A queer reimagining of “Snow-White and Rose-Red.”

Dark-skinned Ivory and pale-skinned Rosie (each named for her hair color) are 17-year-old twin daughters of the Circus Rose’s ringmistress. When the circus returns to their birthplace, Port’s End, Rosie’s and Ivory’s growth unfolds against a volatile backdrop that echoes contemporary politics: Recent regime and policy shifts result in aggressive behavior by the Brethren, whose church formerly occupied a position of political power. After tragedy strikes the circus, Ivory must shoulder ringmistress duties even as she attempts to discover who—or what—is behind the devastation. The present-tense, first-person narrative alternates between Rosie’s dreamy verse and Ivory’s looping prose as the sisters navigate new romances, professional challenges, and oppressive religious fanaticism on tour. Rosie is attracted to women but prefers the mysterious Bear above all while Ivory’s understanding of her own sexuality expands when she meets Tam, a black-haired, olive-skinned Fey magician who is “neither male nor female, like all Fey.” Tam’s pronouns, fe/fer/fers, are seamlessly integrated into the text. The twins have different fathers: Ivory’s is brown skinned while Rosie’s father is pale. The well-constructed fantasy world evokes elements of northern Europe and the United States during the Industrial Revolution, placing fluid Fey society and magic in an uneasy truce with established human monarchies and technologies. This creative exploration of chosen family, self-knowledge, love, and the tension between opposites is both timely and timeless.

Dazzling. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-63950-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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