cover image Ash & Bramble

Ash & Bramble

Sarah Prineas. HarperTeen, $17.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-233794-8

A young woman awakens in the Godmother's fortress and, like her fellow slaves, remembers nothing about her life from "the Before." She befriends Shoe, a shoemaker who names her Pin, since she is forced to work as a seamstress. Pin knows she doesn't belong at the fortress, and a magic thimble gives her hope that she and Shoe can escape. When their plan goes awry, Pin winds up living in the Godmother's city with no memories of the fortress, Shoe, or her feelings for him. Now she is known as Lady Penelope, aka Pen, and she feels inexplicably drawn to Prince Cornelius. Shoe helps Pen and Cor realize that the narrative force of Story itself is trying to control their fates, and the three join a group of rebels trying to stop it. All of the characters exhibit real complexity, particularly Pen, whose magical abilities help empower her to become a leader. Prineas (the Magic Thief series) handily incorporates numerous twists on fairy-tale conventions, including a fairy godmother villainess and same-sex romances for Rapunzel and the frog prince, in this feminist reimagining of the Cinderella story. Ages 13%E2%80%93up. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. (Sept.)