Salem’s Lot meets The Darkest Part of the Forest in this horror-fantasy retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.”
Lou never believed in superstitions or magic–until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.
The market is a place Lou has only read about–twisted streets, offerings of sweet fruits and incredible jewels. Everything–from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves–is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in.
Determined to save Neela, Lou learns songs and spells and tricks that will help her navigate this dangerous world and slip past a goblin’s defenses–but she only has three days to find Neela before the market disappears and her aunt becomes one of them forever.
If she isn’t careful, the market might just end up claiming her too.
Content warnings: on-page gore, on-page body horror, violence, trauma
Five reasons to read Not Good for Maidens:
- Witchy and creepy vibes
- Ace MC & (Star-crossed!) Sapphic Lovers
- Gorgeous (but not over-stuffed) prose
- Goblins, Witches, and a whole lot of drama
- Fantasy-Horror with a side of family secrets
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ My Not Good for Maidens Review:
Told from the dual POVs of Lou and her Aunt May, Not Good for Maidens dives right in, drawing you immediately into a creepy version of the present – where witches and goblins are very much real. Often when I read fantasy set in a world that also has cell phones, modern technology will pull me out of the storyline, this novel avoids that pitfall and I sunk deep into York.
I loved seeing clear queer representation in the characters, nothing felt like a wink and a nudge add-on to the plot. Each character’s identity was a part of deeper characterization and woven into larger story arcs.
I am a sucker for a well done dual POV novel and Bovalino weaves together Lou & May’s experiences with the Goblin Market (and their teen rebellion) in a way that moves efficiently through the story. I did get a little tired of Lou’s complaints about being kept in the dark about her family’s magical history, but I also can’t fault her for being so frustrated!
The writing was absolutely incredible, Bovalino is a master crafts person in that she can write eloquent, dreamy prose just as well as killer one-liners and wisecracks.
“She slipped into the twilight, into the hour that was not good for maidens, as the stars blinked and cluttered the night sky.”
“Lou felt like she’d fallen headfirst into the rabbit hole, if that rabbit hole was also a thrift store run by two bunnies on ecstasy.”
Toeing the line between fantasy and horror, this book is best read with all the lights on.
Thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours & Page Street Publishing for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Author Tori Bovalino:
Tori Bovalino grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and never knew she wanted to live abroad until she was already in London. She’s awful at picking favorites, but her consistent go-to books are Pride and Prejudice, Fire, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. She’s enamored with books that make her cry.
Tori holds a BA in English fiction writing and anthropology and a minor in German from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is currently on the Creative and practice-based PhD course at RHUL, researching the relationship between Russian folklore and YA fantasy novels. In her free time, Tori enjoys reading (duh), embroidering, and traveling.
She is represented by Dr. Uwe Stender and Amelia Appel at TriadaUS Literary Agency. She writes short stories, poetry, and novels.