Published by Balzer + Bray
Published on 25 February 2020
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Girls & Women, Social Issues, United States, Young Adult
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You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.
And the wolf is angry.
Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.
Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.
I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When you first received this book for review, you were a little uncertain. Would it be as awesome as Damsel? Could a strange, unearthly, almost-retelling of Little Red Riding Hood ever live up to your admittedly high expectations? You almost psyched yourself out and didn’t request it, after all.
But once you opened it and began reading, you were quickly hooked.
At first, the second person point of view startled you: it is certainly uncommon, but in a book so gory, so graphically unflinching as it depicts menstruation as a powerful gift and first sexual encounters and female empowerment against toxic masculinity and male violence, you realise that presenting it in second person makes it more relevant; makes it much easier to slip into the mind and experiences of the young protagonist, Bisou.
In second person point of view, this book might even be accessible to those people who normally shy away from books written about women for women by women. Empathy, you think, is easier to grasp in second person. The kind of readers who already loved Damsel? They will probably love this, as you did, you think.
This is where things are going to get a little bit spoilery:
View Spoiler »I liked the ending. It was a bit of a shock, and I still had some unanswered questions: why did the boys turn into wolves? I had a sort of theory that the presence of the special one bleeding itself somehow made the boys turn into wolves, like in Twilight the mere presence of vampires made the wolf shifters begin to shift, and if there was no vampires, there would be no shifters. I felt like the killing was all done in self-defence: the wolves were literally leaping to kill when they were intercepted, so although I don’t condone violence against animals and I certainly don’t condone murder, I could kind of see the grey area where I was kind of OK with rapists and abusive men dying at the hands of their victims they were trying to kill – and in some cases had a history of killing. « Hide Spoiler