Poisoned Apples

by Christine Heppermann
First sentence: “The action’s always there.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There’s some mild swearing and one (very well placed) f-bomb. The content is about female empowerment, so if you give it to younger readers, be ready for questions. (Not a bad thing at all!) We have a kids poetry section at the store, but this doesn’t really fit. I could put it with the adult poetry but it might get lost. So, I might just shelve it in the YA section (grades 6-8), though it could go for any age.

I picked this up because Anne Ursu (whose work I’ve enjoyed, and who is fast becoming one of my favorite people on Twitter/Tumblr) told me I needed to. I don’t generally read poetry; I’ve never quite “gotten” it, and I don’t particularly want to curl up with a collection of poetry. But I couldn’t resist the draw of modern fairy tale retellings, even if it was poetry. (Plus: Anne Ursu!)

I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was a weird, wonderful, empowering collection of poems. Hepperman mixes fairy tale retellings with modern issues, from anorexia and photoshopping to the everyday over sexualization of women. It’s a seamless transition from fantasy to reality. One of my favorites was “Retelling”, which is about what the miller’s daughter should have done. Thankfully, Heppermann got a bunch of people to read this, so you don’t have to listen to me sum it up.

But my favorite, the one I texted a picture to M about, was this:

But what really makes this book (aside from the awesome poems) are the weird and wonderful photographs that accompany the poems. They add a fantastical element that just makes this slim collection absolutely perfect.

C has already devoured this several times over and has declared that we need to own it. I agree.

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