Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Sixteen-year-old Mina is motherless, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone--has never beat at all, in fact, but she'd always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king's heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she'll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen's image, at her father's order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do--and who to be--to win back the only mother she's ever known...or else defeat her once and for all.
Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything--unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
TITLE: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
AUTHOR: Melissa Bashardoust
PUBLISHER: Flatiron Books
LENGTH: 384 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Fantasy, Retelling
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s).
This is a retelling which turns the foundational elements of Snow White (queen, girl, mirror, snow, huntsman, poison, love interest, etc.) into a story where they are recognizable but wholly transformed. The queen/stepmother has actual reasons to have a difficult relationship with her stepdaughter. The tension between the stepmother and stepdaughter is complex and understandable. Their respective fathers are important to the story and drive foundational elements of it but don't take over the story (except when parts of the narrative are about feelings of lost agency and someone else driving the story). The huntsman is well-placed with decent characterization without taking up too much room in a story that isn't really about him. The love interest is shown through the princess's eyes in way that was really endearing. I think someone could enjoy this story without knowing anything about prior versions, it takes the bones of the story but isn't trying to be referential once the reader is immersed in the tale.
I like the alternating narrators, it works really well here. Given that part of the story is about characters who feel misunderstood or dismissed by those around them I think it's especially important that both of them were able to tell their side to the reader. I especially love the gradual change within the two MCs as they shift from repeating what other people told them about themselves to figuring out what they actually want and what they actually think. It's gradual and very well executed.
CW for domestic violence, blood, gore, body horror, suicidal thoughts, suicide (not depicted), parental death, child death, major character death, death.