If you catch her on a certain day, Jackie might say her favorite book is The Last Unicorn. She’s a Gemini and a Slytherin, and her life’s quest is to secure all the books and secure the grand library. She lives with an evil cat named Thorn, and she loves sleeping and writing poems and singing while washing the dishes.
This middle-grade book of Transylvanian folkore somehow manages to be a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses plus Princess and the Frog PLUS witches and vampires. My favorite bits are Jena's relationship with Gogu, her magical pet frog and the midnight dances in the faerie realm. Read it! It's fun!
For all of The Name of the Wind's size and popularity, I still think of it as an intimate, personal book, and what I love best about it is that it is at its heart a fairy story, but extremely detailed in the telling. This is a book about storytelling, the folly of heroes and the duplicity and danger of faeries; it's got a school for magic and a nomadic theatre troupe, an imperfect but cocky protagonist, and all kinds of heart. I would read it a thousand times if I could.
Michelle Tea, poet and author of Valencia, researched Polish folklore and the mermaid of Warsaw to write this odd, visceral, YA book. I love this gritty, offbeat fairytale, and came away with an intense desire to eat handfuls of salt, steal into Baba Yaga's perilous enchanted garden, and dive into the nearest body of mucky water to see if I might grow fins. Read it! Join me!
Angela Carter's collection of sharp, wise, scary little fairy tales is forever perfect and forever in my heart. If you've read it, you know. If you haven't, you're going to remember this moment for the rest of your life. I know I remember the first time I saw a copy of it, and asked, wide-eyed 'WHAT'S THAT?', fell headlong into its pages, then emerged with delicate, elegant cuts all over from its perfect, pointed words. Every story is better than the last and the first one is the best.
Uprooted has all the right things: a magical and menacing wood, detailed world building rooted in fairytales, lushly described spellwork, a mysterious wizard, a satisfying romance, a protagonist that feels like the best version of yourself, the you that exists in an ideal world. Maggie Stiefvater said, "Reading Uprooted was like rediscovering a favorite old sweater, familiar and beloved." Couldn't agree more.
Set in 1960's Chicago, and written from the perspective of a young kid investigating the murder of her upstairs, neighbor, this book is framed as the personal notebook of Karen Reyes. The art is breathtaking and the story is both touching and compelling. There's so much in this book to love and invest in, but the most lovable of all is Karen, and her funny, clever, and wise perspective as she grows up and learns about the world.