Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Publisher: Flatiron Books (Macmillan)
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source/Format: e-ARC approved by the publisher through Netgalley (DISCLAIMER–This is an ARC, so there may be differences from the final copy.)
**Huge thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for accepting my request to read this one!**
Told through alternating perspectives and flashbacks of the two main characters, Mina and Lynet, Girls Made of Snow and Glass is the enchanting, largely character-driven story of two women and the pivotal, defining moments of both of their lives.
All her life, Mina’s father has told her she could never possibly love or be loved by someone. Upon their relocation up north to Whitespring Castle, Mina is desperate to prove him wrong–not only out of spite but also for herself. After a chance encounter with the King, she comes up with a plan. There’s just one thing standing in her way: the King’s daughter, Lynet.
All her life, Lynet has been caught living in the shadows of the much beloved late Queen. People never fail to remind her of the uncanny, almost supernatural resemblance she bears to her mother. In fact, they seem to treat Lynet as if she were her mother and not her own person.
When tragedy strikes, both women must face some difficult decisions, as their strange and complicated bond is put to the test.
Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale.
If the intriguing title alone wasn’t enough, that pitch right there sold it for me. The title simply reeked–in the best possible way–of magic and fairy tale undertones, and this blurb just confirmed those suspicions. Fairy tale retellings, or really just any story that contains a hint of magic, are always at the top of my list. The promise of feminist themes was just the cherry on top–a big one, I may add. 😌
When I saw that I had been approved to read Girls, I was thrilled! From the first chapter alone, I immediately could tell it was going to be everything I wanted it to be. Fast forward by a couple of days and, oh man, I loved it. I loved it so much. 😭
My love for the book really stems from the characters, as it usually tends to do. I was attached to both protagonists pretty equally and appreciated their differences. I could easily relate to Lynet who, like me, on the cusp of adulthood, has so many questions hanging in the balance regarding her future. At the same time, I empathized with Mina and the walls–more like fortress–her insecurities have built over the years in her search for happiness and acceptance.
My favorite aspect of any retelling is when authors do away with overdone character archetypes–such as the evil, power-hungry queen and the innocent, naive princess who can do no wrong–and then completely reinvent them. I love finding out there’s more to a character than what was initially expected.
And that’s exactly what happened in Girls.
While I was caught up in the various dilemmas of the present time, I was also deeply absorbed in the characters’ (or more specifically Mina’s) pasts. I always appreciate seeing that journey of how a character got to where they are now, and more specifically what that journey reveals about their motives, the weight it adds to the characters’ present internal and external conflicts.
The only thing I love more than complex, well-done characters are the equally as complex, well-done relationships between them. The bond between Mina and Lynet is both a curious and multi-layered one that I deeply enjoyed exploring. (I need more relationships of the familial variety emphasized in the YA genre!) I was rooting for them from the very first moment they met.
I also adored the romance between Lynet and Nadia. Though it wasn’t a large part of the story and was kept very G-rated, I was instantly invested in Nadia’s character and Lynet’s adorable/awkward interactions with her that first love typically involves. Again, like with Mina and Lynet, their relationship comes with its own trials and issues that must be overcome to ultimately be made stronger.
Last but certainly not least, the magical elements! 😍 The imagery that the magical elements brought forth is exactly what I loved about fairy tales as a kid. I loved the whole premise of Mina and Lynet’s characters and their magical abilities/origins. I know I’m being vague and brief, but I think it’s best to go into this book knowing very little about it; it’s one of those books where you really feel like you’re discovering the story along with the characters.
Overall, Girls Made of Snow and Glass reminds me a lot of Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer–though it’s not fast-paced, it’s got captivating writing, engaging characters, and a fairy tale-like atmosphere and plot. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, pick up this book! It was so worth the read, and I will definitely be picking up my own copy, even with my shelves already overflowing with retellings–that’s how you know I really enjoyed it. 😊
*sighs* I’m failing so miserably at keeping up with my blog posts these days… Hopefully I can do better this month! 🤞🏼