Quick check-in on a few novels before I get to the meaty stuff I've been reading about race, whiteness, and racism:
Michael Buckley The Sisters Grimm
This is the first of a series of detective-style romps through the world of the Grimm family. Sabrina and Daphne are the newest members, and their family is responsible for all of the classic Grimm's Fairy Tale characters. This is clever and funny, and there are twists and turns as characters such as Puck and Jack the Giant Killer are neither the enemies nor the friends they first appear to be. Sabrina is slowly won over to her younger sister Daphne's optimistic perspective that Mrs. Grimm really is their grandmother. And the hunt for their missing parents will continue in the next books...
Jean Ferris Once Upon a Marigold
This won a big Horn Book thing as well as a bunch of ALA and NYPL accolades, so kudos for that.
(Warning: Snark Alert. You have been warned.)
And yet I found it to be sweet, twee, and trite. I mean, it's nice enough. This book is like a friend from middle school that I'd talk to on the bus politely, but who never guffaw or roll her eyes with me at the absurdity of the world. Christian runs away from home and adopts Edric the Troll as his new family. Obviously, he will turn out to be a prince. As he grows, he develops a correspondence (via pigeons or p-mail) with the princess across the river. Obviously, they will fall in love against the odds. The only interesting bits were the part where Princess Marigold's mother wants to kill her, but then that's tidied up as the girls turn out to be adopted. Mild drama, no surprises, and a rather large dose of overplayed proverb-based humor.