Book Review of This Poison Heart
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Kalynn Bayron
Ages 12+ | 384 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury | ISBN: 9781547603909
What to Expect: Magic, Greek mythology, Black womanhood, alternative families, LGBTQ+, botany
With compelling characters and delicious mysteries, This Poison Heart is a young adult fantasy that simply cannot be put down until the last page.
When plants notice Briseis, they spring to life. Although this might seem like a blessing for a young woman whose family runs a floristry, it feels more like a curse for Briseis. Her former friends have shied away from her, afraid of the “weirdness” she can no longer entirely hide—and downtown Brooklyn is not the ideal place to have trees bending down to say hello.
Then, hope arrives in the form of an estate lawyer carrying the paperwork for an inheritance. It seems Briseis’ birth mother’s family has left her their family home. Unsure of whether she will find a fresh new start for her family or answers to the secrets of her past, Briseis makes the trip to Rheinbeck, where she finds an old house, a locked garden crammed with poisonous plants, and strangers who are a little bit too keen for her to open the family apothecary back up. Whatever her strange inheritance is, it will test her family bonds to the limits.
Briseis is a compellingly real protagonist, and her first-person narration is irresistible, pulling readers into the story at her side. The magic that fuels the plot is supported by a strong framework of mythological and botanical knowledge, lending remarkable depth to the classic narrative of coming of age with a magical inheritance. Woven through the story in a natural and utterly familiar way, Black and LGBTQ+ culture provide a warm and nurturing backdrop to a plot that never seems to stop twisting.
If you love plants, old books, magic, and mystery, This Poison Heart is one fantasy novel you really can’t afford to miss.
Buy the Book
About the Author
Kalynn Bayron is the bestselling author of the award-winning YA fantasy Cinderella Is Dead and This Poison Heart. She is a classically trained vocalist, and when she’s not writing, you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on a loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in upstate New York with her family.
Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed This Poison Heart. Discover more books like This Poison Heart by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Botany Books, Greek Mythology, LGBTQ Books, and Young Adult Fiction.