Book review · Short fiction · Young adult

Review: Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) from the author. All opinions are my own.

Ripped Pages is a fantasy novelette and a retelling of Rapunzel.

Valentina is the princess of Pouso Dourado. After the death of her mother, she is imprisoned in a tower by the king, who despises her.
Now Val’s only friends are her books and the birds on her windowsill. After a while, she starts to dream of rescue.
When a girl named Agnes passes by on her horse, Val understands that her dreams may come true.

This novelette reads like a story you could find in a book of fairytales. As I mentioned other times before, I love fairytale retellings that actually feel like fairytales, especially if the main character is not straight. Ripped Pages was no exception.
It’s a cute, short romance, but it’s not only that: it’s the kind of story that girls who like girls need, and in its <60 pages manages to mention the existence of non-binary and aromantic people, when most novels (>250 pages, usually) forget them.
Valentina (lesbian) and Agnes (bi or pan) are not the only diverse characters. There is a side m/m couple, and there are diverse minor characters.

There were some developments and plot points that felt rushed, but probably exploring them would have made this novelette longer (it doesn’t need to be) and maybe even ruined the atmosphere.

I know that in a novelette the worldbuilding isn’t going to be as developed as in a novel/novella, but I would have liked to know more about this world. From the names – Pouso Dourado, Magalhães – I assumed it was inspired by Brazil or Portugal in some way, but we know close to nothing about it.

My rating: ★★★¾

Have you read Ripped Pages? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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