Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann


20359699A powerful and provocative collection of fifty free-verse poems juxtaposing fairy tales with the life of a modern teenage girl. Inspired by the stories we grow up on, but presented with the piercing truth of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a book for every young woman. Includes evocative black-and-white photographs throughout.

“Simply phenomenal. Heppermann’s honest voice grabs the reader with urgency. This collection is a champion for teens and adults who see our world as an advertisement for perfection that doesn’t exist. Readers will want to read these poems aloud over and over again.”—A. S. King, Printz Honor author of Reality Boy and Ask the Passengers

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. Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-esteem. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power, there for the taking. In fifty free-verse 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, 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 photographers, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.


My Review:

Ok….here’s the thing: I really wanted to like this book. However, the description and the cover led me to believe that it was going to be poetry about fairy tales. I guess, in a way, someone might be able to see the relationship between the poems, pictures, and fairy tales. I, however, did not. I don’t understand why this is being called a fairy tale retelling. This is definitely more of a contemporary, feminist poetry book. So, I definitely feel a little cheated and lied to.

Another thing I don’t understand is why this book is going to be released in hardback for almost $20. This book is only 128 pages, and I read half of the book in 30 minutes. Maybe I’m missing something? I definitely don’t understand what’s going on with this book.

The poetry itself didn’t blow my mind. I didn’t feel the feels or cry the tears. I didn’t feel much of anything. To be fair, I’m not the biggest fan of poetry. However, I do appreciate Ellen Hopkins’ work, and the poetry in this book came nowhere close to that level. I appreciated the fact that the poetry took on a feminist approach and detailed the struggles of females. On the negative side of that, though, I feel that women were almost made out to be victims. Another thing, too, is that this book is pretty much about the females. I’m not saying that men won’t read and appreciate the book, but I didn’t like how it significantly leaned toward one specific gender.

I read an EARC of this on my Nook, so the picture quality is hard for me to judge. Some of the pictures didn’t come in very clearly and some weren’t even there yet. That’s going to be very different in the finished copy of the book. The pictures that came in clearly, I found very confusing and sloppy. It almost seemed like pictures just thrown in for a classroom assignment. I need to stress that I’m not a fan of poetry and art. There are going to be people who really appreciate those aspects of this book.

Overall, I wasn’t a fan. I DNFd it half way through the book. I was really annoyed that I could have finished the whole thing in probably under and hour, and I was especially annoyed that I didn’t get to read about what I expected to read. Originally, I was very excited to read a fairy tale poetry book. I’m sorry, but these were not fairy tales. I’m just a little confused by the whole thing.


Pages: 128

Publication Date: September 23rd 2014 

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Rating: DNF