Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison: Review

A Fierce and Subtle Poison: Review

I’m not quite sure what to write about Samantha Mabry’s debut, A Fierce and Subtle Poison. It’s an absorbing novel – magical realism isn’t generally my thing, but Mabry’s prose made this novel really work well for me. It is incredibly beautifully written, you all. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it. It’s been one of my favorite reads of the year so far. Additionally, I started and finished A Fierce and Subtle Poison in less than 24 hours, so there’s that. So. The book is a retelling (I think) of Hawthorne’s short story, Rappaccini’s Daughter, of which I remember … not a whit. The premise of the novel is something like this: there’s a legend about a cursed house in Old San Juan, where no birds will fly over. In it lives a cursed girl, with green skin and grass for hair. Lucas and his friends have both heard and… Read more »

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The Walls Around Us: Review

The Walls Around Us: Review

I’m torn on this one, you guys. There were many things I liked about Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us: the prose style is gorgeous, and I was much more interested than I expected to be in a story about killer ballerinas. On the other hand, I saw the twists coming from a mile away (rare for me!), but dammit, I was still so interested in this book up until the last twenty-five pages or so. The basic premise of The Walls Around Us: Amber’s in a juvenile detention center, Violet’s off to Julliard. These are our novel’s two narrators. Both their stories are bound together by their relationship to Ori – a promising young ballerina who is sent to the same juvenile detention center after allegedly murdering two rival ballerinas. As readers, we never get Ori’s story directly, but are asked to piece it together from Amber and Violet’s accounts. (This… Read more »

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If You Could Be Mine: Review

If You Could Be Mine: Review

I should start by saying that I’m glad that this book exists. There aren’t enough young adult novels that deal with LGBTQ subjects, and there certainly aren’t enough that deal with those subjects in the Middle East (or anywhere that isn’t contemporary America, to be honest). Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine – about a same-sex relationship between two Iranian teenagers – goes a long way towards filling the gap. I wish books like this had existed while I was growing up. That said, however, I really wanted more from this novel. Here’s the premise: Sahar and her best friend, Nasrin, have been in love since they were children. In addition to this, Nasrin’s family functions as Sahar’s adoptive family: Sahar’s mother died when she was young, and her grieving father, though physically present, has pretty much been an absentee parent ever since. So, on top of loving Nasrin,… Read more »

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