I’ve been mulling on how to review Girls Made of Snow and Glass for a week.
There have been a lot of efforts over the years to revision Snow White. Add dwarves, subtract dwarves. Make Snow White evil. Give Regina The Queen backstory. The Nightmares and Fairytales comic version has the Queen literally steal Snow’s heart, and Snow becomes a monster who comes to steal it back (then she frolics off into the forest with the animals). Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories portrays the Queen as a tragic figure, a princess who was never saved. Manipulated by the Enchantress to do her will, Evly uses her ruthlessness and determination to try to save the love of her life (and screw anyone who gets in her way). She ends up trapped herself, and Snow ends up sharing her stepmother’s story to the other queens, because there’s nothing else that can be done for her, and understanding is all Snow can give to Evly now.
In Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Melissa Bashardoust does what some fairytale revisionists have tried before: focus on the relationship between Snow and The Queen. However, rather than adding a little development of their relationship to an overall love story about being rescued by a prince, Bashardoust sets the love between Snow (Here, Lynet) and The Queen (Mina) center stage. Following in importance are the relationships with their fathers, and Lynet’s relationship with her love interest, Nadia.
Juliet Takes a Breath
by Gabby Rivera
I’ve been looking forward to this one for some time. The idea of a coming-of-age story for a Puerto Rican babydyke going on a quest to discover herself is pretty amazing. It’s also something that seems like a no-brainer, given how many coming out stories exist. But what sets Juliet Takes a Breath apart from a lot of those stories is that JTaB doesn’t follow the general beats of that story. It isn’t focused on Juliet finding her true love (although she does get to have some romance on the side of her exploration). It’s about her finding how to be herself and about finding her community.
Last week has resulted in an even more intense discussion of the need for diverse books than usual. Between Handbook for Mortals attempting to scam the New York Times bestseller list and displacing, however briefuly, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give from #1 and bumping Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything off the list, the Linda Howard debacle over diversity in the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and an indignant sci-fi author on Twitter, Jon Del Arroz, arguing that trade publishing agents are only seeking LGBT+ books, we need to talk. The publishing industry is not a zero-sum games, and diverse authors are not stealing from “more mainstream” or so-called “more traditional” writers.