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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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Kill Me Softly

Kill Me Softly - Sarah Cross This review can also be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: The white rose dipped in blood speaks to innocence lost and is an image that stands out among the plethora of girls in pretty dresses that make up a huge chunk of YA novels today. However, I am not a fan of the title font. It seems a little too weak against such a stark image. The Gist: Mirabelle has spent her entire life listening to the rules and sanctions set forth by her Godmothers. Now, as her 16th birthday draws near, she is about to break their biggest one: returning to the place of her birth, Beau Rivage. Here, Mira encounters a world where fairy tales take a dark turn and everyone has a role to play, whether they wish to or not.Review: In Kill Me Softly Sarah Cross creates a fairy tale world that interposes with our own. It lies, just beneath the surface and can be seen by anyone willing to peer through the veil. However, these are not your disneyfied princes and princesses fending off colorful dragons and over-the-top Queens (though, don't get me wrong, Maleficent scared the CRAP out of me as a kid) instead, Cross takes inspiration from the original Fairy Tales which feature evil plot twists, casual murders, the hacking off of limbs and buckets of blood. Against this backdrop of Happily Ever After gone wrong, Mira meets Blue, a boy who does everything to push her away and his brother, Felix who does everything not to. As a character, Mira is a little difficult to like. She is often rude and ungrateful, which seems completely out of character for a person who, up until now, has blindly followed her Godmother's orders. It feels a little unreal that a character who is so quick to anger, did not question these rules or show any sign of rebellion prior to her slipping away in the middle of the night. Blue, on the other hand, is a character who does everything possible to make Mira dislike him but she (and the reader) cannot help but root for this wounded hero. Whenever I hit a section where Mira was spending time falling in love with Felix, I found myself itching to turn each page, hoping that Blue would be waiting on the other side. The "love" that Mirabelle claims to have for Felix, feels forced and wrong but shows it's importance by the end of the story (much like Romeo's "love" for Rosaline). The plot is interesting but more character based than action based. Because Cross weaves together a number of fairy tales (some of which are less likely to be recognizable to most readers) we have a vague idea of where the story is headed, but are still able to be surprised by plot twists. I do believe that the novel is a stand-alone and I hope that this is the end of Mirabelle's and Blue's story. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my walk through Beau Rivage and would very much like to read the tales of some of the other characters. This world is simply too interesting to let go of so easily.Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 16 and up, this one is NOT for your 12 year old!Gender: Female, though some males may enjoy the clever re-working of well known fairy talesSex: Intimate touching, talk of sexViolence: Loss of limbs, murders,Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Shit.Substance Abuse: Underage drinking. Smoking.