Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime. Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for. From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.
What worked: I loved this twist on the animals in fairy tales. A Disney movie comes to mind where Cinderella's 'helpers' were in fact animals that were changed in order for her to get to the Prince's ball in time. In this darker version a witch changes animals to do her bidding. She's cruel and selfish. When she is murdered, Anouk and the other 'Beasties' find out some truths that has them escape Paris in their quest for help.
Anouk's character starts as a meek, humble servant of Mada Vittora. She looks upon her almost as a mother. She also has strong feelings for Luc, an older brother figure, who looks out for her and ends up going missing. The chauffeur, Beau, has strong feelings for Anouk and his struggles are very real. Throughout the novel Anouk's character grows and she totally arcs at the end.
There's so much to love about this fantasy. There's hints of romance, betrayals, dark secrets, magic, loyalty, mystery of who killed the witch, and determination to rise above the stigma of being a beastie.
Enchanting and captivating twist on classic fairy tales with a protagonist who finds the determination to find the strength to rise above being just a servant. Fans of Holly Black will devour this magical novel and want a sequel.
3. Enchanting and very engaging