by Elana K. Arnold
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Pub Date 01 Mar 2015 | Archive Date 21 Feb 2015
Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Lab ®
"Once there was a mermaid who dared to love a wolf. Her love for him was so sudden and so fierce that it tore her tail into legs."
Sephora Golding lives in the shadow of her unbelievably beautiful mother. Even though they scrape by in the seedier part of Venice Beach, she's always felt lucky. As a child, she imagined she was a minor but beloved character in her mother's fairy tale. But now, at sixteen, the fairy tale is less Disney and more Grimm. And she wants the story to be her own.
Then she meets Felix, and the fairy tale takes a turn she never imagined.
"Things don't really turn out the way they do in fairy tales. I'm telling you that right up front, so you're not disappointed later."
Sometimes, a story is just a way to hide the unspeakable in plain sight.
"Raw and dreamy, tragic and brilliant, Infandous is both about a girl trapped within her own dark fairytale and the cruel fairytale that all girls are trapped inside. There's no looking away as Arnold's astute heroine journeys through the thorny myth and riddle of her sexuality. How can she own what she's given up or lost? How can she not feel taken?"—Stephanie Kuehn, ALA Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange
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Average rating from 47 members
This book. Where do I start? Sephora is such an honest, real, likeable character that I would have followed her story no matter the plot. But what a plot! I loved how the truth of the tale came out in tidbits. Through most of the book I couldn't quite put my finger on what had set Sephora on such a path of self-loathing. When the reveal came, I was stunned one moment and the next I felt like, "Oh, of course." Ms. Arnold takes the reader on a brilliantly written, tightly-packed journey through Sephora's spiral. Add in the fairy tales included (which didn't interrupt the story, only added to its mythology), and I was entirely smitten. It would make a great modern addition to a lesson plan for a certain classic I won't mention... so as not to give anything away!
I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this novel; it was more that I appreciated it. It is all jagged edges, the brusque tone like sandpaper to the skin – and that’s why it was so strong. It is the impeccably woven story of Sephora, a girl coming into her own identity as an artist and a woman. Her relationships are fascinating and grotesque: a parasitic yet loving connection with her beautiful mother, her prickly yet loyal attachment to her best friend, and her own self-loathing yet self-preserving nature. But what I truly appreciated about this story was the way that Elana Arnold retold fairytales and Greek myths to build up the plot. The book was steeped in sexuality, but it wasn’t sensual. Rather it takes you by a fistful of your hair and drags you into the painful, embarrassing and awkward journey to self-discovery. I wasn’t surprised by Sephora’s secret, but I don’t think that was the point. I was swept up in the narrative, amused by her snark and heartbroken by her pain. In the end, it's not about "enjoying"; it's about understanding, and that's why I liked it so much. This was a great read with a killer title.