A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Published: April 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers
Rating: 3 Stars
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl -- Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.
Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers -- and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.
The Caribbean island setting of this book was the first thing to catch my eye... then add a mysterious local folklore involving a cursed girl and I just snatched this one up. A girl with green skin and green hair that sustains herself by eating poisonous plants in Puerto Rico is the local legend that keeps everyone away from the house she supposedly lived in. A house surrounded by walls, full of plants. Who was she? Or better yet... who is she?
Lucas has always been drawn to the story of the cursed girl. After he starts getting notes from her, he can't resist and climbs the wall to her house. This is the start of a whirlwind journey to very unexpected places, and to meet the cursed girl.
I enjoyed the atmosphere and culture this book offered. The descriptions of the island, the weather, the buildings... it all really drew me into the book. The plot was a little off for me unfortunately. It was predictable, but the author still kept me reading. I honestly think it was the ending that got me. I feel like it could have went so many ways, but instead it felt hurried and was tied neatly with a bow. However, I do think if you're looking for something fresh and full of rich culture that is short and sweet... you will not be disappointed.