released by Miramax in 2004 while The Two Princes of Bamarre was also optioned and is due to be adapted into a movie.

Gail Carson Levine’s “Ella Enchanted” is a cryptic examination of the traditional female roles in fairy tales that deviates from the original to make for some satisfying twists and turns. When she was born Ella had been cursed by Lucinda, a young and imprudent fairy. Whatever she is told to do she does without question. While any other person might have been devastated with such a curse, Ella is a feisty girl who is always rebelling against her curse. When her mother dies, she is left in the care of a greedy and oftentimes absent father who ultimately leaves her under the care of two perfidious stepsisters and an evil stepmother. Her life seems to have taken a turn for the worse but her saucy and intelligence nature serves her well. She sets out on a journey of self-discovery and freedom as she tries to find Lucinda to free her from the curse. On her quest, Ella has to fend off ogres, befriend elves, and finally fall in love with a prince. Of course Levin does include the obligatory glass slipper, the pumpkin coach and the happily ever after to make for one of the most profound and delightful of the Cinderella stories.

One of Levine’s best novels is “The Two Princesses of Bamarre,” a story of a fantasy land full of magic, dragons, sorcerers, elves, and fairies. The lead in the novel is Addie, a twelve-year-old girl who looks up to Meryl as a hero that will rid their land of ogres, gryphons and specters. Addie is nothing like her sister as she is fearful of everything including bugs such as spiders and hence has to depend on Meryl for protection and courage. Meryl is quite the badass as she has a sword named Bloodbiter and reads from the heroic legend of Drualt to a captivated audience that is made up of Rhys the young sorcerer, Addie, and their young governess. But then Meryl contracts the Gray Death, a dreaded disease which means that Addie has to grow up fast. She now has to find courage and go out to find a cure if Meryl is to live. Addie leaves taking with her an enchanted table cloth, a magic spyglass that had once belonged to her mother, the seven-league boots, and a cloak that belongs to Rhys. She fights and wins a battle against a personable yet wicked dragon and outwits tricky specters as the story culminates in a bittersweet finale of violence and romance.

Gail Carson’s “Fairest” is a spin of the Snow White story. The lead in the novel is Aza, a homely and beautiful girl with a beautiful voice. Such a voice is a valuable asset in Ayortha her homeland, where ordinary conversation is carried out in song. Despite her beautiful voice, she is insecure about her looks though she has a very happy childhood. But she is summoned to court by the young Queen Ivi who wants her to become one of her maids. The queen just recently ascended to the throne after her father got into a freak accident which put him in a coma. But Ivi is frustrated that she cannot sing and in her frustration turns into a bad ruler that abuses her power. But then she learns that Aza can throw her voice and uses her talent to pretend to her subjects that she is a good singer. But the deception is discovered and Aza has to flee the kingdom to save her life from the evil queen who blames it all on her. Her excursion takes her to the land of the goblins, where she learns to love herself and discovers her true identity.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gail Carson Levine

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