Title: Kill Me Softly
Author: Sarah Cross
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Format: Hardback, 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 1606843230 (EgmontUSA)
ISBN-13: 978-1606843239 (EgmontUSA)
Reviewed by: Macie
True love’s kiss just may prove deadly…
Mirabelle’s past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents’ tragic deaths to her guardians’ half-truths about why she can’t return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.
In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who’s a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.
But fairy tales aren’t pretty things, and they don’t always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she’ll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.
Quick & Dirty: Love, trust, and friendship are put to the test in this darkly beautiful modern take on fairy tales.
Opening Sentence: Birthdays were wretched, delicious things when you lived in Beau Rivage.
Sarah Cross blends fairy tales with reality, and illustrates what that means for cursed teens as they learn about themselves and those around them. Mira, the protagonist, is an orphan who lives with her two strict, but loving godmothers. Mira is not allowed to do lots of things, including visit her parent’s hometown of Beau Rivage. Mira accepts her godmother’s rules as caring eccentricities except for the ban on Beau Rivage. A few days before her sixteenth birthday, Mira runs away and heads to the one place that she knows her parents were before they died.
Mira is stubborn and defensive, but just wants to feel like she belongs somewhere in the world. I think she uses scathing remarks to protect herself from getting close to someone who may one day leave and hurt her. She is also impulsive, and takes risks that might cause her harm. When she arrives in Beau Rivage with little money and no plan for what she intended to do once she got there, Mira hangs out in a casino until she can figure out what to do next. There she meets Blue and Freddie, two guys her age who warn her away from the casino that Blue’s family owns because he has a brother, Felix, who will take advantage of her situation as an orphan in an unfamiliar town. Mira scornfully rejects Blue’s pleas to leave, and hides out in the casino.
Blue is named so for his blue hair, and comes across as a rebellious teenager who has friends, but keeps them at a distance. He jokes around to hide his emotions, and does what he can to make girls, especially Mira, hate him. We find out later that this has to do with what type of curse he has. Freddie, on the other hand, is sweet, innocent, and and fiercely devoted. His personality also fits in with what type of curse he has. It turns out that many of the citizens in Beau Rivage have some sort of curse tied to familiar fairy tales.
There are all sorts of classifications of curses that play out over and over throughout history that Mira is confronted with. At first she doesn’t believe it, but she has a role to play like the others in town. Many of their curses are intertwined with each other. For example, one girl’s curse is to be hated and envied by her stepmother, and their gardener/general errand boy who loves and hates her will one day be ordered by the stepmother to cut out the girl’s heart. This is the classic Snow White tale for the modern age. The girl, Viv, treats the gardener, Henley with either disgust or admiration, causing mixed signals between them that may one day lead to her death. Mira learns that there are deadly consequences for choices she can make.
While Mira is learning more about the hidden part of her past and the other cursed teens in Beau Rivage, Blue’s brother Felix has been successfully romancing her despite everyone’s warnings about him. Mira has never felt like she was wanted romantically before, which is why she falls head over heels for Felix. It is only near the end of the novel and when her life is in serious danger that Mira finally confronts the truth behind the rumors about Felix. Mira learns a lesson in humility as she realizes that she doesn’t have to go through life alone, and should realize that there are more people out there who care about her than she ever realized.
Mira thinks that she can find out who she is by visiting her parent’s hometown, but instead is handed a new life that she never could have dreamed of, and it turns out for the better. I would recommend this novel for anyone who likes modern twisted fairy tales and vibrant, emerging romance.
“I want to show Mira.”
“Show me what?” Mira asked.
“Things you didn’t see before. Look between the cracks.”
Mira studied the crowd before her,not sure what she was looking for. A band played at one end of the street, and little kids danced to the music, waving balloon animals and toy swords. There were couples out on dates, hands creeping up the backs of T-shirts to fondle bare skin. Vendors hawked nylon fairy wings, funnel cakes, lemonade, art. Men and women lingered on the thresholds of bars, calling to friends, cozying up to strangers.
It seemed like any other place.
But then a pair of twenty-something girls caught her eye. Sister, maybe? They walked with the same awkward gait–a kind of limping sashay–and had the same pert noses and cascading dark curls. They limped along in a open-toed sandals, perfect pedicures marred by the white bandages they wore.
One girl’s heel was wrapped–and oddly shaped, like part of it was missing. The other girl wore a thick bandage where her big toe should have been.
They were Cinderella’s stepsisters, Mira realized–and this was the aftermath of their curse. In the tale, the stepsisters each cut off part of her foot in hopes of fitting into Cinderella’s tiny slipper. Mira hadn’t thought anyone would actually do that–but the sisters flaunted their injured feet like they were proud of them.
The sisters sensed her staring and glanced over, their eyes narrowing in unison. Blue waved hello, but instead of acknowledging him, they turned up her noses and hobbled away.
“They’re still so snobby!” Layla exclaimed. “You’d think that amputation would have humbled them a bit.”
“They thing they’re special because they avoided getting their eyes pecked out,” Blue said. “But really, it was just their stepsister being nice to them. She let them wear goggles to the wedding. It’s not that the birds didn’t try.”
“Of course not,” Layla sniffed. “Birds are diligent.”
FTC Advisory: EgmontUSA provided me with a copy of Kill Me Softly. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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