cover image Thornwood (Sisters Ever After #1)

Thornwood (Sisters Ever After #1)

Leah Cypess. Delacorte, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-17883-6

In her middle grade debut, Cypess (the Death Sworn series) reframes “Sleeping Beauty,” retelling the classic from the viewpoint of an overlooked but determined little sister. Resourceful narrator Princess Briony, 11, “who never even got a blessing from a fairy godmother,” is well aware of the fairy curse set to befall her older sibling, Rosalin, on her 16th year, and would like to think that she’d be brave enough to help her sister, if it came to it. When Briony wakes up a century after Rosalin’s birthday, alone in a room housing a “very large, very illegal spinning wheel,” she has a good feel for what happened. But the end of the curse seems off, somehow: Rosalin is initially nowhere to be found, savior Prince Varian is acting suspiciously, a mysterious fairy godmother is lurking in the shadows, and the castle remains enveloped by aggressive vines. As the sisters, who are white, attempt to free their home, they realize they’re caught up in a magical scheme of epic proportions, and the only solution may require an unthinkable sacrifice. Incorporating surprising twists and subverting tropes to emphasize sibling bonds over romance, Cypess creates a fun tale with a strong heroine whose happily ever after isn’t set in stone. Ages 9–12. [em]Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger. (Apr.) [/em]