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Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1954

ISBN: 0399501487

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Coward-McCann

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1955

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A timely and unabashedly feminist twist on a classic fairy tale.


Sixteen-year-old Bisou Martel’s life takes a profound turn after encountering an aggressive wolf.

Following an embarrassing incident between Bisou and her boyfriend, James, after the homecoming dance, a humiliated Bisou runs into the Pacific Northwest woods. There, she kills a giant wolf who viciously attacks her, upending the quiet life she’s lived with her Mémé, a poet, since her mother’s violent death. The next day it’s revealed that her classmate Tucker— who drunkenly came on to her at the dance—was found dead in the woods with wounds identical to the ones Bisou inflicted on the wolf. When she rescues Keisha, an outspoken journalist for the school paper, from a similar wolf attack, Bisou gains an ally, and her Mémé reveals her bloody and brave legacy, which is inextricably tied to the moon and her menstrual cycle. Bisou needs her new powers in the coming days, as more wolves lie in wait. Arnold (Damsel, 2018, etc.) uses an intriguing blend of magic realism, lyrical prose, and imagery that evokes intimate physical and emotional aspects of young womanhood. Bisou’s loving relationship with gentle, kind James contrasts with the frank exploration of male entitlement and the disturbing incel phenomenon. Bisou and Mémé seem to be white, Keisha is cued as black, James has light-brown skin and black eyes, and there is diversity in the supporting cast.

A timely and unabashedly feminist twist on a classic fairy tale. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-274235-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A nuanced yet plainly told novel about a runaway teen in the 1970s.



A teenager hits the road after her life derails in McGuinn’s literary novel.

When 14-year-old Peg thinks of her future, she hopes it will involve writing and travel—maybe a career in journalism or the Foreign Service. In the journal she’s required to keep for her English class, most of her entries are about her chaste crushes on her male classmates. When a student at a local college invites her to a frat party, she goes only to be drugged and raped by him and several of his friends. The next day, Peg begins to remember what happened, and her entire view of herself changes: “Actually, I’m beginning to have flashes of memory, some of the things I did and let them do to me. I did like it, at least some of it. I’m such a slut. Who will ever want me?” She soon fears that she’s pregnant. She runs away from home, hoping to get to Harrisburg to stay with a friend, but she quickly ends up with an older man named Nick. She stays with him for a while, taking drugs and becoming increasingly codependent, until she realizes that Nick is a pimp with a house full of girls working for him. Peg escapes and resumes her journey, traveling across the country, attaching herself to problematic men, and bouncing through the rest of the 1970s far from home. McGuinn switches between the perspectives of an older Peg looking back on events and the younger Peg who writes in her journal, creating a layered portrait that involves realistic uncertainties: “Time plays tricks on our memories and I didn’t write very much in my journal those days. I was drunk or stoned with Charlie most of the time.” In some ways, the novel is a brutal cautionary tale, showing how one mistake can spiral into a life-changing series of events. In another, however, it is a moving coming-of-age narrative about a girl who discovers herself amid extreme circumstances.

A nuanced yet plainly told novel about a runaway teen in the 1970s.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Durare Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2020

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