The Wide-Awake Princess

by E.D. Baker
261 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Kristi

An entertaining and amusing fantasy, but with some flaws to be aware of.


Sleeping Beauty's little sister Annie, immune to magic, is the only one left awake in the enchanted castle once her sister pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. Eager to awaken her family, Annie sets out in search of a prince to awaken her sister...but finding Gwennie's true love may be more difficult than she expected, especially as Annie isn't exactly sure who that might be. Aided by a castle guard, Liam, Annie sets forth on a journey that will bring her face to face with fairy tale characters both familiar and new.


Liam and Annie lie at different points throughout the book. Usually they are portrayed as being uncomfortable doing it.

Spiritual Content

As a fairy tale, the book contains the usual magic and enchantments. One of Annie's observations makes it apparent that there can be either good or bad witches in the author's world, though Annie does not encounter any good witches. This deceptive worldview is consistent with the author's Tales of the Frog Princess series, which focuses on a family of sorceresses.


General combat, swordfighting, etc. Nothing particularly graphic.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Annie drinks some wine at one point. We see a drunk being thrown out of a tavern, and one of the princes drinks to excess more than once, resulting in the need for Liam to help him get sober on one occasion by mixing up a number of fairly revolting ingredients and dousing him with water repeatedly.

Sexual Content

One of the princes is found drunk in a tavern with a barmaid sitting on each leg, despite the fact that he's engaged. Another keeps trying to turn his conversation with Annie in a lascivious direction. She artfully changes the direction of the conversation, but a princess he spoke with earlier apparently did not, resulting in her slapping him and storming from the room. Later, we learn that Rapunzel has apparently been seeing a different prince on different days of the week (we're only explicitly told about two, but more could be inferred), and one of these is married, though he hasn't told Rapunzel. There is also kissing in varying degrees, both of a light romantic nature and then a series of variously intense kisses from the princes trying to awaken Gwendolyn. A lot of the princes seem to regard women as interchangeable, and Gwendolyn is objectified because of her beauty.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

We are told that "Liam swore" once. In another scene, when Annie stays too long by an enchanted waterfall, her non-magic has the result of causing its singing to turn to "rude catcalls".


This is an entertaining read with a spunky heroine and engaging hero. The premise is reminiscent of the classic fantasy story The Ordinary Princess and should appeal to most reader of children's fantasy. It is spoiled slightly by some unnecessary elements, mostly in the sexual content category.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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