by Hal Patnott
I returned from ALA Annual last week with an ARC of one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust. This feminist fairy tale retelling does not disappoint. In keeping with our theme of featuring titles that uphold ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), this week’s selection stands out for excellence, and leadership and responsiveness.
Every day Princess Lynet looks more like her mother Emilia, the beloved queen who she never met. King Nicholas and everyone at court constantly remind Lynet of her destiny to take Emilia’s place. No one but Mina, Lynet’s stepmother, understands that she wants to find her own path. She dreads the day she’ll wear the crown and lose herself forever. At sixteen, Mina moved against her will to Whitespring with her father Gregory, a reviled and power-hungry magician. Charm and beauty won Mina the throne, but not the love of the court who see her as an outsider or the widowed King who loves his grief for his dead wife more. As Lynet’s sixteenth birthday approaches, Mina realizes her reign will soon end. Once she loses her crown, she’ll have nothing left but her darkest secret, a heart made of glass.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass reimagines Snow White as an empowering fantasy with female leads who stand strong together in a society that tries to pit them against one another. The chapters alternate between Mina and Lynet, revealing each woman’s struggle for control over her own narrative. Bashardoust develops compelling characters, including a confident, teenage surgeon named Nadia, who is determined to make a difference. Nadia’s romance with Lynet is worth melting for. Readers who love fairy tales and fantasy will be swept away by the enchanting prose and the suspenseful plot. This standalone, debut novel is a must-purchase for young adult collections.