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Book Review

This modern fairy tale by Shannon Hale is the second in the " Ever After High" series published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.

The Unfairest of Them All is written for kids ages 8 to 12 years. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

On Legacy Day at Ever After High, every student is expected to sign the Storybook of Legends. By doing this, they promise to follow in the footsteps of their fairy-tale-character parents. Raven Queen, for example, is supposed to vow she will take on her mother's job as Evil Queen. But the teenager has her own ideas and doesn't want to be evil. Like many other fairy-tale villains known as Rebels at Ever After High, she wants to choose her own path and rewrite her story. Rather than signing the Storybook, Raven tears out a page. The student body is in shock.

Raven's roommate, Apple White, and other fairy-tale heroes are known as the Royals. They're kids who want to keep their destinies the way they are. Apple is concerned that if Raven doesn't do her part and become evil, Apple's life may not follow the chain of events that bring about her happily ever after.

Despite their differences of opinion regarding destiny, Raven and Apple are friends. When a skirmish between the Royals and the Rebels gets out of hand, a glass trinket that entrapped a dangerous creature called the jabberwocky is broken. The creature escapes. The girls' friend Maddie Hatter gets blamed, and the administrators prepare to banish her to Neverland. Raven and Apple must work together to prove Maddie's innocence.

With the help of Humpty Dumpty's computer-savvy son, they hack into the mirror where Raven's mother is imprisoned. Magic is prohibited in her prison, so the Evil Queen gives the girls clues. In riddles, she tells them what items they'll need for a spell to re-create the events surrounding the jabberwocky's escape. Raven and Apple hunt down the necessary items, including the hair of a giant and the skull of a dragon. Though the Evil Queen has warned them they must trust no one, the girls realize their plans to save Maddie will only succeed if they solicit the help of their friends. The Rebels and Royals work together to re-create the scene of the crime and show the school staff that Maddie had no part in freeing the monster. Maddie is vindicated and allowed to stay at Ever After High. Raven's mother tries to make a jailbreak, but Raven stops her. The teen reminds her mother that when our choices hurt others, we must pay the consequences.

As the book ends, the jabberwocky tries to get his bearings and makes a plan to find Maddie.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Various characters practice spells and sorcery, though none of their magic is dark or violent. One student is cursed to always tell the truth. The author uses plays on words like hex and hocus pocus. For example, students "hext," instead of "text," each other on their phones. When Raven finds herself in the middle of a conflict between the Wolfs and the Hoods, the clans consider getting rid of her and chant, "Dunk the witch!"

Authority Roles

Most of the Evil Queen's "evilness" can be seen in her critical, self-serving behavior. Her belittling comments are particularly crushing to her daughter, Raven. Apple's mother and several other fairy-tale rulers give Apple useful advice on how to be a leader. School administrators such as Baba Yaga plan to expel Maddie for bad behavior but graciously admit their mistake when the kids prove Maddie's innocence.

Cerise's mother, Red, is secretly married to Badwolf, who is able to exist in human form as well as wolf form. Red and Badwolf broke the rules of their destiny to be together because they were in love.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

This review is brought to you by Focus on the Family, a donor-based ministry. Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12


Shannon Hale






Record Label



Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc


On Video

Year Published




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