by Christine Heppermann
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 23, 2014)
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Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.
Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."
Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.
Terrifyingly raw and true to the teenage girl’s mind, Poisoned Apples is a book of poems interwoven with fairy tales in order to create something that’ll leave the reader thinking long after it’s over. I finished this book on the car ride home from school (about twenty minutes) and found myself sitting on the stair case, back pack still on, re reading it. The pictures in the book add to the tales of self-hate, stereotypical high schooler’s and the need to be accepted. I loved every word of it.
Usually, when it comes to poetry, I like those such as Christopher Poindexter or Tyler Kent White (if y’all don’t know what I’m talking about, go google them now) but Poisoned Apples had a quality that addressed coming of age, almost out in the real world issues that I think need a little more light. A few of my favorite poems? The Little Mermaid (to the size of his eyes reflecting my eyes / begging lovemeholdmedon’teverleaveme)ARC , then there’s Transformation and Rapunzel, Nature Lesson and Red-Handed, Finder’s Keepers and Spotless (she thought her own blood in the snow/ was the prettiest thing she’d ever seen)ARC. Don’t even get me started on Retelling. Yes, there was dark and deep and raw. But there was also hey, we’re girls and we are freaking awesome. Hey, we’re girls and we are our own people. Hey, we are girls, and we don’t need a man to be happy (Once upon a time/ there was a miller’s daughter/ who got a studio apartment) ARC
But, I’m a poetry freak. I like beautiful words and pretty pictures. I like fairy tale where there are goblins and evil stepmother’s and terrifying beasts.
I think Poisoned Apples has a quality that readers don’t see as often as we need to. The author’s voice is the voice of a high schooler, it’s the voice of a mother and a sister, its the voice of someone who has a story to tell. And sweet lord is it epic.
Heart-wrenching, hilarious and all together fantastic, this book of 50 poems need to be ordered and pre ordered and shared. Because sharing is caring.
@No Bent Spines
@No Bent Spines