First in a series spun off from her Caraval trilogy, Garber’s dreamy fantasy follows 17-year-old Evangeline Fox, whose boyfriend, Luc Navarro, unexpectedly proposes to her stepsister, Marisol Tourmaline. Luc and Marisol are virtual strangers, and Luc won’t explain, so Evangeline assumes her stepmother bewitched them both and strikes a deal with a cunning, immortal Fate known as Jacks and the Prince of Hearts, to stop the wedding; in exchange, Evangeline must later kiss three people of his choosing. Jacks halts the ceremony, but after his methods cause misery for everyone involved, Evangeline and Marisol journey from the Meridian Empire to the magical Magnificent North. Hoping for a fresh start, they’ll attend festivities designed to find Prince Apollo a bride. Upon arriving, however, Evangeline encounters Jacks and realizes that their trip is somehow part of his plan. Evangeline, Marisol, and Jacks are cued white; several supporting characters have brown or olive skin. Despite some frothy plotting, Garber enchants readers with exquisitely imagined worldbuilding and her trademark heady romance. Evocative if occasionally overwrought prose adds to the tale’s dreamlike feel. Ages 13–up. (Sept.)
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“An explosively rich fairy tale that takes place inside an intricate world that’s weaved with fast-paced plot and intriguing twists. Garber continues to show up with lush, atmospheric writing and charming characters that we can’t help but want to journey with until their final scene.” —BuzzFeed
“A magical confectionery mix of love, messy choices, and dreams of happy endings . . . There are lots full of great options for fantasy lovers, but Once Upon a Broken Heart is one of the most appealing, thanks to its constantly churning plot, its real sense of adventure, and the lovely heroine at the center of the story. Here’s to seeing where Evangeline’s journey takes her next!” —Culturess
“A sugar-crusted, poison-spiked romp through a vibrant world of fairy tale intrigue, tangled romance, and forbidden magic.” —Cassandra Clare, author of Chain of Gold
“Shimmering with magic, Once Upon a Broken Heart is a wondrous story about my favorite thing: kissing. Not only is Jacks the swoony villain you’ve always dreamed about, but the decadent world will leave you breathless.” —Isabel Ibañez, author of Woven in Moonlight
'“Enchanting, intriguing, and delightfully whimsical, Once Upon a Broken Heart grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Evangeline is a cunning heroine, and Jacks never stopped surprising me. I couldn’t put it down.” —Brigid Kemmerer, author of the Cursebreakers series
“It’s hard not to be enchanted by any tale Stephanie Garber chooses to write, with her masterful storytelling and her infuriating way of fooling with our pulse rates. A guileless, heartbroken heroine plays with fate incarnate—the bad boy Jacks—in the dreamy, topsy-turvy world of the Magnificent North. Once Upon a Broken Heart casts a spell that you won't soon want to be broken.” —Stacey Lee, author of Luck of the Titanic
“A wildly imaginative, romantic story where true love and deadly kisses collide and bargains with the Prince of Hearts come with a steep price. Once Upon A Broken Heart is an unputdownable fairy tale where Garber’s imagination sparkles like the magnificent North. Readers will delight in each whimsical and thrilling page.” —Kerri Maniscalco, author of Kingdom of the Wicked
“A dazzling mix of mystery, romance, and magic.” —Karen M. McManus, author of One of Us Is Lying
“Once Upon a Broken Heart confirms that Stephanie Garber is the queen of fairy tales. I stepped into her world and got happily lost in the delicious magic, deceit, and passion.” —Mary E. Pearson, author of Dance of Thieves
“A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Garber enchants readers with exquisitely imagined worldbuilding and her trademark heady romance.” —Publishers Weekly
“Garber, best known for her lush and poetic Caraval series, will no doubt have readers flocking to this new series. The potential for coming installments is huge, as the glimmers of a larger world introduced in this volume are sure to stoke reader curiosity.” —Booklist
Gr 8 Up—Evangeline thinks she has found true love with Luc, until he betrays her and abruptly proposes to her stepsister Marisol. Her anger and hurt cause her to do the unthinkable—pray to Jacks, a Fate known as the Prince of Hearts, who has a reputation for being untrustworthy. He grants her request to stop the wedding in exchange for three kisses. But the stories about Jacks were right, and while Jacks does stop the wedding, Evangeline finds herself in quite a predicament. The lush worldbuilding Garber is known for is on full display here. While there is a modern edge to the characters, they're dressed in corsets and other 19th-century garb, while dealing with magical spell books, curses, and vampires. Evangeline, with her rose-gold hair, is a feisty but sweet heroine. The pacing is dynamic—it's hard to put this one down. The cliff-hanger ending is a clear setup for a sequel, but no one will be complaining about the opportunity to revisit this intricately imagined world. Most of the main characters are cued white with the exception of Luc, who is described as having brown skin. Fans of the "Caraval" series will no doubt be happy to see Jacks in his own leading role, but this spin-off series opener can be enjoyed without knowledge of that story. VERDICT Garber already has a following, so expect this to circulate well.—Mandy Laferriere, Fowler M.S., Frisco, TX
After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.
When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.
A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)