Full title: Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse
Author: Jane Yolen
Genre: Fantasy, Poetry, Retelling
(could a blend of literary genres be more perfect that this one?)
Release: October 30th 2018
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
trigger warning: parental abuse
When I heard about this book, I knew it was right up my alley. I love retellings of Slavic mythology, and I hadn’t read any poetry in a while, so it was a perfect opportunity.
It follows the narrator, Natasha, a teenage girl who is abused by her father and decides to run away from home. After starving and wandering through the woods, she is taken in by Baba Yaga, the infamous witchy character from Slavic Mythology.
I had read mixed reviews about this book before it was even released, but I absolutely loved the concept, so I knew I had to give it a go and see for myself. I didn’t go in with very high expectations, but I did love it!
I can only describe Finding Baba Yaga as the perfect blend between Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente and the poetry of Amanda Lovelace in The Princess Saves Herself in This One, and I am here for it. It works well as a story in verse as it does follow a story in chronological order about a girl who is abused by her parents and rescued by Baba Yaga when she runs away from home. The story also features Vassilisa the Beautiful, Prince Ivan and Koshei the Deathless, all beloved characters from the slavic mythology. So it is partly a story, and it is partly a retelling, but it is also an ode to strong women, through both the character of Baba Yaga, and the narrator herself. This book is feminist all the way, and I love it. I have to admit I have a soft spot for feminist poetry (I have already mentioned Amanda Lovelace, but I’m also thinking about Rupi Kaur here) and this book just did the trick for me when it came to this beloved topic of mine, so if that is also something you like, then I can only recommend Finding Baba Yaga.
Overall, this book was a pleasant surprise. It was right up my alley, which was all the better since I hadn’t ready any similar book in a while. Five Stars, it was also a quick read, and I would definitely recommend it.