The Grimrose Girls

Sourcebooks/Fire. (The Grimrose Girls: Bk. 1). Oct. 2021. 400p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728228877.
Gr 9 Up–Despite its perfect appearance, the Grimrose Académie, an elite boarding school located in a castle in the Swiss Alps, has a dark history of students dying under mysterious circumstances, most recently Ariane, whose drowning seemed to be an accident or a suicide. Yet her closest friends, Ella, Yuki, and Rory, can’t shake feelings of suspicion about the nature of her death. When Nani, a recent transfer student, discovers a book of fairy tales among Ariane’s possessions with a list of names that includes those of past dead students and their own, the friends begin to uncover the magical and macabre links between fairy tale stories and their own fates. The fun of Pohl’s murder mystery lies in uncovering the connections between the characters and their fairy tale antecedents, as tensions rise and the killer, or curse, seems to circle closer and closer to the friends. Chapters alternate perspectives between the four girls, allowing their unique stories to develop. This series opener tackles complex issues, including domestic violence, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, chronic illness, and more, through an immersive world that dances between fairy tale and reality. Ella and Rory are white; Yuki is cued Japanese and Nani Native Hawaiian. The book includes bisexual, lesbian, asexual, and transgender representation.
VERDICT A solid choice for libraries where dark fairy tale retellings circulate well.

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