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“Photoshopped Poem. Some say the Before poem / had character. / This poem is much more attractive. / With the Healing Brush Tool / I took out most of the lines. / I left in a few / so it wouldn’t look unnatural.” One of my favorite selections from Christine Heppermann’s dark and sad poetry collection, Poisoned Apples. You can learn most of what you need to know from the cover of this little book: A moody, dark cover stained with red; a quote on the bottom calling the book “A bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth”, a summary on the dustjacket that states that the poems inside “place fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl.” But all of these clues still didn’t quite prepare me for the sad, eerie stories that Heppermann created. If this is a difficult time to be an adult woman (spoiler alert: it is), I can’t even what the world must feel like for a teen right now. Poisoned Apples gives a glimpse into that treacherous life with these poems, laden with temptation, anxiety, and disappointment. Some poems are classic stories or familiar characters reimagined in a modern day setting (Thumbelina’s Get-Tiny Cleanse, Gingerbread, Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day) while others are outcries of feminist outrage softened by the gauzy wrap of poetic license (BFF, Vindictive Punctuation, Sweet Nothings). Short, sweet, and disturbing. Also unnerving are the creepy and surreal black and white photographs opposite the poems, many with girls falling or being pulled, their faces obscured by their hair. Goosebumps. This collection is definitely YA, and I think would be best read along with an adult for discussion, questions, and venting. The book left me sad, furious, and unsettled, but I think that’s kind of the point. #ireadya #bookreview #fracturedfairytales #feminist #girlpower #poetry #youngadult #feminism