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Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  5,382 ratings  ·  1,093 reviews
Once upon a time...
you were a princess,
or an orphan.
A wicked witch,
fairy godmother,
prom queen,
team captain,
Big Bad Wolf,
Little Bo Peep.
But you are more than just a hero or
a villain, cursed or charmed. You are
everything in between.
You are everything.

In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful
Hardcover, 107 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Greenwillow Books
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Emily May
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: Sara Zarr
Feminist poetry!

I was surprised by how much I liked this book. To be honest, I was seduced by that cover and the fabulous title and didn't really expect it to hold that much substance. But, after a slightly shaky start, I found myself wanting these poems to go on and on.

Heppermann retells traditional fairy tales, legends and even biblical myths in her poems, incorporating metaphors for all the issues teen girls face - insecurities, sex, misogyny, eating disorders, etc. The poems were dark and ex
Cristina Monica
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh, my pretty, you compelled me!

I had no clue poems could be so exquisite. What a reading experience! Some are mystically poignant and can leave you holding tightly to something. Anything.


They can also steal your breath away, is what I discovered. It is not that I had never read a poem in my life, but I had never found myself doing it for my own pleasure and, at the same time, realizing how they could truly affect me.

What I fool was I to ignore all those collections of poems I strongly heard of
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I really enjoyed this! It was an interesting little read full of gripping poems & stunning photographs. feminist poetry ftw! While I enjoyed most of the poems, there were a few that we're just too all over the place for my liking. ...more
Nov 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This poetry collection takes a honest look on love, sex, food, and bodies. And it does so with dark, unsettling imageries that ultimately made it so unique.

Though it was brilliantly exceptional and bizarre, it ultimately failed to impress me save for a few poems:

If Tampons
Were for Guys

“Of course there are no pink wrappers,
only camo.
Forget Gentle Glide and pictures of pearls—
the box reads Smooth Ride across
the hood of a bitchin’ red Porsche.

For pads with Wings, Kotex shows jet fighters.
For Heavy
Steph Sinclair
Christine Heppermann handles female issues in such a unique and interesting way in Poisoned Apples. Her poetic style is quirky, witty and deeply real, highlighting numerous problems with gender inequality girls face throughout their pubescent stage into adulthood. Keep in mind, however, that she also somehow manages to infuse these with classic fairy tales we grow up on. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and other themes like Prince Charming are merged with issues such as sex, ...more
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, fantasy-ya
I'm sorry to say but I wasn't at all impressed by this.

Feminist poetry and fairytale retellings are totally my thing, so I should have liked this. But out of the fifty poems, I think I really enjoyed only two.

My low rating here stems from what I think is a lack of originality in the poems. The ideas felt regurgitated and cliche. The author talks about how women are portrayed in the media and how women are taught to view themselves, incorporating eating disorders and self-harm into the mix. I fee
Whitney Atkinson
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF at 70%.

This book wasn't bad, it just wasn't good. The fairytale theme became quite artificial and forced, and nothing really connected with me because it all rode on clichés. This discusses important topics like eating disorders and sexual abuse, and the photography in it was gorgeous, but compared to poetry that discusses the same topics, it's really not special at all.
⊱ Poppy ⊰
Nov 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
DNF @35%

I just couldn't take it anymore. This, this is not a poetry, but What was this????

Never has it been a more appropriate time to read some feminist poetry (bless the goddess of perfection that is Emma Watson). Well-written feminist poetry based on fairy tales and interspersed with black-and-white photos! They're all relatively easy to digest, but I had to go back and reread the whole book just because they're so subtly hard-hitting.

If the source of inspiration doesn't intrigue you, maybe this will:

Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day

After the kiss and the trip to the castle comes the


Sorry, but this was just plain bad.
I have a big big problem with "modern" or "postmodern" novels/poetry of such kind. I refuse to acknowledge it as sophisticated literature, I am not sorry, this is my personal and very subjective opinion. Many love it, and it's fine, but I personally hate it. I have tried to read various works, and no, we don't get along - such writing and I.

In order to make sense and to create beautiful imagery one has to write at least slightly longer and most definitely bet
Kimberly Antill
Let me start by saying the cover of Poisoned Apples is very eye catching and I liked some of the photographs found throughout the book however the poems were just something else all together. And they definitely weren't for me. Honestly, I'm not sure what the author's intentions were or what she wanted her audience to take away from this collection but after a hundred pages of poems about eating disorders and boobs, I closed the book feeling depressed.
Julie Zantopoulos
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, read-in-2019
Poetry is always a hard one for me to rate and I don't enjoy most of it but I have to say this one was pretty badass. This is a look at the culture of beauty and how we treat/view/objectify/and harm the young women with our words, or media, and our behavior toward them. This is collection discusses a lot about self-harm and eating disorders about self-loathing and sexual abuse. If any of those things are triggering for you, please use caution reading this collection or avoid it entirely.

I found
Paige  Bookdragon
Sep 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Look at the cover. Isn't it gorgeous?


Now, I almost gave this book a two-star because (my fault) I thought this book is a poem about fairytale retellings in a morbid contemporary way. Which in a way, is correct. But this book consists of poems that talks about feminism that infuses fairytales, so I added one star in my rating.

It is amazing isn't it? But I got the ARC of this book and (my fault, really) I was expecting a different kind of poems. I'm not a poem expert seeing that I love haikus lik
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars.

This is a super-quick read! I zipped through it in one evening.

I really admire the raw honesty and insight in these poems. Some of them feel desperately, frighteningly true to what it must be like to be anorexic. And they all hit hard on the body messages all girls are bombarded with -- that our bodies are always flawed, just because they're female bodies. Luckily, there are also some humorous notes to break up the grimness, so the book as a whole doesn't feel too heavy
Rebecca McNutt
I bought this thinking that it would be a fantasy novel, but what it really turned out to be was a poetry anthology of self-esteem stuff for girls.


I don't have a problem with that at all, and this book might be really helpful to some readers, but if this book is about girls' self-esteem in general, then why are their so many poems about eating disorders? Binge-eating, comfort eating, anorexia, bulimia, starvation, obesity - it almost made me want to binge-eat the book just to get rid of all th
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love poetry. And not just the classics like Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman. I also want to explore modern poetry so when I stumbled across this little book (really, it's tiny, 50 poems on 110 pages), I had to give it a try.

First things first: this collection is AMAZING. Really.
Christine Heppermann manages to combine fairy tales with poetry AND modern-day topics. The first poem, "The Woods", introduces the theme of this book best when saying "... No need for a bunch of trees. You can lose you
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I got a copy of this to review through NetGalley. I was drawn by the premise of poems merged with fairy tale retellings, since I love both. It was okay, but in the end it just felt like something was missing here...the imagery just wasn’t there and the poems focused on the same theme over and over.

This was a very short collection of poems that talk mostly about teenage life and girls and the expectation society has of them. Some of this is related to fairy tales that have been given a modern twi
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nonsensical, bland and average - I really did not get what could possibly be appealing here.
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern
Sarah Elizabeth
2.5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was a collection of fairly odd poems, and it all got very repetitive as the book went on.

Basically every poem in here was about eating disorders and being over-weight, and while I could maybe put up with that for a short while, it all just got too much. I mean how many times do we need to hear about girls comfort eating? How many times do we have to hear about
Sarah DiMento
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Woohoo I finished my 2016 reading challenge just in time!

This book of feminist poems seemed promising, but ultimately felt a little cliche and unoriginal. However there were a couple of gems and the photography is stunning. Probably my favorite part was the author's note at the end:

“If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren't always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This poetry collection is AWESOME. But what makes it even more excellent, aside from the content (these are feminist fairy tales), is that this is a mixed media work. There are really intriguing photos to accompany the poems.

I read an advanced copy and need to pick this up in final form to see the photos at their best.

More to come.
Rida Imran
The cover for this is absolutely beautiful. I love it.
Everything else. I hated it.

I went into this book expecting whimsical fairy tale type feminist flowing poetry. Instead what i got was this rigid poetry that was too hard to my palate. I did not like it at all.

This collection of feminist poems, with its gorgeous cover and a tempting promise of fairy tale re-tellings, beckoned me closer as soon as I heard of it. I had sky high expectations which unfortunately weren’t fulfilled, mainly ‘coz the poems I liked were much, much less in number compared to the poems I was indifferent toward, or the ones I didn’t really get.

The poems, targeted at young girls and teenagers, resonate with the sordid state of affairs in today’s world: eating disorders, body dysmo
Liza Wiemer
General comments: Great cover with the river of red fabric for the cloak worn by a young woman. Symbolic and powerful. Stunning artwork alongside Christine Heppermann’s poems.

My review in free verse:

Bite and taste



down girls throats

by society,


the clothes

on mannequins

selling sexuality,

diet aids, beauty.

Rebel against


Stand up

for feminism. Take

a good long look

in the mirror, mirror

on the wall

who’s the fairest


of all. See how

we’re brainwashed

to beli
Apr 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Even one star is too generous.
What damnation was this? the poems, more like strings of nonsense, lacked art, aim and honestly it was just like an angry woman belly-aching about men. -__- there's a fine line between realism and downright backwashing something and this work clearly crossed it.
another failure to make me hate moder poetry (even if u can call this modern poetry)
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really quick read for me, some of the poems in this book were a bit strange, but all of them were good. I'm not a huge poetry person but this book was really good.
Callie *Fights Censorship*
This wasn't what I was expecting but it was still really good. I thought this was going to be a collection of dark fairy tale re-tellings in verse. What it really is, is a collection of poems about being a teenage girl mixed with fairy tale characters and stories to create a strange tone where the line between fantasy and reality are blurred.

The points and topics in this book are biting and jarring providing commentary on what it is like to be a young woman. Many of the poems revolve around body
Laine The Librarian
Once upon a time....

Those four words have sustained little girls all their live into believing that all they have to do is sing in the woods, be beautiful, courageous, have patience and be kind to others, you will have a wonderful happy ending and a most wonderful man in your life.

Then the little girls grow up to be hard working women in the hard world and found out that all those fairy tale stories were.....


You don't always get Prince Charming. You sometimes get his evil twin; his
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Disturbing and brilliant.
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Christine Heppermann writes fiction, poetry, and criticism. Her books include What Goes Up (coming summer 2020); Ask Me How I Got Here; Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty; City Chickens; and the Backyard Witch series (with Ron Koertge). She currently reviews young adult books for the Chicago Tribune.

Christine grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where she attended an all-girls Catholic high school.

Articles featuring this book

Have you already surpassed your 2018 Reading Challenge? That's fantastic. Congrats! But then this isn't for you. This is for the rest o...
61 likes · 36 comments
“If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren't always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for the bus or roaming the mall doesn't want anyone to know, or doesn't know how to tell anyone, that she is locked in a tower. Maybe she's a prisoner of a story she's heard all her life- that fairest means best, or that bruises prove she is worthy of love.” 36 likes
“Nature Lesson

The dress code says
we must cover ourselves
ample pants,
skirts that reach well below
our lascivious knees,
polos buttoned over
the rim of the canyon,
a glimpse of which can send a boy
plunging to such depths
he may never climb back up
to algebra.

We say
that if a hiker strays
off the path, trips, and
winds up crippled,
is it really the canyon's fault?”
More quotes…