cover image This Poison Heart

This Poison Heart

Kalynn Bayron. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0390-9

In this smart and atmospheric sophomore effort, the opener to a planned duology, Bayron (Cinderella Is Dead) presents the trials of adopted Brooklynite Briseis, a Black teen with the ability to control plants. Bri’s powers are greater than even she knows, until a dangerous accidental brush with water hemlock reveals that she is impervious to poisonous plants. Just as Bri and her two moms face the possibility of losing their flower shop to gentrification, Bri receives an inheritance from her late birth mother’s sister: a house and 40 acres in Upstate New York. Yet summer in Rhinebeck reveals that there’s more to Bri’s inheritance than a sprawling mansion: she soon encounters a fully stocked apothecary, a garden full of deadly vegetation—and countless strangers seeking access to it—and secrets about her birth family and her own powers. Bayron weaves science and Greek mythology into a captivating lore that lends weight to this fantastical contemporary story. She conjures entertaining and realistic dialogue and attentive characterization, while incisive descriptions and sumptuous prose evoke a wonderfully gothic atmosphere. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Jamie Vankirk, Rainbow Nerds Literary. (June) [/em]