Literary Friday: Kill Me Softly

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

Kill Me Softly is a contemporary fairy tale retelling that, frankly, rocks. It follows Mirabelle, but interweaves multiple (Grimm's-style, not Disney-style) fairy tale tropes and characters. It's bittersweet, with some clever moments of language and self-aware references. It's one of those rare YA coming-of-age stories that is incredibly spot on. 

There are parallels, even with the magic in the story, to real world abusive relationships, to the hard choices we make as adults, and to the nature of sacrifice. It's almost difficult to call it YA, because it's got much more depth than most YA stories that I've read. 

This book actually emotionally affected me, which is always a bonus. And I'll be reading any of Sarah Cross' future books. Also, it bears saying that the audiobook version, narrated by Kim Mai Guest, is excellent.

I highly recommend this book to fans of fairytale retellings, true coming-of-age stories, tales of romance and magic, folks who enjoy teenage characters who act like actual teenagers, deliciously flawed but courageous female protagonists, and basically everyone.

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