Cover Image: The Grimrose Girls

The Grimrose Girls

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Member Reviews

The Grimrose Girls was not what I expected it to be at all, The best way i can describe this book is as a boarding school murder mystery, fill with drama, curses and a lot of fairy-tale twists both Disney and Grimm Tales.

While this book was good, I was never fully immersed into the story and found myself going back and rereading parts just to make better sense of it, I'm not sure if this was because of the multiple POV's with small chapters and a lot of jumping back and forth or the fact that I was reading this book at the wrong time. The Grimrose Girls is a slow start with the action picking up around 40-50% in and that is where we fully start diving into the once upon a time + pretty little liars realm.

If you enjoy the boarding school/high school murder mysteries and fairy-tales I do say give this a shot, I will most likely reread this down the line when/if the sequel comes out. 

Thank you to NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire for the Earc.
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Thank you so much, NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review.

TW: murder, emotional and physical abuse, chronic pain

When their best friend Ariane dies, everyone is convinced she killed herself, but Ella, Yuki and Rory refuse to believe that and they are determined to find out what really happened, above all when they discover a mysterious book and note among Ariane's things. When Nani Eszes arrives as their new roomate, the four girls start to investigate and retrace Ariane's final days, until they discover a dark secret surrounding their boarding school: Ariane's death wasn't the first. They soon learn a connection between these deaths and ancient fairytales curses and how their fates are connected to them too. To stop others from dying, they will do anything they can.

The Grimrose girls is a brilliant and unique fairytales retelling, with a wonderful and complex queer female cast, a murder investigation, a boarding school mystery and so much more. Ella, Yuki, Rory and Nani are four reimagined fairytale heroines, the story is told by their POVs and they are intricate and well rounded, each of them with their pasts, traumas, desires, hopes and dreams.
Ella, determined to help anyone, but with an abusive situation at home, Yuki, willing to protect her friends, but struggling to be herself, Rory, fighting with chronic pain, her parents' desires and her own and Nani, trying to understand where she can fit and what happened to her father. Their own personal stories and struggles intertwine with their determined investigation to understand what exactly happened to Ariane, questioning the school's past and its deaths (ruled as accidents now and in the past), secret passageway, curses and fairytales, crushes and new and old friends. The characterization is fantastic, each character is complex and skillfully written, layered and realistic and their interactions are genuine, relatable, with their fights, banters and flirts.
The setting is fascinating, a boarding school in Switzerland, an elite school, a nearby picturesque small town, balls and intrigues.  
The murder investigation, the fairytale curses intrigued me right away and I was so invested in this story, full of twists, each POV intriguing and captivating, because I really loved every single character. The characters are female, except for Frederick and there's a lovely queer rep, there are aro, ace, demi, lesbian, trans and bi characters.

I loved how the author dealt with complex themes, like emotional and physical abuse, chronic pain, grief, writing relatable and wonderful characters, impossible not to love, in this empowering and feminist retelling. I can't wait to know more about the curse and these characters!
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This was a dark, twisty retelling of classic fairytales with a hyper-focus on the women who feature in those tales. There was an elegant weaving of horror, fantasy and LGBTQ+ representation. The gruesome murders and connecting of their current world with the fairytales was entertaining and I was wondering who was going to be the next murdered fairytale character. I also loved that lesser-known fairytales were woven in and mentioned so that it wasn't just the big stories. 

That being said, this book fell flat and only served as a set up for the next book. I wasn't engaged enough to find out who the bad-guy was, and once we got to midway point, I was focused on the stepmother headmistress and one of the girls our main four protagonists interact with. Lo- and behold I was right, but I still didn't feel satisfied at the end of the book.  

I kept forgetting that Grimrose was not just a girl's school since we rarely came in  contact with any of the boys aside for two. Also, what happened to Nani's motivation and questions of where her dad went? You don't really just get over that mystery even if you find friends and a little bit of adventure. I felt like the plot point got lost - and really wasn't necessary in the long run since halfway through the book it practically disappears from the narrative. 

Overall, the story was one that passed the time, and I did enjoy a lot of elements of the storytelling (the murder, horror, old academy, repeating murders, mystery spanning decades, etc.). But it fell flat in development of the magic powers that pop up, the background stories were a bit too vague in some cases, and the build to climax was just too slow. The school and the public didn't care about the deaths, and the consistency of that made me as the reader not really care. 

I'll keep an eye out for the next book, but I'm not running out to pick it up the second it gets released. Loved the cover!
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an INCREDIBLE fantasy, i absolutely LOVED this one! I’ve recommend this to so so many people and i can’t wait to see others reading this beauty. it is so amazing and beautiful and unique.
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This is the book of my Ever After High dreams.
 I loved the way fairy tales were woven into this story. I am always up for a mystery set in a boarding school and I never think it's an overdone trope, but I can see how other people might get bored of it eventually. This book takes that trope and adds in such cool and creative elements, giving a really cool refresh to my favourite trope. 
Mysteries are my favourite, and this one doesn't disappoint. I like the focus on the characters, and the way that Ariane is more than just the dead girl because of how much her death impacts the others. I like the characters, but honestly the fairy tale angle and the boarding school setting were the best parts of the book. 
I am definitely excited to read the second book!
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This book had all my favourite things in it and I absolutely loved it. I need book 2 now please!

This book weaves together several retellings of the original Grimm fairy tales, there are no happy endings in this books. There is a lot of death and mysteries which were amazing. You spend the book trying to figure out which character is from which fairy tale, while some are easy to identify, some are not. If you are a fan of retellings, this book is right up your alley.

It's also super queer which I was not expecting and pleasantly surprised by. There are lesbian, bisexual, and aro ace characters among the main 4 which is amazing. Plus, the four main characters are also very diverse and from different backgrounds and cultures. 

They other thing that I loved about this book is the multiple POV's, the fact that every chapter is told from a different perspective keeps you on your toes while reading. I could not put this book down, I just had to see how all the narratives fit together. Once you get the complete story at the end, seeing how it was all set up was just *chef's kiss* perfection. 

This book has officially gotten me out of my reading slump!
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What a good surprise I have been with
this story!

Actually, I have been quite intrigued since I read the synopsis, this vibe of pretty little lies and how many fairies caught my attention so I said ok I must read this, and Wooh what a surprise I have been with the way in which the author mixes all these elements and makes it such a good book.

Already pending for the next book!
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The Grimrose Girls is the story of a strange academy where Ella, Yuki and Rory are mourning the unexpected death of their friend Ariane. The girls don’t agree with the official police report and they work together to retrace the days leading up to her death for clues. Nani, a new student, abruptly arrives in the dorm to take Ariane’s space. As murderous events continue to plague the campus, it becomes clear that what happened to Ariane is not an isolated event. Instead, a deadly pattern related to fairy tales is unfolding. As the girls struggle to find the villain behind it all, no one in the academy can be trusted-  not even their closest friends. 

The Grimrose Girls is an intriguing and fast-paced adventure. I definitely agree with the comparison to The Descendants, though I found The Grimrose Girls to be darker and more complex. I would also agree with the comparisons made to Once Upon A Time and Riverdale. The idea behind the plot is very creative, but I struggled a little bit with the pacing of the reveal. One of my favorite parts of this story was the excellent LGBTQ+ rep and twisting of seemingly well-known fairy tales. The characters all have good motivations and plenty of secrets! If you love fairy tales, solving murders, and seek a dark adventure then The Grimrose Girls is for you. I enjoyed The Grimrose Girls and will be curious to see where the sequel takes them next! 

The Grimrose Girls is out now. Thank you to Laura Pohl, Sourcebooks Fire, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

For publisher: My review will be posted on Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Storygraph, and Barnes & Noble etc
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Thanks to NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. Sadly, I left this off at 20% of the way through because it wasn't holding my interest. 

I know murder mystery/private school books are huge in YA right now but I wasn't a fan of this book. Everyone was 2-dimensional and uninteresting which is a huge minus in a mystery book for me. How can I root for the characters to solve the mystery if none of them are interesting? 

Very slow, confusing storylines, one dimensional characters...maybe it gets better later but I didn't really want to spend so much time trying to rack my brain to figure out which character is which (because they all felt the same) so I left it.
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What a twist of the fairytales that we all grew up on!! I loved this story, and I especially loved the mystery and the intrigue that was also weaved within. Highly recommend!!
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I thought the premise of grimrose girls was fairly interesting (described as a mix of two of my high school self’s favorite tv shows Once Upon A Time and Pretty Little Liars). I was intrigued by the plot but the writing style and series of events that occurred didn’t immerse me in the story. I normally love multiple POV stories, but in this case it felt like we didn’t get to spend enough time with each of the characters to be truly invested in their struggles.
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his was not what I expected. Overall, I enjoyed it. The pacing is a little off and it takes a bit for the action to get moving (like 40-50%) BUT the storyline is intriguing enough that I needed to power through. It was fun to try and figure out each of the princesses and the murder of Ari. I am looking forward to continuing the series because I need to know what happens.

What I loved the most was the rep: trans, bi, ace, aro, lesbian, people of color - just some great rep of various identities that was there. There was enough to the characters where they felt meaty and not just random one dimensional diversity backgrounds. It felt like a magical, fun, intriguing, diverse and relevant 2021 YA novel and it makes me excited about future books from Pohl.
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Grimrose Académie is an exclusive boarding school. There, Ella, Yuki, and Rory's best friend, Ariane dies before school even begins, and the police declare it a suicide. But the remaining trio are convinced that Ariane would never take her own life and set out to determine what happened to her. Then a new girl, Nani, arrives at the school as their roommate. Taking Ariane's place in her old bedroom, she discovers some of Ariane's left behind belongings. This sets off a series of events that will soon overwhelm the girls--and threaten their lives.

"The first day of school started with a funeral."

I have mixed feelings on this book. Some pieces of it frustrated me deeply, and I found them skim worthy and repetitive. It felt like a pale version of a typical "bad things happen a boarding school" read. It got off to a slow start, and I wasn't sure I felt like continuing.

But eventually it begins to work in a fairy tale angle. That piece is really fascinating and far more original. Tying deaths at Grimrose to ancient fairy tales and adding magic, the book picks up speed. There are still pieces that felt as if they could have been shortened, and sometimes the story is too melodramatic--even for teenage girls--but the fairy tale piece is really fun and interesting and carries the book. Honestly, in the beginning, I had a difficult time keeping Ella, Yuki, Rory and some of their other boarding school counterparts separate, though they do become more individualistic as the book goes on. Also, the representation is wonderfully diverse here, so kudos to Pohl for that.

Overall, this book is a slow mover at the beginning, with a decent bit of repetition, leaning too much on character description. But as it moves into its real plot twist and focus, it picks up speed and becomes quite intriguing. The fairy tale piece is original and exciting. I will give the next book a chance.
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I'm going to start by saying that I am a huge fan of Pretty Little Liars and Once Upon a Time and this book says that it's a mix of the two. And honestly, I saw that. There was drama, mystery, some murders, and a curse with storybook characters. I'm ALSO a huge fan of those OG fairy tales that aren't surrounded by princes and princesses and happy endings. And that's what this story is all about. So the premise is great and imaginative and had me hooked. However, I was slightly disappointed, but I feel like this is book 1 in what will be a series and I am very excited about that (if it isn't I am going to be incredibly disappointed and would change this review drastically). 

The characters made me like and hate the book (in a good way). Some of the characters here were the worst. I won't give any spoilers but a main character that I was expecting to love, I loathed. She was mean for the sake of mean with no backstory that warranted it. I'm all for the villains of stories, but it's their stories that made them interesting. But maybe, if there are more books we'll get to learn more about this particular character. There were also some characters that were so sweet and earnest. And all said and done I think this perfectly highlighted the different personalities and moods teenagers have/go through. 

Also, I loved the visibility. I love a book that is diverse and highlights different backgrounds, religions, sexualities, and cultures. All of the main characters are a plethora of sexualities and it's a boarding school in Switzerland that accommodates kids from all over the world. There was a lack of different races, however, that was noted in the book and I think will be touched on more (again, hoping for some more in a series). 

This would have been a 4 star read other than the fact that I never felt excited. I never had the drive to learn what happens next. I don't know if that's due to my mood while reading or the writing, but I would definitely reread later to see and DEFINITELY read any other books related to this one to see how the story continues to unfold. 

I recommend those to love fairytales (especially the twisted ones), boarding school dramas, and a bit of magic.
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Grimrose Girls is a thrilling novel about friendship and solving murders. Described as Descendents meets Pretty Little Liars, you can definitely see the influences of the two, but this story is still fresh in its retelling of classic fairy tales. The book is able to mix the dread from the original Grimm Tales, while also containing some heartfulness as seen in Disney's take on them, making it the best balance of fun and fear.

This novel pleasantly surprised me in how much I enjoyed it. I had not known how prominent the fairy tales would be in this story, and how well it would be mixed into a contemporary novel, but it was weaved in really well. It starts with a slow build, spinning in fairy tale elements; this blends a bit of real-life with the magical. 

As some of you may know, I love a good retelling/reimagining, and this one was such a fun take. I really adore seeing modern takes on fairy tales, what they take from the original and what they don't. Here [Author] is able to spin it in a way that you can still easily tell which princess is which, but also modernise it so it's not absurd. I mean, I didn't think I would see a take on Sleeping Beauty that would actually make sense in this modern age, but I loved how well it worked. 

It's murder and mystery and sapphic with some dark academia elements - so what's not to love?

Majority of this story was focused on the characters than the mysterious death of Ariane and other individuals. I can imagine that some readers may not like the character-driven story choice, but I really enjoyed it. I think so many fairy tales don't focus enough on the female character themselves, more so the romance, so we don't know much about their ambitions and thoughts. GG is able to give depth to the four protagonists, especially through their different perspectives', making it easy to see the true colours of the protagonists and what drove them. 

The book also focuses on the friendship between the four girls, which was truly wonderful to see, especially as often in YA you find that female friendships are overshadowed by romantic relationships. Sure, the girls did argue more than once, but considering the fact that they had just experienced a devastating loss and the fact that they're teenage girls, it made sense.

There is no shortage of suspense and drama between the girls, alongside such tender and sweet moments of them looking out for each other. It was sweet seeing the friendships from the different perspectives and how they all cared about each other. 

This was the brilliant start to a duology, that has me super excited to read the sequel. It set up such a fascinating story and lovely interesting characters, and I'm eager to see where the story goes as well as how the friendships between the characters continue to grow.
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Spooky-themed reading for those that don't like horror per se, but want to be in the mood for fall-themed TBRs. Solving a mystery of a mysterious death at a boarding school, three friends and the new student are thrown into unraveling the mysteries of their school, because their friend's death is not the first death to occur on school grounds, it's just the only one people can remember... 

This book was getting a ton of buzz, so of course I wanted to read it. It's definitely more of what I would call a fun read than anything else. There is some LGBTQIA representation, which seems to be the main plug for the book, but overall, I found the multi-perspective storytelling to be distracting and the depth of the characters suffered for it. Largely, there was a lot of plot going on in this book: fleshing out the main characters felt at times like checking off diversity boxes, working in a fairytale element, solving a murder, etc., I found the pacing to be a little erratic and the characters lacking depth and motivation.

Overall, I think many will enjoy this book and will be intrigued by the cliffhanger ending to want to continue reading when the next book comes out. Unfortunately, this book was not what I was expecting and wasn't really for me.
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I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I’m not going to lie, I went in blind. I requested this one because of the cover, but I’m 100% glad I did! These characters were so dynamic, each completely different but coming together to create this beautiful found family.

And y’all, the TWIST. I recommend going in blind like I did because getting smacked across the face with what this book was actually about was *amazing*.

Just trust me when I tell you, you have never read a book like this one. It’s a fresh and inventive take on a trope we’re all very familiar with. It’s dark and edgy and a fabulous read.

I can’t wait for more from Laura Pohl!
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This book is a fast read. The story starts with a victim (always fun) and her friends who are out to prove she didn’t kill herself. It’s an intriguing concept which kept me turning the pages. Every character has an interesting backstory that comes into play later and there are some cool twists. However, I found myself wishing there were more descriptions of the school, almost as if it were treated as a character itself. There were a lot of girls with minimal descriptions. I lost track of who everyone was and kept having to flip back to the beginning to remind myself at the start of a new chapter. Overall, it was a good, easy read. I loved that it was very diverse in representation as well.
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Definitely an inclusive book. Did it make it a better book? Questionable. 

The story is a bit mystery mixed with fairytale retellings. It's like a school that is cursed with each girl being part of a fairytale of their own, but without a happy ending. They all die in the end. And the latest group of girls want to figure out what or who is killing everyone. 

There are a lot of awkward moments,.and weird transitions, with the whole plot being vague, and the characters bland. I appreciated the fact that the cast was diverse.and inclusive though their interactions seemed forced and almost pointless. 

It is a story about finding yourself and standing up for yourself, and your wants and dreams. At the same time finding your friends, and fighting for them. 

There was just something lost for me in this book. I needed something a bit more engaging. 

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.
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Characters: 4 out of 5 stars!
Writing: 5 out of 5 stars!
Vibes: 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars!
Enjoyment: 4.5 out of 5 stars!
OVERALL: 4.5 out of 5 stars!

After hearing about this book, the first thing I felt was a deep craving for it. I mean, it has SO many elements I love. My second thought, though, was: this has literally SO many elements I love and FOUR fairytale retellings…how is the author ever gonna pull that off?

Well, in all honesty I still don’t know how, but Laura Pohl still did that! The Grimrose Girls completely lived up to what it promised (a dark and slightly magical murder mystery about four girls tied to cruel fairytale endings and how they try to change their fate) while slashing the doubts I had.

Laura Pohl’s writing is absolutely stunning and perfect for this book. I really loved the descriptions in general! There’s this constant dark undertone to the prose while there are, of course, also lighter and humorous moments. 

I’d say the first third of the book is mostly build-up though. There’s lots of intrigue, but the story really takes off once you get past the 31% mark of this book!

These characters though…I don’t even kow where to start. They’re incredibly flawed and their emotions are so unbelievably real. Everything about them just makes sense to be honest! Their emotional journeys were truly amazing to follow and will definitely be relatable to lots of people!

We have four main characters and I never once confused their storylines with each other, which is…pretty wow! They’re all so different, but still fit perfectly together.

Also…the diversity here is UNMATCHED! This is really how it’s supposed to be and my heart is so happy with how most things are actually explicitly mentioned! Say thank you Laura Pohl!

There’s definitely romance in this book (read: three romances, some just brewing) and though I loved them and can’t wait to see how they’ll develop in the future, this book has friendship at its heart. It’s beautiful, it’s honest, and I adore it.

But okay…there’s plot too y’all, and it’s so good! I loved how all these storylines were woven together masterfully and how explosive the ending was. It left me screaming because I was just so completely absorbed into the story! 

Luckily for me, there’s a lot more to this story left to be told! The sequel has so much potential and I have no doubts that Laura Pohl will blow me away all over again! Hit me with it!

The Grimrose Girls is one of those books I never knew I wanted in my life. This book did not let me go! Dark and intriguing concept, lots of things and storylines to unravel, strong emotional journeys and, of course, the beautiful friendship…there’s just so much to this one. But, it’s also not over yet so…

I cannot wait to see where this story will take us next!

One-sentence pitch: When four friends try to uncover the mystery behind the death of their friend, it almost seems like the fates of all the students at their boarding school are connected to cruel fairytale endings, but nothing could ever be that wrong at the perfect Grimrose Académie...right?

Definitely read it if: you're interested in a unique and dark twist on fairytales, you like complicated characters that are discovering themselves (think coming-of-age but with murder and a little bit of magic), you want more books with friendship at their heart.
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