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Girl, Serpent, Thorn

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  16,086 ratings  ·  3,551 reviews
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse...

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it's not just a story.
Hardcover, Fairy Loot Exclusive Edition, 322 pages
Published May 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Soph M Why, yes. I do agree with you! Not only is the cover similar but so is the title. At least the plot is different and I'm looking forward to this book …moreWhy, yes. I do agree with you! Not only is the cover similar but so is the title. At least the plot is different and I'm looking forward to this book anyway!(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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chai ♡
find this review & others on my blog

The story of the Shah’s twin sister came to the people of Atashar as most rumors do, as a drifting set of jokes and have-you-heards that combined and recombined themselves slowly into a single tale: a poisonous girl with the blood of a div moving in her veins, a burden to her family, living in the shadows, cursed and reviled.

But unlike most rumors, this one is true.

Soraya knows fear in the shape of her own face. She felt it in her poisonous blood, an
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple Persian fairytale based on Sleeping Beauty. My favorite part about this was the sapphic romance; this was the main thing driving me to keep reading because I was like "wait... is it...?!" I wish the protagonist wasn't so wishy-washy though; this dragged the story a lot and made it hard to believe her struggle with being "monstrous" (nothing about her really was evil or monstrous; she's just very indecisive lol). ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poisonous girl threatens the people’s lives who dare to touch her (intentionally or accidentally) Poor Soraya suffers from loneliness, is exiled from her inner circle, living in the shadows because poison flows through her veins and she can kill somebody anytime. But a mysterious boy gets interested with her situation and he seems like he is not afraid of her.

You may think what a great pilot, the boy will break the curse, fight with the demons and ride to the sunset singing “take my horse to
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Sometimes the Princess is a monster.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is Melissa Bashardoust's sophomore novel; one I was greatly anticipating.

Her debut, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, a wildly-creative reimagining of Snow White, blew me away when I read it in 2018.

I was enchanted by Bashardoust's vivid imagination and ability to uniquely recreate a well-known tale.

This latest story is an original fairy tale following a princess, Soraya, who due to a curse, is poisonous to the touch.

Because of
Miranda Reads

A new BookTube Video is Up all about whether you should buy, borrow or burn 2020 YA books! Let me know what you think!
The Written Review

Stories always begin the same way. There was and there was not. There is a possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair.
Soraya is a princess but she has spent her life in fairytales and hidden away because of her deepest, darkest secret.
...the div cursed her firstborn daughter, making her poisonous, so that anyone who touche
may ➹
[slams hand on table] I wanted more GAY.


Girl, Serpent, Thorn is an enthrallingly written fantasy drawing inspiration from Persian mythology and Sleeping Beauty. Soraya, the twin sister of the Shah, should be able to walk the streets of her country freely and touch anything without the worry that it will wither away. But for her entire life, she has been cursed with a poisonous touch, with the blood of a div (demon) coursing through her. When a div is captured in a local village, Soraya may fi
Chelsea Humphrey
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Flatiron Books
"I am both the Sleeping Beauty and the enchanted castle; the princess drowses in the castle of her flesh."
-Angela Carter, Vampirella

As someone who is new to Melissa Bashardoust's novels, I can't really say how this novel compares to her previous one, but what I can say is that Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a delightful breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy genre. I'm always on the search for fairytale retellings that incorporate non-Western stories, and this Persian inspired spin on "the poisonous gir

Fairyloot's May 2020 Box - DESERT DREAMS 🖤
My Rep Code: MELANIE5 ❤️

Oh, I wanted to love this one so very badly! Sadly, most of the characters just felt so insufferable and their actions felt so convenient and questionable. This is ownvoices for the Persian mythos, and does star a bi MC (the author is queer, but I’m not sure what they ID as!) But this is a story about a princess who is cursed with a poisonous touch, and because of that she is constantly alone and locked away by her family because
Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ❤️
Dark, Unexpected and Completely Original!

This book was totally different than I thought it would be. I expected something along the lines of Rapunzel, with a princess locked away in a castle only to be rescued by a prince who is able to see who she really is despite her differences. However what I got was a girl who didn’t just sit in her room locked away and waiting to be rescued, but one who did what she could to rescue herself and she didn’t always do what was right or proper. She makes mista
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same. She had been alone long enough to know which one she was.

Friends, no matter how excited I was to read this gorgeous Persian fairytale retelling with queer girls and demons — a description that had all of my interests piqued entirely on its own — and no matter how many rave reviews I'd already seen, nothing could have prepared me for how utterly captivating and entrancing and gorgeous Girl, Serpent, Tho
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
4.5 Stars

This book wasn’t on my radar but it came today in my MAY FairyLoot (yes, still covid late)

Here’s a pic of the stuff with the exception of the bath salts. I tossed them off to the side and forgot to add them. Anyhoo...

1. Bookish Tin inspired by We Hunt The Flame
2. Bookish Wooden Spoon with a quote from Hero Of The Fall
3. Tea Towel inspired by The City Of Brass
4. Desert Bath Salts
5. Tribal Desert Candle inspired by An Ember In The Ashes
6. Sunglasses Pouch with quote from The Forbidden W
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
did someone summon me? I heard the magic words . . . antiheroine arc and f/f and bisexual mc.

The first thought I had immediately after finishing this (and throughout, really) is that I think it would have thrived as a duology. That is not to say it does not make a satisfying standalone (it does), but there are two identifiable parts to the book and I felt like the antiheroine arc could've been really good if pulled over two books, as would the development of the romance with Parvaneh.

The other
Lucy Langford
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
”You could kill me with a single touch. Why should you ever be afraid of anyone?”


This book was captivating and unexpected, filled with Persian mythology and culture. Our main protagonist, Soraya, the sister of the Shah, is cursed- she is poisonous to the touch causing almost instant death to most living and breathing things she touches. Living a life of exile in the palace, we witness her loneliness, jealousies and fear of her own power.

When Soraya hears that a Div has been captured, she
✨    jay   ✨
inspired by Persian mythology, has a morally grey bi mc who is spending the book teetering on the edge of villainy, monster girlfriends, transportive writing that sucks you directly into the world and SO many twists and turns, please add it to your pre-order lists

full review to come
Buddy read with the amazing @Naomi Waters!!! I loved reading this book with you!

There was and there was not. A girl living in a castle hidden away like a secret or a treasure. Most people didn’t know about the Shahzadeh, the Shah’s twin sister. And there was a good reason for that, for the girl was cursed. Everything she touched was meant to die, for she was poisonous.

I’m so emotional right now. This book means everything to me. As someone who comes from Iran reading a book about my own cultur
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
I received an earc of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review

CW: manipulation, murder, death, battle, intrusive thoughts.

Since the day I finished Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, I have been looking forward to whatever book she’ll be putting out next. So knowing the premise of Girl, Serpent, Thorn combined with how much I adore her writing I really couldn’t see how anything could go wrong with this book. And I was 110% right, Girl, Serpent, Thorn sucked m
C.G. Drews
This is a whimsical and fantastical Persian inspired fantasy and after finishing it, I totally get the cover now. The whole book is this balance of bloody thorns and monstrous hearts, mixed together with beauty and innocence and aching loneliness. It's based on quite a few threads of mythology like Rappaccini's Daughter, the Persian epic Shahnameh, and a bit of Sleeping Beauty mixed in. It also felt a lot like the Ballad of Tamlin I think? (Basically if you liked ACTOAR but wished it was gay; th ...more
Juliana (Midnight Book Blog)
Plot: The plot felt suuuuper slow. There was just so much inner dialogue and description, and it didn’t seem like that much happened outside of it, especially for the first half of the book.

Characters: Soraya was painfully naive, which I guess makes sense since she had been isolated her whole life. But still, yikes. The villain was very predictable, and I didn’t feel anything strongly for them or the MC. The pariks were the best characters, but had a small role.

Overall: This book is based on P
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i would do anything for these monster girlfriends
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This was fun! I didn't have super high expectations going in because YA fantasy isn't typically my favorite genre, but this was pretty fun to read. It wasn't a perfect story, and I do think that A LOT of the conflicts had very convenient and easy solutions, but overall this was a fun time and I'm happy that I spent the last few days in between these pages. I did end up listening to this one as an audiobook while reading along in the physical book and I think that added to the experience for me. ...more
This was so. Good. If you love queer fairytales, especially of the non-Western variety, do not do not do NOT miss this Persian-influenced bisexual one.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
imagine not having the attention span of a goldfish and being able to actually follow a storyline while listening to an audiobook,,, lmao I could never
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm also a book blogger: Vee_Bookish
(ARC provided by NetGalley, my opinions are unbiased)

This was one of two books I read at the same time, that I found difficult to finish because I was just so incredibly bored (the other one was Havenfall). Originally I thought that this may because we've just hit the Coronavirus epidemic, but after finishing the books I realised that they both have major issues that affected my reading.

This book sounded so, so good with hella Medusa vibes. It's based around P
Lucie V.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, fantasy
✅ Original concept
✅ Characters
✅🆗 Pace
✅🆗 Plot
🆗 World-building
🆗 Romance

Soraya was cursed by a demon when she was only a baby: anyone who touches her dies instantly. She has spent her life hidden away so she wouldn't tarnish the royal family's reputation (she is the Shah's twin sister after all) or accidentally kill someone and now more than ever, she yearns for warmth and touch. She wants more than this sad isolated life where even her family does not really know her or talk to her. It all seems h
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-f
4.5 stars
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

Well, I have to say I was a bit nervous going into this, given the mixed reviews and total GR rating being just under 4 stars (which btw this confounds me— I truly believe this deserves AT LEAST 4 solid stars, but 🤷🏼‍♀️) ...

I have to say, though, that this was absolutely magical, fantastic & everything my mythology/folklore loving heart could’ve asked for! Such an awesome look into Persian mythology, which is one culture whose folklore tales I was not at all familiar wi
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BuddyReads with Nashitaaaaaaa💜 and Bhavyaaaaaaa💜.

There are going to be BIG spoilers ahead, so beware. But for your convenience, I will put them in spoiler tags.

The Plot:
This story is revolves around a girl called Soraya who is in her early 20s. Soraya is the twin sister of Sorush, the Shah of Atashar(Shah means King in Persian). Soraya is poisonous at touch and so is kept as a secret. Very few people know of her existence, and she is fed up of that. She decides that s
Brittany Lee
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-arcs, fantasy
Sweet and beautiful like a rose on the outside, prickly thorns line the inside. This is a fairytale gone rogue. She is a princess, she is a monster...

GIRL, SERPENT, THORN is a queer (female/female/bi) YA fantasy inspired by Persian mythology, the American fairytales- SLEEPING BEAUTY, RAPUNZEL, and RAPPACCINI'S DAUGHTER, and the author's exploration of legends and myths of her own culture and heritage, with particular attention tributed to the Persian- Sasanian era.

All of the historical words for
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I'm getting THE WINTER DUKE vibes from this oml

It's on sale for $2.99 today! (5/14)
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: Persian cast & settings, bi mc, sapphic li

Review also on my blog. ARC provided by the publisher.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is revolutionary in more than one respect and for that we should all be grateful. It’s a feminist fairy tale for the modern times, even though it’s set in ancient Persia, even though it’s full of magic and monsters.

The plot is influenced by Sleeping Beauty, but at every turn twists the the well known story into something new and unexpected, and extraordinary. The princess is
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Melissa Bashardoust (pronounced BASH-ar-doost) received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first ...more

Articles featuring this book

Melissa Bashardoust is no stranger to writing queer feminist retellings of popular fairy tales. Her first novel, 2017’s  Girls Made of Snow and...
64 likes · 9 comments
“Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not. There is possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair.” 41 likes
“She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same. She had been alone long enough to know which one she was.” 23 likes
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