The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Fairy Tales & Folklore

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan

I picked up this book because 1. it has a full moon on the cover. I’m a complete sucker for a moon and as I have yet to be steered wrong by this, it will continue to be an indicator of a great story to me. And 2. I am adoring this retelling trend YA is on right now. Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology had me swiftly plucking this from the arc box. Other favorite motifs include: unearthly fireflies, a mysterious and magical book, & unexplainable “natural” happenings. The romance between Luna and Hunter is so sweet and swoon-worthy and doesn’t veer outside the plot (which is a pet peeve of mine).The story takes place in the early 90s which I forget until someone mentions a windbreaker, lol. I learned SO MUCH about Chinese versus Taiwanese culture–I never knew there was/is an identity issue and found it fascinating as Pan expertly weaves it into the Romeo & Juliet narrative. And speaking of R&J, the closer I got to the ending, the more anxious I was about how close to the play Pan would go. No spoilers here, but the ending is chef’s kiss.

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316464055,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Medusa by Jessie Burton

Burton’s feminist retelling of Medusa is filled with wonderful illustrations, and a story with which we’re all somewhat familiar. Medusa has been exiled to a remote island with her two sisters. But they are immortal and have wings, so Medusa’s existence is fairly lonely. But one day, a beautiful boy named Perseus arrives by boat and he and Medusa strike up a friendship, talking while each is on the other side of a giant rock. They each find themselves heartbroken, telling the other their story.

Medusa by Jessie Burton, (List Price: $19.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9781547607594, January 2022)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson

This book felt like a fever dream in all the wildest ways. From comedic to angering, this book covered an abundance of feelings and topics that made it whole. A fun and much needed adaptation to a classic fairytale. Will stay with you a long time after reading.

Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson, (List Price: $17.95, Haymarket Books, 9781642595765, January 2022)

Reviewed by Stephanie Carrion, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

How to Break an Evil Curse by Laura Morrison

The idea of a twisted fairy tale is nothing new, but this book’s “dear reader” style and the changes it chooses to make to the traditional format are absolutely fantastic. I absolutely devoured this book. I was laughing one minute, and holding my breath in terror the next! If you like modern interpretations of classic stories, with curses, ghosts, princesses, with a healthy dose of laughter in between – read this book now!

How to Break an Evil Curse by Laura Morrison, (List Price: 18.95, Black Spot Books, 9781733599481, July 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

The chosen one goes off to magic school and heroically fights in an epic battle. You’ve heard that story a million times before. But have you ever wanted the snarky take, the irreverent, self-aware version that flips these tropes upside down and lovingly pokes holes in some of the logical gaps in the genre’s conventions? Clever, refreshing, and full of heart, this hilarious adventure full of pesky magical creatures, golden boy warriors, angsty nerds, and elfin knights will leave you thinking that you might be perfectly alright living in this (mermaidless) land.

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (List Price: $16, Big Mouth House, 9781618731661, 8/6/2019)

Reviewed by Julie Jarema, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I finally had the privilege to read this legendary trilogy while forced into quarantine, and I’m sorry I waited this long. The world of the Grisha, the characters, and the villain was amazing and immersive. It only made me want to dive into the rest of the novels set in this world.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (List Price: $10.99, Square Fish, 9781250027436, 5/7/2013)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

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