Today's Reading

PROLOGUE

OF THIEVES AND PRINCESSES

Magic mirror on the wall,
Who runs Never After after all?
If our heroes set out to rescue a friend,
What happens if trouble appears before the end?
And if trouble comes disguised as a thief,
Where should our heroes turn?
Can they turn a new leaf?
Magic mirror on the wall,
A princess and a thief can be friends through it all.
But if the princess has a jealous sister,
Will she betray?
And who will run
Never After at the end of the day?

PART ONE

Wherein...

Filomena Jefferson-Cho and her three best friends get fleeced by a mysterious charmer.

A princess welcomes weary travelers into her castle in exchange for their help.

And our heroes get a little too attached to the royal treatment.

CHAPTER ONE

FOUR HEROES ARE BETTER THAN ONE

"So how cold are we talking, exactly, when we talk about Snow Country?" Alistair asks between huffs and puffs. Filomena, Jack, Alistair, and Gretel have been walking for a few hours now. But Filomena doesn't mind one bit. When in the company of her gang of friends, the hours tend to go by like the swoosh of a swoop hole.

How wonderful it is, Filomena thinks, to have people who like hanging out with her. And not only that—she can count on them to have her back both when she needs emotional support and also in 'battle'. Back in middle school, she was dumped by her closest friend and bullied by a group of literal trolls. But now she knows where she belongs: right here, alongside her friends, trudging on a dirt trail with nothing but their wits and their courage to keep them safe on this long and perilous journey. It's much better than being stuck in Algebra One Honors, even if 'anything' is better than Algebra One Honors.

"Is it hot-chocolate-with-vanilla-marshmallows-for-every-drink cold or sledding-as-a-main- form-of-transportation cold?" Alistair continues.

"I'm not sure what scale you're using here, but I'm going to guess it's haute-winter-couture cold," says Gretel with a gleam in her eye. "I can't wait to put together some winter 'lewks'. I 'never' get to wear cold-weather fashion! Turtlenecks, knit sweaters, earmuffs, oh my!"

Like Filomena, Gretel is biportal, spending part of her time in the mortal city of Los Angeles and part of her time in & well, whatever part of Never After needs her most. Filomena can't help getting caught up in the cold-weather excitement, too. Though she knows their quest to Snow Country will likely involve risking their lives, that fact seems to pale in comparison (at least for the moment) to the excitement of traveling to a new Never After kingdom. And one with snow, no less!

"You know, guys, I've never actually seen snow," Filomena tells them.

Jack, Gretel, and Alistair turn to her as if she's just told them she's actually a friendly goblin and not Filomena Jefferson-Cho of safe, sleepy, suburban North Pasadena, California.

"What do you mean, you've never seen snow?" Jack says. "Isn't there snow in the mortal world? I didn't know snow was magical."

"It's not magical in the mortal world, but it is magical to me! I'm from California, remember? There's no snow there—I mean, unless you drive up to the mountains, but my parents are terrified that I'd get into a skiing accident, or any accident, as you know. All my mom does is read about people crashing into trees on ski runs. And where I live, it's pretty much always sunny and warm, no matter the time of year."

"And you thought Never After was weird!" Alistair shakes his head. "You come from somewhere that doesn't even have 'seasons'!"

Gretel, Alistair, and Filomena all laugh and settle into fantasies about quaint snow-covered villages, ice-skating on frozen lakes, and resting their stocking feet by a roaring fire.

But Jack isn't looking so dreamy. Filomena's vision vanishes upon seeing his face. Once again, Jack the Giant Stalker is carrying the weight of the worlds on his shoulders. And it's been only a fortnight since Filomena learned she and Jack have a lot more in common than she thought.


...

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Today's Reading

PROLOGUE

OF THIEVES AND PRINCESSES

Magic mirror on the wall,
Who runs Never After after all?
If our heroes set out to rescue a friend,
What happens if trouble appears before the end?
And if trouble comes disguised as a thief,
Where should our heroes turn?
Can they turn a new leaf?
Magic mirror on the wall,
A princess and a thief can be friends through it all.
But if the princess has a jealous sister,
Will she betray?
And who will run
Never After at the end of the day?

PART ONE

Wherein...

Filomena Jefferson-Cho and her three best friends get fleeced by a mysterious charmer.

A princess welcomes weary travelers into her castle in exchange for their help.

And our heroes get a little too attached to the royal treatment.

CHAPTER ONE

FOUR HEROES ARE BETTER THAN ONE

"So how cold are we talking, exactly, when we talk about Snow Country?" Alistair asks between huffs and puffs. Filomena, Jack, Alistair, and Gretel have been walking for a few hours now. But Filomena doesn't mind one bit. When in the company of her gang of friends, the hours tend to go by like the swoosh of a swoop hole.

How wonderful it is, Filomena thinks, to have people who like hanging out with her. And not only that—she can count on them to have her back both when she needs emotional support and also in 'battle'. Back in middle school, she was dumped by her closest friend and bullied by a group of literal trolls. But now she knows where she belongs: right here, alongside her friends, trudging on a dirt trail with nothing but their wits and their courage to keep them safe on this long and perilous journey. It's much better than being stuck in Algebra One Honors, even if 'anything' is better than Algebra One Honors.

"Is it hot-chocolate-with-vanilla-marshmallows-for-every-drink cold or sledding-as-a-main- form-of-transportation cold?" Alistair continues.

"I'm not sure what scale you're using here, but I'm going to guess it's haute-winter-couture cold," says Gretel with a gleam in her eye. "I can't wait to put together some winter 'lewks'. I 'never' get to wear cold-weather fashion! Turtlenecks, knit sweaters, earmuffs, oh my!"

Like Filomena, Gretel is biportal, spending part of her time in the mortal city of Los Angeles and part of her time in & well, whatever part of Never After needs her most. Filomena can't help getting caught up in the cold-weather excitement, too. Though she knows their quest to Snow Country will likely involve risking their lives, that fact seems to pale in comparison (at least for the moment) to the excitement of traveling to a new Never After kingdom. And one with snow, no less!

"You know, guys, I've never actually seen snow," Filomena tells them.

Jack, Gretel, and Alistair turn to her as if she's just told them she's actually a friendly goblin and not Filomena Jefferson-Cho of safe, sleepy, suburban North Pasadena, California.

"What do you mean, you've never seen snow?" Jack says. "Isn't there snow in the mortal world? I didn't know snow was magical."

"It's not magical in the mortal world, but it is magical to me! I'm from California, remember? There's no snow there—I mean, unless you drive up to the mountains, but my parents are terrified that I'd get into a skiing accident, or any accident, as you know. All my mom does is read about people crashing into trees on ski runs. And where I live, it's pretty much always sunny and warm, no matter the time of year."

"And you thought Never After was weird!" Alistair shakes his head. "You come from somewhere that doesn't even have 'seasons'!"

Gretel, Alistair, and Filomena all laugh and settle into fantasies about quaint snow-covered villages, ice-skating on frozen lakes, and resting their stocking feet by a roaring fire.

But Jack isn't looking so dreamy. Filomena's vision vanishes upon seeing his face. Once again, Jack the Giant Stalker is carrying the weight of the worlds on his shoulders. And it's been only a fortnight since Filomena learned she and Jack have a lot more in common than she thought.


...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...