Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Bloomsbury YA / Bloomsbury
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
It’s been 200 years since Cinderella met Prince Charming, but for the young women of Mersailles, life is no fairy tale. Teen girls are required to attend an Annual Ball, and those not selected for marriage are “forfeit,” never to be seen again. Rejected by her childhood love, Erin, Sophia escapes the Ball and searches for a way to end the King’s toxic patriarchal rule forever.
This is an entertaining reimagining of a classic fairy tale featuring a black, queer heroine. Sophia is a relatable and sympathetic character, who struggles with pleasing her parents and living up to the kingdom’s rules, which effectively forbid same-sex relationships. Readers familiar with the Disney version of Cinderella will be fascinated to learn how the “true” story differs from the tale that all girls in the kingdom are required to learn. Tantalizing bites of this tale are revealed throughout the book, as well as tidbits about other characters, including the Fairy Godmother, Gabrielle (Cinderella’s last heir and Sophia’s love interest), and King Manford. There’s plenty of action to keep readers engaged, including a dramatic trek through the outer limits of the kingdom, various bouts of magical mayhem, and an intense finale.
Hand this to fans of fractured fairy tales, like Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreakers series, and readers eager for feminist takes on the past, such as Cynthia Hand’s The Lady Janies series.
–Kathleen J. Barker