cover image Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

Christine Heppermann. Greenwillow, $17.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-06-228957-5

In a potent collection of verse, Heppermann melds fairy-tale imagery with lacerating commentary about the demands that society makes on women and girls. The results are excoriating and nearly impossible to forget. “Once upon a time there was a girl who/ had a good hair week!” opens a magazine-style twist on Red Riding Hood. “Seven cute looks/ she could do at home, and their names were/ Waves, Bun, Bangs, Braid, Sleek, and/ Party-Ready Ponytail.” Other poems examine eating disorders, consent, and body image, but while Heppermann illuminates many bitter truths, she also celebrates women’s ability to surmount the societal, systemic forces seeking to box them in. “If I was a good girl,/ if I could satisfy their cravings... I might have stayed at the table,” reads “Gingerbread.” “Wouldn’t you run, too,/ from such voracious love?” Ages 13–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Sept.)