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Written by Jennifer Donnelly

Family / Home Stories Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on Poisoned

Fear is vanquished in a deliciously dark reworking of Snow White

Following the critically acclaimed Stepsister, this is the Carnegie medal winning authors second ‘ feminist’ fairytale and one that could not be more pertinent to our times. The heart is a powerful symbol and princess Sophie has continually been told that she is too weak, too kind-hearted, too emotional to ever be queen. This is the ‘poison’ which has been constantly dripped into her ear sapping her confidence and self-belief. So far, so familiar, but what makes this tale so psychologically engrossing is that we see the effect of ‘poison’ on the wicked stepmother too. The author refuses to believe that an all-powerful queen would really be bothered by the trifling concerns of beauty and the question to the mirror becomes ‘who will bring about my fall?’ Adelaide is herself the victim of patriarchy and a cruel childhood and it is the King of Crows, the embodiment of Fear, that speaks to her from the mirror and manipulates the attacks on Sophie. With the familiar elements of the fairy tale fleshed out and the alternative 17th century Germanic setting vividly peopled by creatures both whimsical and deadly and with marvellous new characters like Will the archer and Arno the grave robber to educate Sophie about social justice and to support her quest to become the true queen to protect her people, this is a hugely engrossing  and beautifully written tale. Its message that kindness and love have the power to defeat cruelty and pain empowers all girls to value their own strength and to let no one’s poisonous words destroy them. Highly recommended.

Joy Court

Other Info

10% Apple

10% Stepmother

40% Friendship

40% Feminism


Poisoned Synopsis

Beautiful Sophie, with lips as red as blood, skin as pale as snow, and hair as dark as night, is about to come of age and inherit her father's throne. But Sophie's stepmother wants rid of her - beautiful she may be, but too weak and foolish to reign. And Sophie believes her, as she believes all the things that have been said about her - all the poisonous words people use to keep girls like her from becoming too powerful, too strong. When the huntsman carries out his orders of killing Sophie, she finds a fire burning inside her that will not be extinguished, and sets off to reclaim what was taken from her.

Jennifer Donnelly turns her feminist eye to this most delicious of fairy tales and shows Snow White as she's never been seen before.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781471408144
Publication date: 20/10/2020
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781471408144
Publication date: 20th October 2020
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 432 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Fantasy / Magical, Personal Social Health Economic
Collections: Girl Power - Inspiring and Informative Books with a Feminist Edge,

About Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter and two greyhounds. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties. As a child, she loved to write and often inflicted really dreadful poems and stories on her family and friends. She loved to read, too, and the high point of her grade-school week was a Saturday trip to the library.

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