Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Target audience: Young Adult
The author weaves together a very different tale of Cinderella, one which is richly textured with layers of emotion and set in a fairytale-like Japan. Suzume is not your typical damsel in distress. She is in fact strong and very brave. She barely escapes with her life after witnessing the brutal murder of her father and cousin by soldiers. Her mother soon marries Terrayama, an old family friend from one of the prestigious noble families. Our young protagonist also happens to be a Shadow Weaver, she can create illusions and be whoever she wants to be. When she discovers Terrayama is in fact the man responsible for the attack on her father, she uses her skill to transform into one persona after the next almost losing her true self in the process. Her thirst for revenge becomes an obsession so dark and encompassing that she turns away from the one who truly loves her. Grief, guilt, self-loathing, revenge, passion, friendship and love are the emotions evoked by this brilliantly written story. The characters are strong and the plot compelling. The author deftly touches on the delicate topics of self-mutilation and sexual identity in this astonishingly unique take on a classic love story. Readers will fall in love with this mesmerizing romance.