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Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,038 ratings  ·  212 reviews
A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story.
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on
Kindle Edition, 144 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by
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 ·  1,038 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Charles Lint
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jane Yolen’s Finding Baba Yaga opens with:

You think you know this story.
You do not.

We start with a broken home and a troubled teenage girl who manages to escape it. She ends up living with the ancient witch Baba Yaga (who now appears to live in North America) and it’s there she learns the witch’s magics while taking care of her curious house with its chicken legs and uneven floors. But more importantly, this is where she learns to trust in herself, in the power of her own voice and the simple tr
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Stories retold are stories remade...This is a tale both old and new, borrowed, narrowed, broadened, deepened". In Russian folklore, Baba Yaga is a terrifying old witch who can be cruel and fearsome or perhaps powerful and kind. She lives in a nondescript hut deep in the forest. The hut moves around on chicken feet. When Baba Yaga calls to her house, it will rotate counterclockwise until the front door faces her. Baba's method of transportation is a human size mortar she steers with a pestle as ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Things I loved:
The cover
Yolen's take on the Baba Yaga
The Verse - skillfully done, the verse unfolds the story of a nameless girl, fleeing a bad home and finding one with Baba Yaga.

I don't really have a lot of them. But perhaps it was a bit difficult to feel emotional connection to the storyline.

Thanks to Netgalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review
This is my opinion so take it for what it's worth but if you happen to get into an argument with your parents and your father washes your mouth out with soap for using bad language might I suggest that your next action should not be to run away, steal from a gas station and make your home with a witch you find hanging out in the woods living in a house with chicken legs!!!!

Sorry about the run on sentence but I said all that just to say this book isn't for me. I always thought Baba Yaga was someo
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Wow! I've never read books in verse, and I normally don't even like poetry, but this one definitely packs a punch! I loved it.

The feminist themes of a girl without her place, mixed with hints of mythology and the general woman-witch archetype was amazing. This is a fast read, and you don't know quite what to make of it, but you know the feeling is good.

Finding Baba Yaga hints at many things - abusive or restricting, over-religious parents, lack of freedom to choose even your own thoughts or word
Lily ☁️
My full review is now up on my blog!

I have questions I don’t know
how to ask. There are answers
I don’t know how to hear.

Blog | Bloglovin’ | Instagram | TumblrTwitter
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“Living well lasts longer than love”

🌟 I haven’t heard much about this book before getting an ARC from the publisher, which I want to take the chance to say Thanks to.

🌟 I have finished Uprooted lately which mentions Yaga and I googled that character and started reading about her! I think I was lucky enough to have a short book all about her.

🌟 I felt that this short novel, written in verse is like the average books in t
María Alcaide
3.5*s. Hard to rate. There a lot of things I really liked. I was going for a 4*s but I also found it a bit hard to connect to the story... In any case, I think it is a really nice read. Surprisingly, original and magical.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
Rating 4 Stars

ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I can really see why Jane Yolen is so beloved by many she is knows really how to weave verses with beautiful words that tell a story.

I'm personally not very familiar with the tale of Baba Yaga. I only know the basic details of Yaga herself but as for Vasilisa not really. I don't know why she came to live at Baba Yaga's like Natasha and why she would run away with a stuck up prince. It is revealed at the end th
Quite an original way of retelling the Baba Yaga tale in verse, mixing the old Russian folktale with a modern world setting and giving Baba Yaga a protégée that's an escapee girl, Natasha, who flees an abusive father and somehow ends up in the witch's forest cottage.

At first, I was a bit confused not just because of the obscure opening verses but also because Yolen chose the "gradual reveal" peeling-the-onion style of storytelling, and it's only the further you read that the plot becomes cleare
Marta :}
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, feminism
This book is definitely haunting, it has the perfect atmosphere for a retelling of Russian mythology. I will be frank with you, I didn’t know a lot about Baba Yaga prior to reading this book. I’ve always been interested in Russian mythology, but I’m a bit intimidated by it and Russian literature as a whole. But this book managed to make me very interested in Baba Yaga and I will probably read more books on this mythological figure because of Finding Baba Yaga.

I loved how the modern seemed to int
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I’ve always loved the story of Baba Yaga, and I never seem to tire of stories told in verse, a storytelling-through-poetry method that works beautifully for whimsical, dark fairytales like this one. Something unique to Finding Baba Yaga, however, is the modern spin Yolen puts on it; while you know that it takes place in modern times, it’s easy to forget when Natasha is in Baba Yaga’s house of magic and mysteries.

This is a tale
both old and new,
borrowed, narrowed,
broadened, deepened.

Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
The poems didn't speak to me, which is an entirely subjective and entirely necessary quality for something like this. And I wish it had more to do with Baba Yaga and less to do with the modern narrator. The Issues™️ were presented too heavy-handedly, and there was not enough of the visceral and emotional truths that are so necessary for fairy tales to work.
Elizabeth Tabler
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Says: Telling the future is dead easy, girl,
easier when you’re already dead inside.

Excerpt from Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yollen

This is an incredible idea, but not one that you can easily plow through. It needs to be savored like a fine wine or cheese. Taste each stanza, mull over each word, contemplate Yollen’s direction for the story for each word is soaked in meaning and brimming with the narrative.

When I first started reading this story, I honestly did not know what to expect. I don’t know m
Oct 18, 2018 marked it as wishlist
The story of Baba Yaga - written in verse. Colour me curious!
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-releases
This short, contemporary fairy tale book from beloved classic author Jane Yolen is a departure from the norm for the line that published it in a couple of key ways. First, as the subtitle indicates, it is told in verse. More specifically, it is really comprised of a collection of short poems, some of which directly further the narrative, while others serve more introspective or playful purposes. Second, it is being presented as young adult, even though is generally an adult SFF i ...more
Ash (nostrangertothepage)
As far as I can remember I've never read a novel or a novella in verse before.

The speed the verse novella format gave to the story was quite enjoyable, you're whisked along at a brisk pace like a hero or heroine on an adventure, very apros for a fairy tale retelling.

The downside is that it leaves the story feeling a little disjointed at times. I wasn't always sure how our narrator got from one place to the next and I think some of the metaphors went right over my head. I think for something li
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"All I can start with is Once Upon a Time,
that oldest and truest of lies."
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, horror, poetry
I aspire to be Baba Yaga one day. I’ll have to remember to look into this “Ask Baba Yaga” column that Yolen mentions in her foreword. I think it would be quite helpful, since Baba Yaga gives beyond sage advice.
Such a brilliant idea/story/tale to be written in verse. Haunting, beautiful, inspiring, creepy, and thought-provoking.
Just what I needed.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A serendipitous ebook find that I really finished in one go literally. The verse was captivating and the stories they said seemed to resonate to my state of being so well.

That Jane Yolen writes poetry well is probably an understatement. She is an author as well I just discovered - will look for her other work.

Recommended highly for a quick bite of top class poetry.
I love Jane Yolen. I have since childhood. With over 350 works to her name she is prolific writer that is a must for almost all adolescents. When she is not writing “rip your heart out” historicals like the Devil’s Arithmetic, or cute as a button picture books, she is a master reteller of fairy tales.

Her newest take on retelling is the story of Baba Yaga, the Russian witch that lives in a house with chicken feet, that moves at her will. But this isn’t any retelling, in fact, I don’t think of it
Nicholas Kotar
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok, so Russian fairy tales. My favorites, obviously. And not merely because I grew up with them or because I have to because of my Russian heritage. No, they're some of the best fairy tales in the world because they're so ambiguous, confusing, and sometimes just plain crazy. But most importantly, they are just about as inclusive as anything you will ever read. They bring you in, huddle you up in a blanket, dump hygge on you in bucketfuls, and make you tremble both with fear and delight.

So when
I was super psyched to receive a galley of this YA book at BEA 2018 and it didn’t disappoint. Poor home life, runaway teen and a modern retelling of the infamous witch Baba Yaga — and it’s written in verse! This is quite the atmospheric fairy tale with descriptive verse that is concise and effective to the reader. Natasha was an easy character to relate to. The story was short, but packed a memorable punch. I can’t wait to see the illustrations that are supposed to be included in the final versi ...more
There were some strong poems about Natasha and her perspective. I could relate. But I didn't find Baba Yaga, and I didn't feel that the book was really about her. I thought that it was really about the need of the author and readers to project ourselves and our concerns on to fairy tales. This means that fairy tales change for us as we change.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This definitely had a slower start, and I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the story, especially since reading verse is harder for me. But, once Baba Yaga made an appearance, this story really became something special.

I loved how modern society and something old and enchanting were interwoven here. It was beautiful and dark and magical.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a very beautiful yet sometimes confusing read. By the end I pretty much grasped the overall concept but while reading I had some rough patches.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I don’t normally read things like this but it was very enjoyable.
Leah Rachel von Essen
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse is a short, dark novel, an interesting take on the classic Baba Yaga tale. It’s very rapid, likely a novella. At the very beginning, it was a little hard to get into, but later on, the storyline picked up, and the poems got better quickly. My favorite poems were the ones where Jane Yolen connects the witch to the modern age—like Mortar/Pestle, where “Now and then, aliens are reported, / or the government says she’s a weather balloon, / or sometimes an in ...more
Ghoul Von Horror
Definitely a good idea for a book. I'm a HUGE Baba Yaga fan so of course I had to read this book. Sometimes it felt redundant so I dropped off a star but I loved the direction of the book.
Jonathan Maas
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rarely go for tales told through poetry, but this one is the exception. Just incredible, and I hope to write a full review later.
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more

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