Lo, Melinda. Ash. 2009. 264p. Little Brown, $16.99. (9780316040099). Gr. 8-12.
Aisling, better known as Ash, is a haunting and engaging Cinderella in Malinda Lo’s new spin on the fairy tale set in a medieval realm in the twilight of its magical past. Ash spends her days acting as servant to her family while finding reasons to live in her feelings for Kaisa, the King’s huntress. Torn between her emerging love for the King’s mysterious huntress and the ethereal draw of the world of the fairies and its connection to her mother, Ash ultimately discovers the strength of her own identity. All of the characters feel real, and Ash in particular is as believable as her cartoon counterpart is not. Her strength and motivation, along with her mistakes and hesitation, work to reveal a very full and rich character.–John Andrews