Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Age Range
Release Date
September 23, 2014
Buy This Book
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 teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking." Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.

Editor review

1 review
Clever and Smart
Overall rating
Writing Style
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, eating disorders, body image, social pressures, sexism, abuse and more. And as an added bonus we're treated to mesmerizing photographs.

For the most part, I really felt like I could identify with many of the poems in one way or another, especially the ones on body image and the society's outrageous beauty standards for women through use of mainstream media. I love how she questions what beauty is and what it means to be a woman. But I supposed what I liked best was Heppermann's ability to convey these messages in very little words. Take, for example, Photoshopped Poem:

Some say the Before poem
had character.
This poem is much more attractive.
With the Healing Brush Tool
I took out most of the lines.
I left in a few
so it wouldn't look unnatural.

The way the poems are written are so very clever and smart. Some even made me chuckle a bit with her use of sometimes unusual places, phrases and items. Simon Says, the Abercrombie dressing room and even G.I. Joe's all seem to find themselves in the pages of Poisoned Apples. I've found myself re-reading some of my favorites at random times of the day and I seem to take something different away each time.

Also, guys, THAT COVER.

Now, I will says that there were some poems that completely went over my head, but that's mostly my fault for being genuinely terrible at poetry. Alas, even Steph Sinclair has her Kryptonite.

That doesn't change the fact that this tiny book, only 128 pages, is probably one of the most memorable that I've read this year and I want as many of my friends to pick this novel up. It feels like this one could get easily overlooked at a bookstore and that's a real shame because Heppermann's bold style is bound to leave marks and open dialogue. It's not to be missed.
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