At the opening of Sarah Prineas’ “Ash & Bramble,” Pin wakes up in a fortress, dirty, cold, and with no memory of her past. She’s immediately thrust into hard labor as a seamstress and days pass in a blur as she and other women sew stitch after stitch after stitch. But there’s a spark in Pin that whispers to her that she can escape, she can find the truth, and she can save herself.
It’s only after meeting Shoe, a shoemaker (naturally) who also works in the fortress, under the iron hand of the Fairy Godmother, that Pin realizes whatever world she was dropped into has to be shattered in order to save its people from dire consequences. But when Pin and Shoe actually manage to run away, the world outside of those brambled walls turns out to be just as dangerous as what was held within. Pin must harness that strength she feels within and rescue not just herself, but the man she’s falling in love with and the community that has forgotten what it once stood for.
With the huge variety of fairy tale retellings that can be found in Teen Fiction, I was blown away by the originality of this one. Penelope (AKA Pin) is a “version” of Cinderella who wants no part of a fate that really isn’t her own. The entire story is a rebellion against the fairy tales we’ve all grown up with, and it breaks through a cookie cutter mold in the most satisfying way. If you’re looking to stick it to the same old stories you’ve always known, and want a heroine that is fiercely independent and doesn’t want or need a prince to define herself or save the world, then this story just may be (and excuse the pun) the shoe that fits.
You can put “Ash & Bramble” on hold in our catalog right now. If you have to wait, be sure to check out “You Might Also Like These…” at the bottom of the book’s catalog page.