Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Melissa Bashardoust. Flatiron, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-19614-9
Bashardoust (Girls Made of Snow and Glass) combines Persian language and tales, particularly “The Shahnameh,” with European fairy tales and Zoroastrianism to create a world replete with deadly gardens, mothlike beings, and haunting burial grounds. Cursed with poisonous skin by a div, one of the Destroyer’s “demonic servants,” Soraya has hidden within her family’s palace walls for 18 years, fearful of staining the reputation of her twin brother, the shah of Atashar. When female div Parvaneh is captured, Soraya seeks a way to end her own poisonous curse and live freely with Azad, one of her brother’s soldiers. But after learning that her cure requires the elusive, magical bird that protects the kingdom, Soraya finds herself in a perilous situation that challenges everything she knows about her family and herself. Scenes are lavishly detailed, Soraya’s inner turmoil is rendered with drama as she chooses whether to be “a mouse or a viper,” and the connection between Soraya and Parvaneh is stirring. Though weighty foreshadowing mars plot twists, Bashardoust’s exceptional attention to folktale structure and Soraya’s hard-won acceptance of herself make for a lyrical, inspiring read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore & Co. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/18/2020
Release date: 05/12/2020
Genre: Children's
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-250-78703-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-75171-3
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