Title: A Fierce and Subtle Poison
Author: Samantha Mabry
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Synopsis: Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.
Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.
If that synopsis does not make you want to run and buy this book then I don’t know what will. This debut novel is brilliant, it mixes magical realism with murder mystery and a dark romance, i.e. an amazing combination.
What first drew me to the book was the setting – South-America. I have never read a book set there and I was so intrigued to see how it was portrayed. Let me just say that Samantha did it so well, I adored the mix of Spanish vocablos through this story.
I went into it without knowing much and I think it’s definitely best that way, but just know that this story follows a young American spending his summers in South-America where his extremely wealthy father develops properties. He is looked down-upon by the locals because of this but soon finds himself surrounded by the legends that he was told as a kid by the abuelas of the town about a “witch” that grants wishes. This story also has girls disappearing throughout it and a scientist gone mad with grief on an island guarded by spirits.
I gave this book 4 stars and I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Disclosure: Thank you so much to Algonquin Young Readers for sending me a review e-ARC in exchange for an honest review