Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review - Poison by Bridget Zinn

I don't normally blog about young adult literature on my blog NOT because I don't love reading it but because I write for  younger readers who read picture books, chapter books, early readers and middle grade novels. But every once in awhile a book comes along that I feel is a cross-over to those upper elementary readers and a book that is done so well that it just has to be mentioned and that book happens to be debut author Bridget Zinn's Poison (Hyperion, 2013).

Bridget was a librarian, author, and lover of good books and she died far too early at the age of 33 from colon cancer and never got to see youth enjoying her book. But her family, friends, publisher and agent have worked hard to make sure that her dream of being an author and sharing stories didn't die too and released Poison this past spring. To learn more about Bridget and how you can spread the word about her debut YA novel visit her website here:

I must confess I'm not a huge lover of fantasy but I LOVE a good story filled with mischief, mayhem, romance, good vs. evil, and mystery and Poison delivered all of that and then some. So go ahead and read the jacket flap below and meet me on the other side of these paragraphs.

Jacket flap:

“Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly skilled potions master, is the only one who knows that her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she is the only one who can save it. With no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the King’s Army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute piglet, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Don't you want to run out to your nearest library or book store and grab a copy? I recently had an author friend nominate this book for me for the William C. Morris debut YA award because I feel it's classic, timeless, storytelling at its best!

Bridget Zinn has created a host of diverse and eclectic characters and a world of mystery, romance and intrigue in the Kingdom of Mohr. With page-turning suspense, readers are caught up with Kyra’s struggle to do what’s right and wrestling with the moral dilemma of taking a life to save the lives of many. To make matters worse, the person she must murder is near and dear to her heart, a confident and friend. The only real friend she’s ever known.  Her inner conflict is fraught with additional complexities when she learns a truth about herself that thrusts her into a world of evil and consorting with criminal masterminds. Will this secret destroy her or will it make her stronger? She must learn to trust her instincts and believe in herself and at the same time, open her heart and trust the one man she can never have. Or can she? 

Strong themes of loyalty, friendship, good vs evil, trust and believing in yourself are well-developed and the main character’s growth over the course of the novel is satisfying and authentic. Zinn’s debut is fantastical with rich characters and a fast-moving plot.  Antagonists are well-defined and Zinn carries us to the end of the novel by trying to figure out who is really behind the sinister plot to destroy the kingdom of Mohr.  Language and description paint exquisite scenes and this YA is also appropriate for upper elementary ages who are eager to read beyond their reading level.  Zinn shows readers you don’t need sex and racy language to tell a great YA story. 

Here's a wonderful article written by Alexis Burgling in Publishers's Weekly Promoting a Late Author's Debut Novel: "Poison" by Bridget Zinn and New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith has a guest post by Bridget's friend and critique partner E. M. Kokie, click here to read it.

Happy summer reading friends!