Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross, (2012, Egmont USA), $9.99, ISBN: 9781606843239
Recommended for ages 14+
Mira Lively has been raised by her godmothers ever since her parents died in a fire at her christening. They’ve kept her pretty sheltered, and Mira is tired of their secrets. She decides to run away to the Louisiana town of Beau Rivage right before her 16th birthday, to find her parents’ graves and feel a connection with them. Things don’t exactly go as planned.
She ends up in Beau Rivage, and finds herself in a casino, where an obnoxious guy named Blue, and his friend Freddie, try to get her to another casino/hotel. She ends up meeting Blue’s brother, Felix, who manages the hotel, and offers her a free suite to stay in.
From there, Mira is swept into a group of teens who have big personalities. They all seem to be hiding something from her – something goes beyond their inside jokes, and they all keep trying to get her away from Felix, especially Blue. Gradually, Mira discovers that the teens in Beau Rivage – herself included – are special. Sentenced to live lives that play out according to fairy tales chosen by actual fairies, they include Jewel, who coughs up flower petal and jewels; Viv, a Snow White whose stepmother will one day send Viv’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, a Huntmans after her to cut out her heart, and Rafe, a crass jerk who will one day transform into a Beast, his curse only breakable when he gets a Beauty to fall in love with him.
Mira’s got a Curse, too – and her 16th birthday is fast approaching. Spending time in Beau Rivage, Mira learns about her Curse, and the curses of everyone around her except for Felix’s and Blue’s – but she needs to find out before it’s too late.
I like fairy tales, and I like stories that turn fairy tales upside down. In that respect, this was a quick, fun, read. But the characters are a group of teens that make some of the worst decisions and are just awful people. Mira decides – at 15 – that a 21 year-old man (Felix) is her true love, even though she’s only known him for a couple of days and everyone she meets tries to warn her away from him. Viv treats Henley – the Huntsman who happens to be her boyfriend when she feels like it – like dirt, flirting with other guys right in front of him and sending him off into a violent rage. Shouldn’t she want to be on his good side?
Speaking of Hensley, his anger issues have anger issues. He starts breaking up cars in a parking lot after seeing Viv flirt with other guys. And she stays with this guy? She also continues living with her stepmother – a woman who will try to kill her at some point – WHY?
Princes marry their Snow Whites, then drug them up because they can’t be excited by them if they’re awake. This, my friends, is really disturbing.
Like I said, Kill Me Softly is a fun read, but if you’re looking for great character study, this isn’t the place. I understand that things need to play out a certain way in this world, but at some point, common sense needs to enter the game.
Sarah Cross’ author page offers links to her social media, plus short stories taking place in the world established in Kill Me Softly. She also links to her Fairy Tale Mood Tumblr, where she posts fairy tale inspiration.