Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale
Sixteen-year-old Mina is motherless, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone―has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do―and who to be―to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.
Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything―unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Violence, Mild sexual themes, Alcohol
Booklist starred (October 15, 2017 (Vol. 114, No. 4))
Grades 9-12. Lynet has grown up in the shadow of her mother, Emilia, who died giving birth to her—or so she was told. In reality, she’s the product of dark magic: her heartbroken father asked a magician, Gregory, to make him a daughter out of snow in the image of his late wife, the queen. Lynet chafes under her father’s expectations that she emulate the mother she’s never known; instead, she idolizes her steely stepmother, Mina, who’s always treated Lynet with tenderness, despite believing that she’s incapable of love, thanks to the glass heart her father, Gregory, gave her as a child. Alternating between Lynet’s and Mina’s perspectives, Bashardoust gracefully illustrates their fraught relationships with their fathers and each other and builds captivating tension between love and ambition. Mina’s calculating efforts to gain power by marrying Lynet’s father are in sharp contrast to the tenderness she feels for Lynet, while Lynet’s reluctance to become queen transforms once she recognizes her own considerable power. Drawing from both Snow White and the Snow Queen, this beautifully wrought novel offers plenty of fairy tale wonder, but Bashardoust resists the most common tropes; instead, she tells a story where women save each other with their own ingenuity, bravery, and love, and power and compassion can exist hand in hand. Compellingly flawed characters, vivid world building, and pitch-perfect pacing make this utterly superb.
Kirkus Reviews starred (July 1, 2017)
Magic, mother-daughter conflict, and the quest for self-identity are given a dark and fantastical treatment in this chilling feminist adaptation of the “Snow White” fairy tale.Bashardoust sets her debut novel in a kingdom cursed with eternal winter, which serves as a pointed metaphor for the physical beauty that is currency and curse for both Lynet, the beloved daughter of King Nicholas, and Mina, the neglected daughter of an infamous magician who eventually becomes Lynet’s “wicked” stepmother. The narrative, which alternates between the characters’ points of view, unites them with a mutual feeling of objectification. Both women are shaped and magically controlled by their fathers, who are also their creators, the insidiousness of which the story fully explores. Well-developed, strong female characters abound, from the tree-climbing Lynet (whose skin is olive-brown) and golden-brown Mina, a sympathetic survivalist queen, to a court surgeon and a royal ancestor whose maternal grief is powerful enough to eternally banish springtime from the northern kingdom. The author’s rich fantasy landscape incorporates the fairy tale’s traditional iconography while providing her with room to create a new story emphasizing the shallowness of a male-dominated society that places a ruinously high premium on beauty at the expense of female individuality. The decisive clash is between mother and daughter, but misogyny is the narrative’s true destructive force. A hauntingly evocative adaptation that stands on its own merits. (Fantasy. 14-adult)
About the Author
Melissa Bashardoust received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel.
Her website is www.melissabashardoust.com
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