I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann
Published by Greenwillow Books on September 23rd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Poetry, Young Adult
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Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.
Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."
Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.
Christine Heppermann handles female issues in such a unique and interesting way in Poisoned Apples. Her poetic style is quirky, witty and deeply real, highlighting numerous problems with gender inequality girls face throughout their pubescent stage into adulthood. Keep in mind, however, that she also somehow manages to infuse these with classic fairy tales we grow up on. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and other themes like Prince Charming are merged with issues such as sex, eating disorders, body image, social pressures, sexism, abuse and more. And as an added bonus we’re treated to mesmerizing photographs like this:
For the most part, I really felt like I could identify with many of the poems in one way or another, especially the ones on body image and the society’s outrageous beauty standards for women through use of mainstream media. I love how she questions what beauty is and what it means to be a woman. But I supposed what I liked best was Heppermann’s ability to convey these messages in very little words. Take, for example, Photoshopped Poem:
Some say the Before poem
This poem is much more attractive.
With the Healing Brush Tool
I took out most of the lines.
I left in a few
so it wouldn’t look unnatural.
The way the poems are written are so very clever and smart. Some even made me chuckle a bit with her use of sometimes unusual places, phrases and items. Simon Says, the Abercrombie dressing room and even G.I. Joe’s all seem to find themselves in the pages of Poisoned Apples. I’ve found myself re-reading some of my favorites at random times of the day and I seem to take something different away each time.
Also, guys, THAT COVER.
Now, I will says that there were some poems that completely went over my head, but that’s mostly my fault for being genuinely terrible at poetry. Alas, even Steph Sinclair has her Kryptonite.
That doesn’t change the fact that this tiny book, only 128 pages, is probably one of the most memorable that I’ve read this year and I want as many of my friends to pick this novel up. It feels like this one could get easily overlooked at a bookstore and that’s a real shame because Heppermann’s bold style is bound to leave marks and open dialogue. It’s not to be missed.
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HarperTeen is offering one Cuddlebuggery reader a finished copy of Poisoned Apples!
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Wow I love the two poems that I got to read! They have a serious message and are funny at the same time. Plus, poems are really all I have time to read with school. Thanks for the great review!
I am hoping this book comes to South Africa soon… It’s been on my list for ages! Can’t wait to read it – and the COVER – one of my favorites ever!
Sue recently posted…YA Book Review: Hop – The Upward Stride
Those poems sound fantastic and so beautifully-written. I’m sold.
Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room
Hmmm. I’m usually not into poetry, but this book has gotten such good buzz that now I’m curious. Thanks for the giveaway!
Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…Cover Love #73
Steph, I completely understand about being dense to poetry — so am I. Which is one reason I quit trying to write it. 😉
Everything I’ve seen about this book makes me really want to read it! Even if I do know some of it will go right over my head, too.
I am in LOVE with Nature Lesson! I don’t read a lot of poetry, but this is going straight on my TBR.
Danielle recently posted…DNF Review: Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander
THERE ARE ILLUSTRATIONS IN THIS ONE?! I never knew that! Well, on to the to be read list you go!
I’ve never read any poems that really stayed with me, so that’s another reason to add Poisoned Apples to my TBR.
Kelly L. recently posted…Life Of A Blogger: Clothing
Honestly, the only poems I could ever stand to read were by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, but this has definitely caught my attention. I’ll definitely be adding this to my TBR list.
Lauren at Bookmark Lit
I wrote a semester-long research paper on this EXACT topic in college! I discussed how fairy tales and popular culture perpetuate gender norms and stereotypes from a young age. Some artists out there make installations and sculptures that help turn these fairy tales upside down. Look into Kiki Smith if you aren’t familiar with her art!
Lauren at Bookmark Lit recently posted…Review: Just Like Fate
This sounds so good! Really want to check this out since I’ve read your post. I need this on my TBR list now! I love reading good poetry every now and then. I think this would be an awesome addition to my book shelf.
I didn’t know that this was a verse novel! I thought it was just another fairytale retelling. Sounds interesting, I think I’ll actually read this one now!
Kelly recently posted…Panic – Lauren Oliver
Interesting type of retelling
Those poems are absolutely fantastic, I’m sold on this book.
These poems are great, and I like the idea of retellings in poems. Definitely interesting and unique and something I would like to read.
I read a little more than half of this. About half of them I loved and the other half I was like I think I didn’t get it haha. I loved the ones I loved — the themes, the truth, etc. Really resonated. LOVED the illustrations!
Jamie recently posted…6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie Lu
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