Three best friends begin their final year at the Swiss Alps’ elite Grimrose Académie with tragedy: their friend Ari Van Amstel, who reads as white, drowns, and her death is ruled an accident or a suicide. But Ella Ashworth and Rory Derosiers, also cued white, suspect foul play, and with the help of Yuki Miyashiro, cued as Japanese, and Black and Native Hawaiian new student Nani Eszes, they uncover a series of deaths at Grimrose that seem eerily connected to a book of fairy tales that Ari owned. As they grapple with their trauma and research a curse that may be all too real, it becomes clear that someone is determined to get their hands on Ari’s book—and may be willing to kill for it. Pohl (the Last 8 duology) skillfully subverts fairy tale tropes while juggling four third-person points of view and a variously inclusive cast that includes diversity in ability, gender, and sexuality. Though the story starts slow, it gains momentum in a gruesome final act, careening toward a dramatic finale that provides fertile ground for a sequel that is poised to be just as inclusive and fiercely feminist as this empowering series opener. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kari Sutherland, Bradford Literary. (Oct.)
"Enthralling... Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this." — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review
"Mysterious and magical, Grimrose Girls turns classic tales upside down and then some. Fans of Once Upon a Time and anyone who likes their happily ever afters with a side a murder will love this fantasy thriller!" — Rosiee Thor, author of Tarnished are the stars
"Grimrose Girls takes the classic thriller story and fantastically twists it. For fans of classic murder mysteries, strong friendships, and shows like Lost Girl and Grimm, this is the series for you." — Linsey Miller, author of Mask of Shadows and What We Devour
"Pohl weaves a suspenseful, thrilling tale full of all the dark magic, swoonworthy romance, and courageous heroines we know and love from our favorite fairy tales. Sink your teeth into this story and let it carry you through the woods" — Roseanne A. Brown, New York Times bestselling author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
"A twisty sapphic reimagining of all of your favorite fairytales, The Grimrose Girls is darkly haunting and achingly romantic. In an exploration of grief and love, Pohl weaves a magical mystery of a murder most foul. These aren’t the fairytales you remember, and certainly not ones you’ll forget." — Ashley Poston, national bestselling author of Geekerella
"Inclusive and fiercely feminist." — Publishers Weekly
"Murder mystery laced with fairy tales...a chilling climax will keep readers engaged and anticipating the next volume." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A contemporary take on classic fairytales with a haunting setting, and a ruthless mystery at its core—perfect for lovers of dark academia vibes, fairytales with a twist, or mini-Sherlocks in the making!" — The Nerd Daily
"Pohl skillfully twists magic and mystery together to produce a story that slowly builds in suspense…readers thrilled by fairy tale retellings will appreciate this boarding school mystery." — Booklist
"A solid choice for libraries where dark fairy tale retellings circulate well." — School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Despite its perfect appearance, the Grimrose Académie, an elite boarding school located in a castle in the Swiss Alps, has a dark history of students dying under mysterious circumstances, most recently Ariane, whose drowning seemed to be an accident or a suicide. Yet her closest friends, Ella, Yuki, and Rory, can't shake feelings of suspicion about the nature of her death. When Nani, a recent transfer student, discovers a book of fairy tales among Ariane's possessions with a list of names that includes those of past dead students and their own, the friends begin to uncover the magical and macabre links between fairy tale stories and their own fates. The fun of Pohl's murder mystery lies in uncovering the connections between the characters and their fairy tale antecedents, as tensions rise and the killer, or curse, seems to circle closer and closer to the friends. Chapters alternate perspectives between the four girls, allowing their unique stories to develop. This series opener tackles complex issues, including domestic violence, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety, chronic illness, and more, through an immersive world that dances between fairy tale and reality. Ella and Rory are white; Yuki is cued Japanese and Nani Native Hawaiian. The book includes bisexual, lesbian, asexual, and transgender representation. VERDICT A solid choice for libraries where dark fairy tale retellings circulate well.—Molly Saunders, Manatee County P.L., Bradenton, FL
Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.
Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.
Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)