// Genre & Themes: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fairytale

// Editor & Publisher: Sarah Barley, Flatiron

// Trigger Warnings: torture [minor]

// Rep: Persian fantasy setting, bisexual main character, wlw romance


There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn reminded me that I love reading. It’s a beautifully written Persian fantasy that reads like a fairytale, with a plot that pushed me forward instead of pulling me along. It set Melissa Bashardoust up as an auto-buy author, as well as marking the book as a yearly reread.

I really resonated with Soraya while reading. I felt the same anger she held towards her family, and as the story went on I found myself in-sync with Soraya’s feelings. Melissa Bashardoust really knows how to connect with you emotionally, and because of it her characters read like real people.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is fast-paced, but it doesn’t rush you through the important details. I found myself perfectly content, but always ready to get back into the world.

I appreciated how Soraya’s bisexuality was represented. Soraya actively feels attracted to both a man and a woman in this book. Oftentimes when a main character is bisexual, they talk about attraction to a certain gender, but only have one active love interest.

But I really resonated with how Soraya had a chance to fall in love with both a man and a woman within this book. It was part of the reason why I connected to her as deeply as I did — she quite literally feels how I feel.

The main romance is between a teen girl a magical creature that’s significantly older, which is a trope I’m not a huge fan of. I got a little confused by the timeline, because it said that they were actually close in age, but then the timeline didn’t match up in my head and made the love interest seem way older.

But honestly, they’re cute and I like them. I’m guessing I just missed something since the book actively tells us they’re similar in age.

If you’re a fan of YA fairytale fantasy, this is your book. I truly think this is a book that everyone needs in their lives. I finished it and immediately started a reread (something that I never do). I only begrudgingly returned it to the library when it was due, and I plan to buy it for myself as soon as possible.

Photo by Providence Doucet | Buy on Bookshop.org | Find it on Storygraph

Disclaimer: the bookshop link is an affiliate link. I make a small commission when you buy though button.

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