Written by Laini Taylor
Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo
Three tales of supernatural love that all hinge on a life-changing kiss.
Everyone dreams of getting the kiss of a lifetime — but what if that kiss carried some unexpected consequences? A girl who’s always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging — literally belonging — to anther world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to child-bearing age.
From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.
"Taylor offers a powerful trio of tales, each founded upon the consequences of a kiss. She explores the potentially awkward conceit in three dramatically different fantasies, each featuring a young female protagonist out of place in the world she inhabits: contemporary Kizzy, who so yearns to be a normal, popular teenager that she forgets the rules of her Old Country upbringing and is seduced by a goblin in disguise; Anamique, living in British colonial India, silenced forever due to a spell cast upon her at birth; and Esmé, who at 14 discovers she is host to another—nonhuman—being. The stories build in complexity and intensity, culminating in the breathtaking “Hatchling,” which opens with a spectacularly gripping prologue (“Esmé swayed on her feet. These weren't her memories. This wasn't her eye”). Each is, in vividly distinctive fashion, a mesmerizing love story that comes to a satisfying but never predictable conclusion. Di Bartolo's illustrations provide tantalizing visual preludes to each tale, which are revealed as the stories unfold. Even nonfantasy lovers will find themselves absorbed by Taylor's masterful, elegant work." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Look beyond the title and cover art: Taylor’s three novellas form a triptych of beautiful fantasy writing reminiscent of Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman. Kisses are the unifying theme, with each story offering a different sort of locking lips, from giddy seduction to harsh power play. In “Goblin Fruit,” misfit Kizzy meets a fascinating new student, an unbelievably gorgeous young man who ignores the popular girls to seek her out. Taylor tantalizingly foreshadows the ambiguous ending, teasing and enticing the reader much as Jack Husk entices Kizzy. “Spicy Little Curses Such as These” is set in India and offers intriguing and culturally respectful glimpses of both Indian religion and British colonialism. “Hatchling” reveals a fully realized world of sometimes malevolent immortals who steal and raise human babies as their pets. Present-day teen sensibilities blend with artful allusions to mythology and magic, pulling the reader into rich fantasy realms. The cover’s close-up of a lovely woman’s red lips, with red-orange flames licking at the superimposed title, lacks the powerful, delicately structured, and subtle poetry of Taylor’s stories. But Di Bartolo, Taylor’s husband, provides skillfully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations that are a fine match for the lyrical, romantic text." -- Booklist, starred review
"[D]electable language . . . In the midst of these goblins, fiery gods and demons, Taylor reminds readers what makes them human. Holly Black and Melissa Marr fans will find this collection ripe for the tasting." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Taylor balances the sweeping, headlong romantic desires of her three female protagonists with hints of foreboding, caution, and resistance in the characters that surround them. Several pages of mysterious, elegant, and finely detailed line drawings intro each story; compelling in their own right, they also serve as an intriguing summary of the story to come." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
National Book Award Finalist, 2009
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009
Kids' Indie Next List, Winter '09/'10
NPR.org, Best Young Adult Fiction for 2009
A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, 2010
YALSA Top Ten Books for Young Adults, 2010
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Young Adult Fiction
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Page Count: 288
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes