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All booksYoung adultGirl, Serpent, Thorn
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Young adult

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

by Melissa Bashardoust

Quick take

Rebel against “happily ever after.” This is a dark, feminist fairytale made for real, flawed people.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


Why I love it

Emily A. Duncan
Author, Wicked Saints

There is nothing I love more than stories about monsters, but most especially, stories with romance and monsters. I love when a narrative digs into what it means to be monstrous, when a girl convinced she’s a monster learns to embrace her own power. There is an alluring kind of beauty that comes alongside monstrosity.

Soraya has spent her entire life locked away because of a curse that turns her touch deadly. She lives in perpetual fear of becoming a monster. A series of catastrophic mistakes sees her brother usurped from his throne by a demon who wishes to make her his bride, and Soraya trapped. To save her family, she must reconcile the parts of herself that are just as monstrous as the demons she’s surrounded by.

This book is a Gothic wrapped in a fairytale. As it unfolds, more layers of mastery are shown as myths are seamlessly woven into a story about a girl on a journey of discovering who she is after being surrounded by lies. A story about beauty and terror and monstrosity and how achingly human it is. The prose is sharp, and it lingers, poignant and purposed, long after the book is finished.

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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.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming... human or demon. Princess or monster.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Girl, Serpent, Thorn.

Member thoughts

All (2080)
All (2080)
Love (960)
Like (968)
Dislike (152)
2135 ratings
  • 45% Love
  • 45% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Rocky Mount, MO

    I really enjoyed the build to the book and how the main character is trying to figure out who she is. She learned to accept her past, learn from her current decisions, and taking on her future as a leader

  • Oceanside, CA

    Not your typical fairytale. It was so refreshing to read a story that is as messy and complicated as real life, but also allowed for an escape. **Bonus: the author’s inspiration breakdown in the back

  • Helena, MT

    “There was & there was not...” Action packed & steeped in Persian mythology, this twisty, refreshing fairy tale retelling blurs the line between good & evil, princess & monster. What a great story!

  • Clinton, MS

    Fantasy is not my normal go-to, but I really enjoyed this take on many different parts of Parisian fairy tales. The imagery Bashardoust creates is beautiful, and the story had me turning pages quickly

  • Corcoran, CA

    Girl, Serpent and Thorn, was definitely worth the read, it strays from the typical fairytale. I love how the main character over comes so many obstacles, it inspires the reader to never stop. Amazing!

  • Fredericksburg , VA

    Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a fairytale for all ages. Soraya's tale is about trickery, loneliness and courage will inspire you to embrace yourself and ignore what other's think about you. Very easy, quick

  • Pasadena, MD

    Wow!! This book is AMAZING! Hands down one of my favorite reads of 2020. The writing was so well done, imaginative, and so beautiful and effortless. The characters and plot were GENIUS! Read this now!

  • Washington , DC

    My favorite book so far. An elegant exploration of the blurred lines between good and evil. A fairytale that explores the human condition and helps us to accept ourselves along with the protagonist.

  • Puyallup, WA

    This book is everything! So many twists and turns, so many shocking secrets and reveals, and the line between good and bad - between hero and villain - is constantly blurred. One of my new favorites!

  • Rocky Hill , CT

    This book was great! I love the story and how well written it was. I loved that it was based off non-American known myths/legends. The world created for this book was beautiful as well! A must read!

  • Chicago, IL

    I forgot how refreshing YA can be - this book had POWERFUL moments, tear-jerkers, gorgeous imagery, and yet I never felt like I was drowning in the drama of it all. How lovely to read a fairy tale!

  • Avon, OH

    There was and there was not.... I really enjoyed this story! It's not my usual genre, but I loved learning about a different culture's mythology while following the posion princess on her journey.

  • Fort Mill, SC

    A nice twist on traditional YA. My 13 year-old and i both enjoyed it and had lots to talk about she’s an adventure/scifi lover so it was nice to have something female deiven but not romance heavy


    I seriously loved this book! Its heartbreaking though when you feel sorry for the villain. Even though I was torn between good and bad I could not put this book down. Love the folklore used too!

  • Taylor, MI

    Stand-alone fantasy isn’t really for me but I wanted to try this one out anyway. I adore fairy tales and myths, and this book delivered! The authors notes really boosted this one for me too!!

  • Cincinnati, OH

    This was such a lovely read! Packed with adventure and excitement, this novel kept me on the edge of my seat. It was unpredictable and beautiful, and I'm so glad I added it to my box on a whim.

  • Burbank, CA

    I was so enraptured by this story, the characters, and the images the author invoked that I missed it when I set it down. I loved it. So clever and creative with such a flawed, real heroine.

  • Columbus, OH

    A gripping story of betrayal and redemption. A heartbreaking but deeply satisfying journey of a girl finding her inner peace and confidence, and of her finding love and her place in the world.

  • Zumbrota, MN

    Loved the concept of a poisonous girl locked away in a palace, the Persian mythology-inspired world, and main trio of characters. Also really enjoyed the theme explored: what makes a monster?

  • Meriden, CT

    I generally enjoy YA because u feel like there is often more room for exploration, mistake-making, and discovery in that genre than many others. I ADORED this book. Compelling story-telling!!

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