Sep 24, 2014

Review: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

Title: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Author: Christine Heppermann
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: 9.23.2014
Pages: 128
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Poetry
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from ALA

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

Little known fact? I love poetry. Better known fact? I don’t like books written entirely in verse.

But that’s exactly why POISONED APPLES worked for me – it is a book of poetry, not a singular story told all in verse. In this book, Christine Heppermann brilliantly and bitingly delivers knock-out combinations of words that haunt and freeze the reader.

Poetry is a beautiful art form, and Heppermann is a master. I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales, but suddenly this is the adult version of a fairy tale. It’s not all ball gowns and magic and happily ever after. Poisoned Apples is what happens every day – where the line between fantasy and stark reality is blurred together.

The verse in this book is dramatically enhanced by black and white photos that look pretty from far away, but upon further examination are disturbing and dark. It lends a gritty realism to the poems, bringing them to life in a way that enhances ever single word.


  1. It's so dark! And, though I don't usually like books written in verse, I'm so happy you convinced me to read it. :)

  2. I'm the opposite! I don't like poetry (in English) and I do like book written in verse. Not sure if this one is for me, despite it's beautiful cover :)

  3. I just finished this one as well! I LOOOOVE this to pieces. I love books in verse and poetry and dark reads and this was just PERFECT! Lovely review :D
    Jackie @ No Bent Spines

  4. OH THANK GOD, I thought the whole thing was written in verse. I'll have to check it out, thanks Hannah!


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