Thornwood (Sisters Ever After #1)
Published April 1, 2021
For years, Briony has lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Rosalin, and the curse that has haunted her from birth–that on the day of her sixteenth birthday she would prick her finger on a spindle and cause everyone in the castle to fall into a 100-year sleep. When the day the curse is set to fall over the kingdom finally arrives, nothing–not even Briony–can stop its evil magic.
You know the story.
But here’s something you don’t know. When Briony finally wakes up, it’s up to her to find out what’s really going on, and to save her family and friends from the murderous Thornwood. But who is going to listen to her? This is a story of sisterhood, of friendship, and of the ability of even little sisters to forge their own destiny. The first in a three-book series of fairy tale retellings, these are the stories of the siblings who never made it into the storybook.
This middle grade debut is Sleeping Beauty like you’ve never seen it before, about a girl who lives in the shadow of her older sister and the curse that has haunted her from birth.
From the first I heard of this book, I was super excited about it. I read a couple of Leah Cypess’s YA books and loved them, so I felt pretty sure I’d adore this one, too. Plus, it’s a book about sisters! I love those! And a reimagined fairytale. I love those, too!
The voice in the story was spot-on. I believed in Briony from the very first line, and loved her fun, determined personality. The sisters have a lot of conflict between them, and it’s really clear that especially for Rosalin, at least part of this is that she’s afraid to get close to people because she knows she’s going to die. I loved that Briony never stops hoping and trying to do something to stop the curse.
There was a moment toward the middle where I wasn’t sure where the story was going. It seemed unclear what Briony’s goal was, and that maybe slowed the story down a little bit. Her goal does become really clear late in the story, and things get pretty intense, so I felt like things pulled together really well in those last few chapters.
I kind of wish there had been a little bit of setup for the next book included in this one, mostly because I’m really curious about it. There’s one brief reference that made me wonder if the next will be a Rumpelstiltskin retelling?? I’m up for that! Or another story, of course.
Fans of The Princess Who Flew with Dragons by Stephanie Burgis or Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George will love the adventure and sister relationships in this one.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Major characters are white or not described.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief kissing between boy and girl.
A fairy cursed Rosalin to prick her finger on a magic spinning wheel and sleep for one hundred years. The fairy returns and offers other bargains to Briony and her sister.
Situations of peril. Thorny branches attack and grab anyone within reach, trying to kill them.
A man approaches the king and queen while he is drunk.
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