Tag Archives: samantha mabry

Book Review: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

Algonquin Young Readers
Published March 24, 2020
288 Pages

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window.

A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.- Goodreads

TW: Death

I seem to do better with heavy emotion books when there is some magic in it.  For me it makes the blow easier. This book is as heavy as it can get.  It is told through each sister’s POV and I am super thankful for that. You have Iridian, who is angry and trying to escape in her writing. Jessica, who is a walking ball of sadness and responsibility and Rosa, who is trying to be spiritual and magical at the same time. Although all of them were dripping with grief and depression, being able to read each of their POV made the book’s topic easier to read.

I can’t say that I liked any of the sisters but I enjoyed reading Iridian more. There was a very defined personality despite her grief and she was honest with what was her truth and I enjoyed reading that.

I have to say that if you are going through something right now in your life or recently went through the motions, you might want to put a pause on this. Ana’s death is described with clear imagery. You know what happen. You know the rumors around her death and you know what lead to it. If you are struggling with grief, I can’t recommend this book to you.

However, if you are not and love an emotional family read then this is for you.  Mabry, the author, does a great job telling this story. The pace is wonderful and the book is detailed. The way the magic in this novel is written is a mix of creepy and realistic. You feel it and I think that is what the author was going for.

Overall, this was a solid book that changes the way magical realism in YA is done.

3.5 Pickles 


Book Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published April 12, 2016 288 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
Published April 12, 2016
288 Pages

17 year old Lucas lives mainland but stays with his Father, hotel developer, in Puerto Rico in the summer.  So the stories about the cursed girl, Isabel, is nothing new to him. For years, Señoras have spoken about the girl with the green skin that eats poison to stay alive and can kill you with one touch. Children send letters asking her to grant them wishes. Nothing but childish play.

But when he begins receiving messages with his wishes crossed out and the girl he is interested in disappears, he finds Isabel and unlocks dangerous secrets that can destroy the life he has always known.

I love the cover. It is bright and captivating; truly perfect for this story. But despite the beauty of the cover I didn’t like the book.

To sum up the story, “white boy plays hero after his “girlfriend” is found murdered.” The thing is normally I wouldn’t have too much issues with this simple summary but the book was filled with stereotypes that even the author called out in the book.

Lucas’s father is white and his mother is Puerto Rican. He gets some side eyed stares but for the most part he is in a good place. The stereotypes begin with the description of the  Puerto Rican women and young girls. Without getting into much detail, Lucas’s father isn’t too happy with the fact that he had a child with a Puerto Rican, which states that the woman are okay for one thing if you do not get into close.

Lucas tries to be different but he is the same; being with various girls using his Dad’s car whenever he wants, stealing alcohol . . .typical. Lucas wasn’t an interesting character in the least. There is a bit more disturbing incidents within this story but that would be too look to write.

None of the characters were extremely fulfilling. Isabel had some depth to her but it fell short, rather quickly. I also didn’t appreciate the lack of creative transitions within the story. Every time a new character was to begin or something is to happen, Lucas falls a sleep -_- Really? A good eight hours of nothing passes because Lucas either becomes dead tired or he is knocked out. I thought it was an amateur move.

Also his “girlfriend” was but into the back burner TWICE (I just wanted to put that out there).

I know that I am displaying a lot of negative points in this book but there was some good to it. Mabry can write. Although the story was quick and had some issues, I couldn’t put it down. Maybe it was a mix of the story eluding something amazing was going to happen or maybe because the author created a not as complicated story as one would think from reading the story (backhand compliment, I know. Sorry.) I did appreciate the lack of romantic focus. Even though the whole point of Lucas getting involved was because of his “girlfriend.”

Overall the story was okay. Characters could have been way better. There could have been more suspense as well as history. I mean come on the setting is Puerto Rico. The story was a good idea but failed attempt.

1 Pickle


What Tanya Wants: April 2016


April is going to be one expensive month.