Five Reasons to Read: Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith – A Critical Yet Joyous Reimagining of Peter Pan that Centers Indigenous Perspectives

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Tagline: Lily and Wendy are taking their story back. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

In this modern take of the popular classic Peter Pan, award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) brilliantly shifts the focus from the boy who won’t grow up to Native American Lily and English Wendy—stepsisters who must face both dangers and wonders to find their way back to the family they love.

Stepsisters Lily and Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage—to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland.

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family—and their friendship?

Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to take them away from home for good, to an island of wild animals, Merfolk, Fairies, and kidnapped children.

A boy who calls himself Peter Pan.

One of the biggest reasons why I love a good retelling of a classic is how the retelling reimagines the story from a modern perspective. Classics, though beloved for good reason, aren’t always perfect and oftentimes carry with them archaic and harmful perspectives that reflects the times in which it is written.

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Book Review: The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl – An Eerie yet Fascinating Mystery that Reimagines Queer Girls as Princesses Intertwined with Gruesome Fairytale Destinies

Synopsis:

Four troubled friends, One murdered girl… and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed.

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle.

This contemporary take on classic fairytales reimagines heroines as friends attending the same school. While investigating the murder of their best friend, they uncover connections to their ancient fairytale curses and attempt to forge their own fate before it’s too late. 

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Note: The below review discusses suicide.

The Grimrose Girls is the kind of story that sinks its teeth into you and wraps you with its thorned vines around you, and just does not let you go. That’s how it felt reading this book – when I started reading it, I was merely intrigued, but the deeper and deeper I fell into this fairytales-inspired murder mystery, the deeper I fell in with the girls of Grimrose Académie and their own secrets, I was hopelessly attached to the book. For all its dark and macabre moments in this book, The Grimrose Girls is an unexpected delight that I loved.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with C.B. Lee, Author of A Clash of Steel – On the Lessons Each Book Taught Her, Love for Pirate Stories, and Joyous Queer Love

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

It’s now the end of Pride and I have the delight of hosting our last guest for Pride Month this year. Today’s guest is, what I would consider, a favourite of The Quiet Pond. Her books make frequent appearances in our book recommendation posts, I had the privilege of hosting the blog tour for her most recent Sidekick Squad book, and I even had the honour of hosting the cover reveal for her upcoming YA, A Clash of Steel! Indeed, today’s guest is none other than the incredible C.B. Lee, author of hopeful and fulfilling queer literature, and I get to share my interview with her today!

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Black History Month – An Interview with L.L. McKinney, Author of A Blade So Black; On Writing Retellings, Missing Parents in YA, and Her Top Three Anime

Black History Month – An Interview with L.L. McKinney, Author of A Blade So Black; On Writing Retellings, Missing Parents in YA, and Her Top Three Anime

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Black History Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of February, where Black authors are invited to celebrate being Black and Black books! Find the introduction post for Black History Month here.

A series that I’ve been following very closely since its start is A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney, a dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland that packs a heck lot more action. more monsters straight out of nightmares, and a Black teen who becomes a Dreamwalker, a being and fighter who protects our world from Wonderland. A Blade So Black is so much fun and just the perfect action-packed adventure if you want something exciting, fun, but also incredibly relatable and down-to-earth. And then, I discovered – what would become – one of my favourite short stories ever: Your Life Matters, also by L.L. McKinney, about a Black superheroine and her white sidekick, set in a Black Lives Matter protest.

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