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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Until Iris moved next door, Milla had never met a person from town, let alone a girl her own age. Her life on the family farm was one of work, duty, unanswered questions, and prayers to keep the demon at bay. Yet despite the family's precautions, this vengeful spirit takes control of Iris, like it has of countless girls in town, and Milla grows determined to save her newfound friend. Van Arsdale coils tension within her prose, winding it tighter as Milla learns the truth about the curse plaguing the town and the role she must play in lifting it. The palpable fear and paranoia surrounding demon-possessed girls easily brings to mind Salem's hysteria-fueled witch trials and is further heightened by fantasy elements that render this demon real not to mention droves of snakes. The primary narrative is devoted to Milla's journey of identity and personal transformation, but it is strongly informed by sibling bonds, friendship, and themes of vengeance and forgiveness. A dark, magic-infused story lit by bravery and hope.--Julia Smith Copyright 2018 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 7-10-The myth of Medusa is revisited in this haunting retelling. Milla resents her life of servitude on her family's isolated farm and balks at the idea of conforming to her parents' selfish wishes. Most women of Milla's acquaintance live compliant lives, serving the needs of their husbands. Meanwhile, the superstitious villagers tremble in fear of a demon's curse, which manifests itself as reptilian skin and snakes in the hair and results in the loss of its victims' souls. The arrival of a newcomer, Iris, offers lonely Milla something she's never had: a true friend. But Iris bears a dark secret-she's already been afflicted by the curse. When Milla's parents discover Iris's condition, they send her away to The Place, an awful fortress where demon-possessed young women are banished. Milla is determined to save her friend and sets out to free her. However, the curse has begun to spread to Milla, creating disturbing thoughts and physical changes in her. Part fairy tale and part allegory, the story pits serpents, witches, and demons against seemingly powerless female characters who must learn to speak up for themselves. The author has created a cautionary tale that warns against ignorance and shines a spotlight on feminism. Van Arsdale's writing will appeal to young adults with its strong themes of loyalty and friendship. VERDICT A good selection for those who enjoy fairy tales and to spark discussion about gender roles and feminism.-Sandi Jones, Wynne High School, Wynne, AR Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Sixteen-year-old Milla, who's never left her family's farm, fears she will never be virtuous enough to escape the ever-present threat of demonic possession. When charismatic Iris visits from the nearby village, the two become fast friends; Iris confides that girls are becoming possessed by a vengeful demon and believes she will succumb next. Unsettling and thought-provoking, this dark fantasy explores the revolutionary power of women's anger and the strength of sisterhood. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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