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Roses and Rot

by Kat Howard

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3523372,302 (3.73)5
Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn't imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program; Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there's more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she's dreamed about as a child, but it's one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart's desire.… (more)
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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Okay, so, I'm quitting this book even though I love the premise and the writing's great.

With me so far? No? Me either.

Book is based on a premise of a prestigious artist's retreat. Two sisters, one a dancer, the other a writer, both make it into the retreat -- first time in its history that a pair of siblings both make it, and from this program often come stars in their chosen fields. So the sisters, they're learning and doing art and doing cool stuff... but there's a seedy underbelly (isn't there always?) to this whole thing, a darker purpose.

I'm right at the halfway point; the tension's high, the foundation for the story's phenomenal... and it's making me so anxious that I'm sick to my stomach.

There's a point somewhere earlier in the book that the protagonist mentions that when you're abused, you look at someone else who's had it so much worse and remind yourself that it could be worse, what you're going through isn't all that bad, etc. And then we got to the holidays, and the protagonist is remembering going through some pretty awful stuff with her narcissistic mother, and ... my childhood wasn't that bad, it could have been so much worse.

So, I'm not going to minimize it, but I'm also going to give myself some grace. This book is giving me anxiety attacks purely because of my own history. It is a good book with a good premise and interesting (and dark) as heck, but soooo not for me. ( )
  lyrrael | Aug 3, 2023 |
Disclaimer: I won this book from Simon & Schuster via a Litsy giveaway.

Filled with flowery language and literary pop culture references this book was thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
  LynnMPK | Jul 1, 2023 |
2840
  freixas | Mar 31, 2023 |
A lyrically written slow-burn fantasy story that explores the relationship between two sisters and the depth of their devotion to the arts they are studying. This novel is filled with stunning imagery and raw observations about the impact of years of emotional and physical abuse the women suffered at the hands of their mother. It is a dark fairy-tale in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm. I was captivated. ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
Modern Tam Lin, well worth the read

Beautifully written, well done plot/characters/setting. I believed wholeheartedly in the world while I was reading and woke to my own world when I finished the book. Definitely going on my re-read shelf. ( )
  Jackelopette | Jun 22, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.

--William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Dedication
For my sister
First words
Marin sat on my bed, next to my half-packed suitcase.
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Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn't imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program; Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there's more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she's dreamed about as a child, but it's one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart's desire.

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