Shannon's Reviews > Briar Rose

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
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Jan 14, 12

bookshelves: youngadult, historical-fiction
Read in January, 2012

Briar Rose is a re-imagining of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately, it wasn't the retelling I was hoping for. I had hoped for either a new and adult take on a fairy tale, or a new look at an old story that I could share with my 10 and 12 year old daughters. This book provided neither. Here's what it did give me: a way to see how fairy tales tell us more about real life than we might imagine.

Briar Rose tells the story of Becca, a 23 year old journalist whose grandmother, Gemma, always claimed to be Sleeping Beauty from the story. After Gemma's death, the family finds a box filled with old pictures, a passport and documents from Gemma's arrival in the US during WWII. Becca sets out to find out the real story of her grandmother.

Becca's questions take her to Poland, where she learns the story behind the fairy tale. As with many stories from this time in our world's history, the fairy tale was easier than Gemma's own story.

I have found that good young adult fiction reads as well - and as deeply - as adult fiction. But some YA fiction (like Briar Rose), tells the story too summarily, crafts the characters out of cardboard rather than flesh and blood and leaves me looking at a book that held a kernel that could have grown into a beautiful novel, but fell a bit short.
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message 1: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn You might try "The Awakening" by Angela Hunt. I read it years ago but really liked it.


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