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.
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.
In her middle grade debut, Cypess (the Death Sworn series) reframes "Sleeping Beauty," retelling the classic from the viewpoint of an overlooked but determined little sister. Resourceful narrator Princess Briony, 11, "who never even got a blessing from a fairy godmother," is well aware of the fairy curse set to befall her older sibling, Rosalin, on her 16th year, and would like to think that she'd be brave enough to help her sister, if it came to it. When Briony wakes up a century after Rosalin's birthday, alone in a room housing a "very large, very illegal spinning wheel," she has a good feel for what happened. But the end of the curse seems off, somehow: Rosalin is initially nowhere to be found, savior Prince Varian is acting suspiciously, a mysterious fairy godmother is lurking in the shadows, and the castle remains enveloped by aggressive vines. As the sisters, who are white, attempt to free their home, they realize they're caught up in a magical scheme of epic proportions, and the only solution may require an unthinkable sacrifice. Incorporating surprising twists and subverting tropes to emphasize sibling bonds over romance, Cypess creates a fun tale with a strong heroine whose happily ever after isn't set in stone. Ages 9-12. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger. (Apr.)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 4 Up-Everyone— knows about Rosalin, aka Sleeping Beauty, but almost no one knows about Briony, her younger sister, who wakes up to find herself in the castle tower with no memory of how she got there or how she seems to be awake before anyone else. Briony shows up just in time to see the prince kiss her sister and wake her from the curse. But the prince isn't exactly who he said he was, and the thorns aren't retreating from the castle, keeping everyone trapped inside. Briony might just be able to figure out the answer—but no one ever listens to the little sister! This retelling adds an original twist to a beloved classic and gives a younger sister a chance to earn a little of the spotlight. All the main characters—the sisters, the prince, and Briony's new friend Edwin—appear to be light-skinned. VERDICT A fun, compelling story that will keep readers engaged; recommended for younger siblings, fans of princess stories, and fantasy lovers.—Amanda Toth, Lane Lib., Hamilton, OHCopyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.