Book Review: GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT by Gina Blaxill

I received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Lower YA/Teen
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: second book

Blurb:

Book cover for GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT: title in white on black above a girl in front of a gingerbread house with branches around

There’s a witch in the woods who kidnaps boys…

The village of Westerleen is suffering a harsh winter, but the threat of the witch is worse. If you venture into the woods, beware entering the witch’s cottage. Because no one leaves there alive…

So when Hansel and Gretel return unharmed, Hansel is hailed as a hero. But Gretel knows the truth, and it demands to be unravelled…

How did they escape? What really happened in the witch’s cottage?

Synopsis taken from back of copy. Add to your Goodreads shelves here.


Review:

GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT is a Hansel and gretel retelling that twists the narrative to make you continually wonder who is at fault, and what lengths people will go to get what they want.

This is a non-linear book, with a main “present” story that alternates with flashbacks across the mostly the time leading up to Hansel and Gretel heading into the woods and then their time with the witch, but there are also events further back and closer. It creates a really engaging unspooling of the mystery of what really happened. Every time you think you have a handle on what happened, more information is revealed, forcing you to change your stance,.

Gretel is a great unreliable narrator. I love d the structure so much. It’s a really fun, unusual way to tell a story like this, and it must have taken so much time to work out in order to get it interlocking so smoothly.

It is a feminist examination that explores the consequences on putting limits on women. Gretel’s home is a rural one with very clear expectations for how women behave, and they are willing to make erroneous assumptions and force others into small boxes in order to maintain their beliefs rather than rocking the boat. Gretel never fits the ideal, land her desperation to be free, be more leads to her taking matters into her own hands.

GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT is one of those rare YA books that fits at the lower end of the age range, the forgotten teen. It was so nice to read a book aimed at 12-15 year olds, which is very much missing from publishing and I hope we see more of books like this.

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