cover image Not Good for Maidens

Not Good for Maidens

Tori Bovalino. Page Street Kids, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64567-466-5

In Bovalino’s tantalizing horror novel, a retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” told in alternating past and present perspectives, 17-year-old asexual, white-cued Louisa Wickett-Stevens uncovers sinister family secrets about their terrifying history. Bostonite Lou is tired of her mother’s secrecy regarding their family’s past. In a last-ditch effort to learn more about their ancestry, Lou proposes visiting her best friend Neela—younger half sister to her aunt May and her mother Laura—in their York, England hometown, but Laura refuses. After Lou receives a distressed message from Neela (“I’m out of time... I’m at the market”), she’s plagued by mysterious voices luring her to York and begs Laura to let her help search for Neela. Though Laura insists she stay behind, Lou persuades May to follow after her departure. Diving headlong into a deadly world populated by witches, fairies, and goblins, Lou unravels the real reason May and Laura fled to America. Bovalino doesn’t shy away from the market’s gory horrors but never lingers, successfully balancing grisly depictions of butchered bodies with Lou’s poignant contemplation on her role in the world and her family in this swift-moving and enticing work of horror. Ages 14–up. Agent: Uwe Stender and Amelia Appel, Triada US. (June)