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Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

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Once upon a time... you were a princess, or an orphan. A wicked witch, fairy godmother, prom queen, valedictorian, team captain, Big Bad Wolf, Little Bo Peep. But you are more than just a hero or a villain, cursed or charmed. You are everything in between. You are everything. In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful Once upon a time... you were a princess, or an orphan. A wicked witch, fairy godmother, prom queen, valedictorian, team captain, Big Bad Wolf, Little Bo Peep. But you are more than just a hero or a villain, cursed or charmed. You are everything in between. You are everything. In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful and provocative, deadly funny and deadly serious, this collection is one to read, to share, to treasure, and to come back to again and again.


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Once upon a time... you were a princess, or an orphan. A wicked witch, fairy godmother, prom queen, valedictorian, team captain, Big Bad Wolf, Little Bo Peep. But you are more than just a hero or a villain, cursed or charmed. You are everything in between. You are everything. In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful Once upon a time... you were a princess, or an orphan. A wicked witch, fairy godmother, prom queen, valedictorian, team captain, Big Bad Wolf, Little Bo Peep. But you are more than just a hero or a villain, cursed or charmed. You are everything in between. You are everything. In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful and provocative, deadly funny and deadly serious, this collection is one to read, to share, to treasure, and to come back to again and again.

30 review for Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    Feminist poetry! I was surprised by how much I liked this book. To be honest, I was seduced by that cover and the fabulous title and didn't really expect it to hold that much substance. But, after a slightly shaky start, I found myself wanting these poems to go on and on. Heppermann retells traditional fairy tales, legends and even biblical myths in her poems, incorporating metaphors for all the issues teen girls face - insecurities, sex, misogyny, eating disorders, etc. The poems were dark and ex Feminist poetry! I was surprised by how much I liked this book. To be honest, I was seduced by that cover and the fabulous title and didn't really expect it to hold that much substance. But, after a slightly shaky start, I found myself wanting these poems to go on and on. Heppermann retells traditional fairy tales, legends and even biblical myths in her poems, incorporating metaphors for all the issues teen girls face - insecurities, sex, misogyny, eating disorders, etc. The poems were dark and extremely compelling. I especially liked the idea behind "The First Anorexic" - a poem about Eve's first taste of forbidden fruit and the many women after her who would be obsessed with what they ate. I also thought "The Brief History of Feminism" and its clever use of the phrase "Simon Says" worked really well. It's also darkly comic at times: The dress code says we must cover ourselves in ample pants, skirts that reach well below our lascivious knees, polos buttoned over the rim of the canyon, a glimpse of which can send a boy plunging to such depths he may never climb back up to algebra. We say that if a hiker strays off the path, trips, and winds up crippled, is it really the canyon's fault? But the author sums up best what this little book of poetry is all about in the author's note at the end: If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren't always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for the bus or roaming the mall doesn't want anyone to know, or doesn't know how to tell anyone, that she is locked in a tower. Maybe she's a prisoner of a story she's heard all her life - that fairest means best, or that bruises prove she is worthy of love. But here's a great thing about stories: they can be retold. Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    I really enjoyed this! It was an interesting little read full of gripping poems & stunning photographs. feminist poetry ftw! While I enjoyed most of the poems, there were a few that we're just too all over the place for my liking. I really enjoyed this! It was an interesting little read full of gripping poems & stunning photographs. feminist poetry ftw! While I enjoyed most of the poems, there were a few that we're just too all over the place for my liking.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    This poetry collection takes a honest look on love, sex, food, and bodies. And it does so with dark, unsettling imageries that ultimately made it so unique. Though it was brilliantly exceptional and bizarre, it ultimately failed to impress me save for a few poems: If Tampons Were for Guys “Of course there are no pink wrappers, only camo. Forget Gentle Glide and pictures of pearls— the box reads Smooth Ride across the hood of a bitchin’ red Porsche. For pads with Wings, Kotex shows jet fighters. For Heavy This poetry collection takes a honest look on love, sex, food, and bodies. And it does so with dark, unsettling imageries that ultimately made it so unique. Though it was brilliantly exceptional and bizarre, it ultimately failed to impress me save for a few poems: If Tampons Were for Guys “Of course there are no pink wrappers, only camo. Forget Gentle Glide and pictures of pearls— the box reads Smooth Ride across the hood of a bitchin’ red Porsche. For pads with Wings, Kotex shows jet fighters. For Heavy Flow, ninjas surf a tsunami. For Scented, smiling blondes in bikinis enjoy sniffing a crotch. Panty Shields are now just Shields or maybe Boxer Armor. On the commercial, tanks roll through the bathroom, manned by scowling marines in white pants. Then it’s back to Monday Night Football, where both starting quarterbacks are on the DL. “Dysmenorrhea,” mutter the trainers. In other words, cramps.” The Little Mermaid “Even before I found the globe in his study and realized that this endless land is really just a few stray crusts drifting through the blue, my world had shrunk to the size of my tender new feet on the dance floor, each minuet like a harpooning, to the size of the satin pillow he lets me sleep on beside his bed, to the size of his eyes reflecting my eyes begging lovemeholdmedon’tleaveme, to the size of my mouth, this dead eel’s nest, open now while he feeds me oysters, or, as I used to call them, friends.” Rapunzel “How foolish I was to believe that crooning my name from below meant something more than pressing an elevator button. They all want to feel themselves rising higher. They all want the girl in the tower to pour herself into their hands. Who’s to say that, given a chance at lower altitude, I would be different from the rest? Today will be the day I refuse to lift my head from this damp pillow, far away from the comb and the brush and the pleading bodies always luring me down.” Nature Lesson “The dress code says we must cover ourselves in ample pants, skirts that reach well below our lascivious knees, polos buttoned over the rim of the canyon, a glimpse of which can send a boy plunging to such depths he may never climb back up to algebra. We say that if a hiker strays off the path, trips, and winds up crippled, is it really the canyon’s fault?” Overall, Poisoned Apples was a quick read, but failed to leave a lasting impression. However, the photographs scattered throughout really made for a more fascinating and haunting read: *Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Poisoned Apples, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils

  4. 5 out of 5

    ☆☽Erica☾☆

    I'm sorry to say but I wasn't at all impressed by this. Feminist poetry and fairytale retellings are totally my thing, so I should have liked this. But out of the fifty poems, I think I really enjoyed only two. My low rating here stems from what I think is a lack of originality in the poems. The ideas felt regurgitated and cliche. The author talks about how women are portrayed in the media and how women are taught to view themselves, incorporating eating disorders and self-harm into the mix. I fee I'm sorry to say but I wasn't at all impressed by this. Feminist poetry and fairytale retellings are totally my thing, so I should have liked this. But out of the fifty poems, I think I really enjoyed only two. My low rating here stems from what I think is a lack of originality in the poems. The ideas felt regurgitated and cliche. The author talks about how women are portrayed in the media and how women are taught to view themselves, incorporating eating disorders and self-harm into the mix. I feel like it was great of her to do that and I consider it very brave to write about such things. Yet, they just weren't working for me. I feel like this would appeal to a much younger audience as an easy-to-swallow presentment of these topics. The poems themselves felt amateur and weak, which was a major disappointment since the subjects have so much weight to them and could have resulted in really powerful poems. If you liked this, then that's great, I'm glad a cynical message of women in the media has been received well. If this didn't hit the mark for you or you felt this was too watered down, I would totally recommend any of Angela Carter's writing, specifically "The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steph Sinclair

    Christine Heppermann handles female issues in such a unique and interesting way in Poisoned Apples. Her poetic style is quirky, witty and deeply real, highlighting numerous problems with gender inequality girls face throughout their pubescent stage into adulthood. Keep in mind, however, that she also somehow manages to infuse these with classic fairy tales we grow up on. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and other themes like Prince Charming are merged with issues such as sex, Christine Heppermann handles female issues in such a unique and interesting way in Poisoned Apples. Her poetic style is quirky, witty and deeply real, highlighting numerous problems with gender inequality girls face throughout their pubescent stage into adulthood. Keep in mind, however, that she also somehow manages to infuse these with classic fairy tales we grow up on. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and other themes like Prince Charming are merged with issues such as sex, eating disorders, body image, social pressures, sexism, abuse and more. And as an added bonus we're treated to mesmerizing photographs like this: For the most part, I really felt like I could identify with many of the poems in one way or another, especially the ones on body image and the society's outrageous beauty standards for women through use of mainstream media. I love how she questions what beauty is and what it means to be a woman. But I supposed what I liked best was Heppermann's ability to convey these messages in very little words. Take, for example, 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.The way the poems are written are so very clever and smart. Some even made me chuckle a bit with her use of sometimes unusual places, phrases and items. Simon Says, the Abercrombie dressing room and even G.I. Joe's all seem to find themselves in the pages of Poisoned Apples. I've found myself re-reading some of my favorites at random times of the day and I seem to take something different away each time. Also, guys, THAT COVER. Now, I will says that there were some poems that completely went over my head, but that's mostly my fault for being genuinely terrible at poetry. Alas, even Steph Sinclair has her Kryptonite. That doesn't change the fact that this tiny book, only 128 pages, is probably one of the most memorable that I've read this year and I want as many of my friends to pick this novel up. It feels like this one could get easily overlooked at a bookstore and that's a real shame because Heppermann's bold style is bound to leave marks and open dialogue. It's not to be missed. ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review. No monies were exchanged. More reviews and other other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    DNF at 70%. This book wasn't bad, it just wasn't good. The fairytale theme became quite artificial and forced, and nothing really connected with me because it all rode on clichés. This discusses important topics like eating disorders and sexual abuse, and the photography in it was gorgeous, but compared to poetry that discusses the same topics, it's really not special at all. DNF at 70%. This book wasn't bad, it just wasn't good. The fairytale theme became quite artificial and forced, and nothing really connected with me because it all rode on clichés. This discusses important topics like eating disorders and sexual abuse, and the photography in it was gorgeous, but compared to poetry that discusses the same topics, it's really not special at all.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ⊱ Poppy ⊰

    DNF @35% I just couldn't take it anymore. This, this is not a poetry, but What was this???? RTC DNF @35% I just couldn't take it anymore. This, this is not a poetry, but What was this???? RTC

  8. 5 out of 5

    Louisa

    Never has it been a more appropriate time to read some feminist poetry (bless the goddess of perfection that is Emma Watson). Well-written feminist poetry based on fairy tales and interspersed with black-and-white photos! They're all relatively easy to digest, but I had to go back and reread the whole book just because they're so subtly hard-hitting. If the source of inspiration doesn't intrigue you, maybe this will: Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day After the kiss and the trip to the castle comes the s Never has it been a more appropriate time to read some feminist poetry (bless the goddess of perfection that is Emma Watson). Well-written feminist poetry based on fairy tales and interspersed with black-and-white photos! They're all relatively easy to digest, but I had to go back and reread the whole book just because they're so subtly hard-hitting. If the source of inspiration doesn't intrigue you, maybe this will: Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day After the kiss and the trip to the castle comes the showering, shaving, shampooing, conditioning, detangling, trimming, moussing, blow-drying, brushing, curling, de-frizzing, extending, texturizing, waxing, exfoliating, moisturizing, tanning, medicating, plucking, concealing, smoothing, bronzing, lash lengthening, plumping, polishing, glossing, deodorizing, perfuming, reducing, cinching, controlling, padding, accessorizing, visualizing, meditating, powdering, primping, luminizing, correcting, re-curling, re-glossing, and spraying. No wonder that hundred-year nap just doesn’t seem long enough. Thoroughly recommended, even if you aren't a fan of poetry.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Sorry, but this was just plain bad. I have a big big problem with "modern" or "postmodern" novels/poetry of such kind. I refuse to acknowledge it as sophisticated literature, I am not sorry, this is my personal and very subjective opinion. Many love it, and it's fine, but I personally hate it. I have tried to read various works, and no, we don't get along - such writing and I. In order to make sense and to create beautiful imagery one has to write at least slightly longer and most definitely bet Sorry, but this was just plain bad. I have a big big problem with "modern" or "postmodern" novels/poetry of such kind. I refuse to acknowledge it as sophisticated literature, I am not sorry, this is my personal and very subjective opinion. Many love it, and it's fine, but I personally hate it. I have tried to read various works, and no, we don't get along - such writing and I. In order to make sense and to create beautiful imagery one has to write at least slightly longer and most definitely better connected lines. Sudden stops and lines that come out of nowhere do not do it for me, because I will not mule over a line of plain language for half an hour in order to try to understand what the author tried to convey. As somebody who can spend several hours analysing one of Shakespeare's shorter sonnets I am not exactly the person to chicken out from complicated writing, and that's the problem. This was overly simplistic and I see it the way that the author set the goal much too high or people are overinterpreting things. No, this is not feminist poetry to me. No, this is not good poetry either. No, I did not like the use of fairytales and characters although I am usually very open to it. In this case, however, the style and lack of atmosphere and proper writing totally spoiled what I might have liked. Done with my rant. Thank you for reading. Not recommended, if you want to read good poetry grab some of the older poets, from 15th century on.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Let me start by saying the cover of Poisoned Apples is very eye catching and I liked some of the photographs found throughout the book however the poems were just something else all together. And they definitely weren't for me. Honestly, I'm not sure what the author's intentions were or what she wanted her audience to take away from this collection but after a hundred pages of poems about eating disorders and boobs, I closed the book feeling depressed. Let me start by saying the cover of Poisoned Apples is very eye catching and I liked some of the photographs found throughout the book however the poems were just something else all together. And they definitely weren't for me. Honestly, I'm not sure what the author's intentions were or what she wanted her audience to take away from this collection but after a hundred pages of poems about eating disorders and boobs, I closed the book feeling depressed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paige Bookdragon

    Look at the cover. Isn't it gorgeous? Now, I almost gave this book a two-star because (my fault) I thought this book is a poem about fairytale retellings in a morbid contemporary way. Which in a way, is correct. But this book consists of poems that talks about feminism that infuses fairytales, so I added one star in my rating. It is amazing isn't it? But I got the ARC of this book and (my fault, really) I was expecting a different kind of poems. I'm not a poem expert seeing that I love haikus lik Look at the cover. Isn't it gorgeous? Now, I almost gave this book a two-star because (my fault) I thought this book is a poem about fairytale retellings in a morbid contemporary way. Which in a way, is correct. But this book consists of poems that talks about feminism that infuses fairytales, so I added one star in my rating. It is amazing isn't it? But I got the ARC of this book and (my fault, really) I was expecting a different kind of poems. I'm not a poem expert seeing that I love haikus like He worshipped his love / Teasing her until she came / At the slightest touch Oops. Naughty me. But I did enjoy some of the poems in this one and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading Christine Heppermann's work.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    Poetry is always a hard one for me to rate and I don't enjoy most of it but I have to say this one was pretty badass. This is a look at the culture of beauty and how we treat/view/objectify/and harm the young women with our words, or media, and our behavior toward them. This is collection discusses a lot about self-harm and eating disorders about self-loathing and sexual abuse. If any of those things are triggering for you, please use caution reading this collection or avoid it entirely. I found Poetry is always a hard one for me to rate and I don't enjoy most of it but I have to say this one was pretty badass. This is a look at the culture of beauty and how we treat/view/objectify/and harm the young women with our words, or media, and our behavior toward them. This is collection discusses a lot about self-harm and eating disorders about self-loathing and sexual abuse. If any of those things are triggering for you, please use caution reading this collection or avoid it entirely. I found it to be raw and beautiful in a really harrowing way. It's also a memento from a very fantastic writing retreat and I'll treasure it on my shelves.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I love poetry. And not just the classics like Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman. I also want to explore modern poetry so when I stumbled across this little book (really, it's tiny, 50 poems on 110 pages), I had to give it a try. First things first: this collection is AMAZING. Really. Christine Heppermann manages to combine fairy tales with poetry AND modern-day topics. The first poem, "The Woods", introduces the theme of this book best when saying "... No need for a bunch of trees. You can lose you I love poetry. And not just the classics like Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman. I also want to explore modern poetry so when I stumbled across this little book (really, it's tiny, 50 poems on 110 pages), I had to give it a try. First things first: this collection is AMAZING. Really. Christine Heppermann manages to combine fairy tales with poetry AND modern-day topics. The first poem, "The Woods", introduces the theme of this book best when saying "... No need for a bunch of trees. You can lose your way anywhere." Thus, we have a multitude of modern-day topics such as anorexia, (toxic) friendships, love, sex, abuse - all with a slight touch of fairy-tale-dust, mixed into poems. My favourite poem? This: Nature Lesson The dress code says we must cover ourselves in ample pants, skirts that reach well below our lascivious knees, polos buttoned over the rim of the canyon, a glimpse of which can send a boy plunging to such depths he may never climb back up to algebra. We say that if a hiker strays off the path, trips, and winds up crippled, is it really the canyon's fault? Wonderful, isn't it? What completes this little gem is that the book, as small as it is, comes as a hardcover with many black-and-white photographs. And these photographs are really cool. Some modern, some fairy tale-ish, all quite eerie and definitely beautiful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    Three and a half stars. This is a super-quick read! I zipped through it in one evening. I really admire the raw honesty and insight in these poems. Some of them feel desperately, frighteningly true to what it must be like to be anorexic. And they all hit hard on the body messages all girls are bombarded with -- that our bodies are always flawed, just because they're female bodies. Luckily, there are also some humorous notes to break up the grimness, so the book as a whole doesn't feel too heavy Three and a half stars. This is a super-quick read! I zipped through it in one evening. I really admire the raw honesty and insight in these poems. Some of them feel desperately, frighteningly true to what it must be like to be anorexic. And they all hit hard on the body messages all girls are bombarded with -- that our bodies are always flawed, just because they're female bodies. Luckily, there are also some humorous notes to break up the grimness, so the book as a whole doesn't feel too heavy and dark. The poems are arranged with a collection of photographs, most of which are pretty interesting all by themselves, although I naturally found myself searching for how they reflected the words on the page. The biggest minus for me with this book is that I can be pretty dense about poetry and metaphors, so there are a few poems I'm pretty sure I just didn't get and can't appreciate. Overall, though, I thought the collection is very accessible. I'm impressed with how unusual this book is -- it seems to be its own little niche. I'll definitely give it another read-through before I return it to the library.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Konstantin

    Nonsensical, bland and average - I really did not get what could possibly be appealing here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    I got a copy of this to review through NetGalley. I was drawn by the premise of poems merged with fairy tale retellings, since I love both. It was okay, but in the end it just felt like something was missing here...the imagery just wasn’t there and the poems focused on the same theme over and over. This was a very short collection of poems that talk mostly about teenage life and girls and the expectation society has of them. Some of this is related to fairy tales that have been given a modern twi I got a copy of this to review through NetGalley. I was drawn by the premise of poems merged with fairy tale retellings, since I love both. It was okay, but in the end it just felt like something was missing here...the imagery just wasn’t there and the poems focused on the same theme over and over. This was a very short collection of poems that talk mostly about teenage life and girls and the expectation society has of them. Some of this is related to fairy tales that have been given a modern twist. There is a lot of focus on how girls look externally (requirements of beauty, anorexia, etc) and how this can hide and cause some serious problems. These problems aren’t discussed subtly or with some sort of parallel imagery to fairy tales like I had hoped. They are pretty in your face...I like a little bit more subtlety and beauty in my poetry. While the book does deliver a commentary of female position in society, I thought the poetry was a bit immature sounding. The imagery wasn’t very good and the poetry didn’t flow all that well The whole collection ended up being more “poetry light for the teen feminist” than a revolutionary social commentary. It didn’t really shine as fairy tale retellings either. There are some very eerie photographs throughout (I did not see all of these because they were not all included in the ARC I received). I actually enjoyed these gothically creepy photographs more than the poetry. For me those and the afterward were the best parts of the book. The afterward was actually a lot more interesting than the poems themselves. Hepperman goes into a discussion on how fairy tales reflected the treatment of women in the societies that the fairy tales come from. She says fairy tales were women’s way of having a say and telling about the torments they endured when they really didn’t have a way to speak out. She also discusses how there is a fine line between fairy tales and what people actually have endured. Overall the poetry here was a bit disappointing. That being said I really enjoyed the photography throughout and I also really like reading the Afterward. This was a very quick read of feminist fairy tale poetry. Unfortunately the poetry is lacking some in depth, creativity and doesn’t flow all that well. This was more of a light fairy tale feminist read aimed at the teenage reader. I was not overly impressed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Elizabeth

    2.5 stars (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) This was a collection of fairly odd poems, and it all got very repetitive as the book went on. Basically every poem in here was about eating disorders and being over-weight, and while I could maybe put up with that for a short while, it all just got too much. I mean how many times do we need to hear about girls comfort eating? How many times do we have to hear about 2.5 stars (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) This was a collection of fairly odd poems, and it all got very repetitive as the book went on. Basically every poem in here was about eating disorders and being over-weight, and while I could maybe put up with that for a short while, it all just got too much. I mean how many times do we need to hear about girls comfort eating? How many times do we have to hear about throwing up or not eating at all? I mean the first couple of poems got the point across, so the rest were basically repetitive and redundant. Considering how few words there were in this book, it certainly seemed to drag on a long time. I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about poetry, so I can’t give you any idea of how poetic or technically brilliant these poems were, but I can tell you that as a reader of YA fiction, this just didn’t cut it for me. 5 out of 10.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah DiMento

    Woohoo I finished my 2016 reading challenge just in time! This book of feminist poems seemed promising, but ultimately felt a little cliche and unoriginal. However there were a couple of gems and the photography is stunning. Probably my favorite part was the author's note at the end: “If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren't always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for Woohoo I finished my 2016 reading challenge just in time! This book of feminist poems seemed promising, but ultimately felt a little cliche and unoriginal. However there were a couple of gems and the photography is stunning. Probably my favorite part was the author's note at the end: “If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren't always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for the bus or roaming the mall doesn't want anyone to know, or doesn't know how to tell anyone, that she is locked in a tower. Maybe she's a prisoner of a story she's heard all her life- that fairest means best, or that bruises prove she is worthy of love.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann Publisher: Greenwillow Books Publication Date: September 23, 2014 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale. Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann Publisher: Greenwillow Books Publication Date: September 23, 2014 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale. Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking." Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again. What I Liked: I don't think there are too many YA books written entirely in poetry. There are plenty in verse, but not poetry. This book consists of fifty poems about the life of the modern teenage girl. I love poetry, so when I saw that this one was written entirely in poems, I was all over this. Plus, fairy tale retellings! Each poem is a fairy tale retelling. I don't think I'm going to summarize fifty poems, but basically, each one tells a different portion of a teenager girl's life. Eating disorders, beauty, sexuality, romance, confidence, parents, alcohol... Heppermann hits all of the topics that most people think relate to teenagers. By no means do all of these things relate to all teenage girls. I don't have an eating disorder, I don't have horrible parents, I don't drink, I don't hook up with random people, I'm a confident person, I couldn't care less about makeup and beauty flaws and whatnot... basically, the content of each poem had nothing to do with my life, or me. However, I loved reading each one. I love seeing what other teen girls *might* be going through, their lives so very different from mine. The writing is beautiful. It's poetry, and the writing is so lyrical and poetic. Each poem has a different mood and tone, but the rhyme scheme is pretty consistent. I LOVE this one line: "You can get lost anywhere." (somewhere in the first 25%) I love how each poem and each story is also a fairy tale retelling. Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Princess and the Frog... there are fifty retellings, which is awesome! I confess, I didn't know all of them, but I knew most of them. I do love Grimm's Fairy Tales. *winks* The author's note was awesomeeeee, I never thought about what the author said! What I Did Not Like: Two things: I didn't connect to the "modern teenage girl" that Heppermann portrayed in her poems, and I didn't understand some of the poems. Let me explain. While I totally think that this book is relevant, and that each poem is relevant and its message important, I didn't relate. I didn't connect. Call me a snob, "perfect", whatever, I don't care. My life isn't like the girl's life portrayed by these poems. So I didn't connect. Again, NOT saying that these poems aren't relevant or significant. Second thing: some of the poems, especially towards the end, were confusing. Maybe I wasn't familiar with the particular fairy tale. Most of the time though, I was, but I was confused about the story. I didn't quite grasp the message of the poem, or understand it. This happened with poems mostly towards the end of the book. I wanted to know what Heppermann was trying to say in these poems... but I couldn't figure it out. This is coming from an "expert" poem analyst (I'm making up that title, but seriously, I excel when it comes to poetry and reading between the lines and layers and whatnot). Would I Recommend It: I encourage people to read any and all poetry books, because I absolutely LOVE poetry, and most of the time, people don't read enough poetry. HOWEVER, I will say that you can't really read this one as fiction. You can't go in thinking that each poem will be connected, that one will continue the story set by the previous one. Maybe that was supposed to be the case, but it didn't really turn out that way for me. I still recommend this one though. Rating: 3 stars. More like 3.5 stars. Not because I didn't like it enough to give it four or five stars. But more like this shouldn't be read as fiction, it will not be easy to relate to for probably most bookworms (generalization here), and it gets confusing towards the end. WONDERFUL poems though!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This poetry collection is AWESOME. But what makes it even more excellent, aside from the content (these are feminist fairy tales), is that this is a mixed media work. There are really intriguing photos to accompany the poems. I read an advanced copy and need to pick this up in final form to see the photos at their best. More to come.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rida Imran

    The cover for this is absolutely beautiful. I love it. Everything else. I hated it. I went into this book expecting whimsical fairy tale type feminist flowing poetry. Instead what i got was this rigid poetry that was too hard to my palate. I did not like it at all.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Medini

    This collection of feminist poems, with its gorgeous cover and a tempting promise of fairy tale re-tellings, beckoned me closer as soon as I heard of it. I had sky high expectations which unfortunately weren’t fulfilled, mainly ‘coz the poems I liked were much, much less in number compared to the poems I was indifferent toward, or the ones I didn’t really get. The poems, targeted at young girls and teenagers, resonate with the sordid state of affairs in today’s world: eating disorders, body dysmo This collection of feminist poems, with its gorgeous cover and a tempting promise of fairy tale re-tellings, beckoned me closer as soon as I heard of it. I had sky high expectations which unfortunately weren’t fulfilled, mainly ‘coz the poems I liked were much, much less in number compared to the poems I was indifferent toward, or the ones I didn’t really get. The poems, targeted at young girls and teenagers, resonate with the sordid state of affairs in today’s world: eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorders, fat shaming, sexism, social pressures and insecurities, among others. They draw wide inspiration from the most popular children’s stories. (view spoiler)[ notably, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Red Riding Hood, Little Miss Muffet, Bo Peep, Goldilocks, Princess and the Pea, The Frog Prince, Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man and others with which I wasn’t familiar. (hide spoiler)] My favorite ones were: The Never Ending Story The Wicked Queen’s Legacy Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day Photoshopped poem Blow your house in BFF Retelling Vindictive Punctuation You go, Girl And my favorite, Nature Lesson, ‘The dress code says we must cover ourselves in ample pants, Skirts that reach well below our lascivious knees, Polos buttoned over the rim of the canyon, A glimpse of which can send a boy to such depths He may never climb back up To algebra. We say That if a hiker strays off the path, trips, and winds up crippled, Is it really the canyon’s fault?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paras2

    Even one star is too generous. What damnation was this? the poems, more like strings of nonsense, lacked art, aim and honestly it was just like an angry woman belly-aching about men. -__- there's a fine line between realism and downright backwashing something and this work clearly crossed it. another failure to make me hate moder poetry (even if u can call this modern poetry) Even one star is too generous. What damnation was this? the poems, more like strings of nonsense, lacked art, aim and honestly it was just like an angry woman belly-aching about men. -__- there's a fine line between realism and downright backwashing something and this work clearly crossed it. another failure to make me hate moder poetry (even if u can call this modern poetry)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    This was a really quick read for me, some of the poems in this book were a bit strange, but all of them were good. I'm not a huge poetry person but this book was really good. This was a really quick read for me, some of the poems in this book were a bit strange, but all of them were good. I'm not a huge poetry person but this book was really good.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Callie *Fights Censorship*

    This wasn't what I was expecting but it was still really good. I thought this was going to be a collection of dark fairy tale re-tellings in verse. What it really is, is a collection of poems about being a teenage girl mixed with fairy tale characters and stories to create a strange tone where the line between fantasy and reality are blurred. The points and topics in this book are biting and jarring providing commentary on what it is like to be a young woman. Many of the poems revolve around body This wasn't what I was expecting but it was still really good. I thought this was going to be a collection of dark fairy tale re-tellings in verse. What it really is, is a collection of poems about being a teenage girl mixed with fairy tale characters and stories to create a strange tone where the line between fantasy and reality are blurred. The points and topics in this book are biting and jarring providing commentary on what it is like to be a young woman. Many of the poems revolve around body image, forced gender roles, and the dark parts of growing up that people don't usually like to talk about and they definitely don't mention in Disney movies. Fantasy- Reality- I can't say that each and every poem was a winner, but I can say that the majority were insightful, thoughtful, and clever. This book has something to say and there were so many lines that punched me right in the gut. The photographs that accompany the poetry are also interesting and dark and work well to create an interesting tone and message. Gingerbread I knew I had to get out of there before the icing cracked and they discovered that I'm burnt around the edges, doughy in the center, that what they thought was sugar is salt. If I was a good girl, if I could satisfy their cravings, if every dream in my misshapen head didn't bite, I might have stayed at the table. Wouldn't you run, too, from such voracious love?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liza Wiemer

    General comments: Great cover with the river of red fabric for the cloak worn by a young woman. Symbolic and powerful. Stunning artwork alongside Christine Heppermann’s poems. My review in free verse: Bite and taste Poisoned Apples stuffed down girls throats by society, advertisement, the clothes on mannequins selling sexuality, diet aids, beauty. Rebel against stereotypes, Stand up for feminism. Take a good long look in the mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest queen of all. See how we’re brainwashed to beli General comments: Great cover with the river of red fabric for the cloak worn by a young woman. Symbolic and powerful. Stunning artwork alongside Christine Heppermann’s poems. My review in free verse: Bite and taste Poisoned Apples stuffed down girls throats by society, advertisement, the clothes on mannequins selling sexuality, diet aids, beauty. Rebel against stereotypes, Stand up for feminism. Take a good long look in the mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest queen of all. See how we’re brainwashed to believe so little about ourselves as girls, women. Thank you very much fairy tales. Damsels in distress we’re NOT! Welcome to the real world filled with Poisoned Apples. Poisoned Apples is a brilliant must-read, critical for both male and female young adults. I hope teachers in upper middle school and high schools will have the courage to put this in the hands of students and utilize it for a strong social discussion of society’s pressures caused by stereotypes and negative self-image. A clever, revealing, heartbreaking, honest window into beauty and society through a retelling of fairy tales. Deep gratitude to Hannah McBride of the Irish Banana Review for putting together and including me in this blog tour. Thank you to Greenwillow Books for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review and my participation in the Poison Apples Blog Tour.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Waffles - Kelsey

    Once upon a time.... Those four words have sustained little girls all their live into believing that all they have to do is sing in the woods, be beautiful, courageous, have patience and be kind to others, you will have a wonderful happy ending and a most wonderful man in your life. Then the little girls grow up to be hard working women in the hard world and found out that all those fairy tale stories were..... WRONG!!!!!!!!! You don't always get Prince Charming. You sometimes get his evil twin; his Once upon a time.... Those four words have sustained little girls all their live into believing that all they have to do is sing in the woods, be beautiful, courageous, have patience and be kind to others, you will have a wonderful happy ending and a most wonderful man in your life. Then the little girls grow up to be hard working women in the hard world and found out that all those fairy tale stories were..... WRONG!!!!!!!!! You don't always get Prince Charming. You sometimes get his evil twin; his delusional cousin, and lazy nephew but some hardly ever see Prince Charming. Also it's kind of hard to be kind to others when they are not kind to you...patience have left the building and will never return....some don't live in the woods and you really don't want that woman to sing....courageous is frowned upon in this world and what really is beautiful anymore? Christine Heppermann sees what real young girls have to go through everyday and it's not all fairy-lovey-dovey stuff. So instead of showing fairy tales, Christine shows them what really happens in the world to young adults. What really is out there and what we woman can do about it. Sometimes we have to be shown the truth...no matter how much it might hurt us, it will make us stronger. If you loved fairy tales as much as I, then you definitely need to read this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donalyn

    Disturbing and brilliant.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie H

    This book I found some what difficult to understand. Poisnoned Apples is mostly geared towards teenage girls. That was one thing I really did enjoy about the book. The issue that I kept having was that she didn't make her poems flow when she talked about the fairytales aspect of it. In result to that I found it kinda difficult to read. But she did talk about some topics that some people don't want to talk about, which made me happy. This book I found some what difficult to understand. Poisnoned Apples is mostly geared towards teenage girls. That was one thing I really did enjoy about the book. The issue that I kept having was that she didn't make her poems flow when she talked about the fairytales aspect of it. In result to that I found it kinda difficult to read. But she did talk about some topics that some people don't want to talk about, which made me happy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    I’m really on the fence about how to rate this one. The poems are so-so, but this book is filled with arresting images and critique of how our culture treats young girls. The author uses fairy tales as a basis for poetry that reflects challenges and fears teens face.

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