“There are worse things in the world to be than delicate. If you’re delicate, it means no one has tried to break you.”
–Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Mina is sixteen, her mother’s dead, her father is a magician and unloving, and she has just discovered that her heart will never beat or feel love. Her father cut her heart out and replaced it with one of glass when she was a child. Still upset from moving to the always frozen Whitespring Castle, she formulates a plan to woo the widowed King, become Queen, and finally know how it feels to be loved. As an added bonus, she become stepmother to the king’s young daughter, Lynet.
Fifteen year old Lynet is the mirror image of her late mother and discovered one day the horrifying reason why. A magician, ordered by her father, created her out of snow in the deceased queen’s very image. But while she may appear the very image of her mother, she wants to be more like her fiercely beautiful stepmother, Mina, who has raised her to be independent and think for herself, despite her father’s orders to do otherwise.
When her father removes Mina as queen of the southern territories (her homelands) and hands that crown over to Lynet, Mina is furious and Lynet is conflicted. She wants the freedom but not at the cost of her relationship with her stepmother.
This sets off a series of tumultuous events that neither Lynet nor Mina know how to stop, leading both to decide whether to defeat the other, or win back the only family either one has ever known.
This story is told in the past with Mina as a young adult, attempting to win over the king, and in the present, with Lynet coming of age and discovering who she is and how she fits into the world. This also happened to be one of my 2017 Reading Challenge books. It was fantastic and made my bleeding heart twinge for the complicated and hard relationships it addresses. I had a messy relationship with my biological father growing up that was the source of a lot of hurt but my stepfather was a rock for me during that time. I, at times, was such a bitter and resentful teenager and I took it out on him and my mum more than I’d like to admit but he retaliated by showering me with love and the promise of being constant in my life. I felt a lot of these tones in Mina’s relationship with Lynet and it was nice to be able to relate to the book in that way.
I’d probably recommend this book for 8th grade and up, maybe 7th for a strong reader. For being Bashardoust’s first novel, it’s a home run. I can’t wait to see what else she writes!