Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Published by Tor Teen
Expected Publication: September 20th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling, Paranormal
Source: requested via Raincoast Books
Summary from Goodreads:
In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.
In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.
But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .
Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students.
A modern retelling that will make little to no sense.
Vassa in the Night is a modern day retelling of a Russian folklore entitled "Vassilisa the Beautiful". Vassar owns a tiny wooden magical doll named Erg that she takes everywhere, it was given to her by her mother before she passed away. Now that her mother and father are gone, she faces the life that has ultimately been dealt for her. Vassa lives in an enchanted version of Brooklyn with her step-mother and step-sisters.
One night, Vassa's step-sister tells her that she needs to go to the store to pick up light bulbs. The problem? The only store that is open that late is runned by Babs Yagg. The store is usually displayed with severed heads, to dissuade people from trying to shoplift the store.
Having never heard or read the original version, Vassilisa the Beautiful, I didn't know what to expect. When I first began reading this story, I was intrigued. The premise, plot, and characters all seemed rather...unique. Weird too, but mostly unique. After about 45% of the novel, I started to feel like the story was just dragging for me. There was nothing to really fascinate me or make me want to read more.The weirdness just continued to expand well the process with the plot began to diminish.
In the end, this was not one of the best books I have read. Not the worst either, but still nothing to really push me to read more. If you don't like fantasy novels with a lot of weird things happening then this is definitely not the best fit for you.
I write stories that seem to me to be quite true enough for all practical purposes. Among them are VASSA IN THE NIGHT, THE LOST VOICES TRILOGY, and the forthcoming WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and TENTACLE AND WING. Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the fantastic. I always have new novels underway, both Young Adult and Grownup/ Literary/ Speculative. When not writing my own weird stuff, I can often be found leading creative writing workshops with amazing young NYC public-school writers via Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Or I might be drawing, or gardening, or wandering wraithlike through the streets. I live in Brooklyn, land of mystery, with my awesome husband Todd and our two cats, Jub Jub and Delphine.
Represented by Kent D. Wolf of the Friedrich Agency.