Review of The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
This was a fairly good time. I interrupted my Halloween reading list to get back to a few ARC’s, this book being one of them. It was no hardship as this was another one of my more anticipated reads of 2021. I love reading retellings. I especially love sapphic retellings of fairytales, fables, myths and what have you. I love seeing the twists on such classics and especially how someone can put a more modern spin on them. I had a feeling this book would be right up my alley, and I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it. And while I actually looked at this book as a break from my Halloween reads, this book has this underlining ominous feeling and darkness to it that it actually fits pretty well into this time of year.
This book is YA, magical realism, mystery, and a retelling all wrapped into one. I’m not really going to go into how that all works because part of what makes the book fun is figuring everything out. This is a story about three best girlfriends who used to be four. Everyone assumes that the death of their friend was suicide, except them since they know she would never leave without saying goodbye. But if it wasn’t suicide or an accident, it means something much more sinister happened. With the help of a new girl, the group will do whatever it takes to find the answers before it’s too late.
This is my first book by Pohl, -although I have her book The Last 8 and now cannot wait to read it- and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was hooked into this story. It was so easy to keep turning the pages and I ended up reading it in one sitting. The book was super queer and I loved that fact. The characters are lesbian, bi, pan, asexual, and trans and everyone had their own unique voice. While I felt like I connected more to some characters over others –it’s a big cast so that was bound to happen- but I still appreciated that all the characters had their flaws and no one was too perfect. I would not really say that this book had romance in it, but there are two wlw and one m/f couple that all have some feels brewing.
The mystery of the story was pretty entertaining. There are actually two big mysteries. What happened to their friend and what is happening in general. While the mysteries are not the hardest to figure out, it is still really fun as a reader finding out if there is a real killer on the loose or is something magical and unknown going on? It was quite the ride and I enjoyed how it all came together. I also was really happy that while the main storyline was finished, the story as a whole is only just beginning. The way it was done is nice because it is not really a cliffhanger so you can read this first book now without waiting, but there is so much potential of where this story could go that you will be excited to read a book two
TLDR: A fun YA, mystery, retelling. If you are a fairytale fan, then this story really is a must. It has a wonderfully queer cast of characters. While some characters were better developed than others, they all had their personal flaws which made them more relatable and enjoyable to read about. While the mysteries might be on the easier side to figure out, it is more of the journey of the mystery that made the story so much fun. This is a bit darker than I expected so it could actually fit into your Halloween read list. The main story is complete, but I’m really excited to see where book two takes us since there is so much good potential here. I will absolutely be reading it.
A copy was given to me for a review.