Publisher: Scholastic

Year: 2020

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From Jennifer Donnelly, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Stepsister, comes a Snow White retelling that’ll forever change the way you think about strength, power, and the real meaning of “happily ever after.”

The Story

Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen’s huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman took out his knife … and took Sophie’s heart.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule — a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she’d heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

  • "An empowering and action-packed feminist retelling."

    School Library Journal  
  • "[Sophie's] is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, wrapped up in a thrilling fantasy adventure.

    The Guardian Observer (UK)  
  • "Sophie’s journey gives her a satisfying arc toward trusting herself and not the poisonous whispers of others."

    The Center for Children's Books 

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can’t extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.

The Inspiration 

Can kindness be a form of defiance? Can it be rebellious? Revolutionary?

I believe it can, and that’s why I wrote Poisoned.

Sophie, the young princess in my story, is a kind, gentle girl. When the story opens, she’s about to come of age and inherit her country’s throne, but the queen – Sophie’s ruthless stepmother – wants to prevent that. To her, kindness is just another word for weakness. She sees Sophie as a failure, and she tells her so, over and over again.

And Sophie believes her, as she believes all the bad things that have been said about her – all the poisonous words people use to keep girls like her from becoming too powerful, too strong.

When the queen orders her huntsman to take Sophie into the woods and cut out her heart, Sophie faces a harrowing choice: she can hide, stay silent, and acquiesce to the queen’s brutal reign, or she can rebel and use the very things that are wrong about her to fight for what’s right.

I loved writing Sophie – a girl who doesn’t start out strong, who makes mistakes, a girl who needs saving now and again – and I loved watching her grow into a girl who does the saving, who still makes plenty of mistakes, but who finally comes to understand what real strength is all about.

Poisoned is a retelling of the Snow White fairytale, but it’s also a plea to meet cruelty with the one and only thing that can defeat it – kindness.

I hope that Sophie’s journey touches you and that it inspires you to embrace your true strength.

Buy Poisoned Now!

Order now from Amazon, B&N, or your local independent bookstore!


  1. Lacy Alise says:

    Hello! Your writing is so cool, I just now saw a Barnes & Noble email for Poisoned and got so excited when I read the author name! I remember reading the Waterfire series a few years ago and absolutely falling in love with the universe and characters. Can’t wait to binge read all of your books ASAP! Have a wonderful day

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Aww, that’s so sweet, Lacy! Today is Poisoned’s birthday and a note like yours is a great gift – thank you! Now that you’re a little older, I hope you enjoy my older-person books as much as you did the Waterfire Saga!

  2. Nic says:

    Hi there, I’m very excited about this book. I see on my audiobook app that it’s read by two different narrators. Is there a reason for this, are they different versions? I’m struggling with which narrator to choose I enjoy both of their styles. Thanks 😊

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Good question!! There are different editions — with different readers — in the U.S. and the U.K. But I agree, they’re both amazing! There may be availability issues, depending on where you are, which might help you decide. The good news is you can’t go wrong either way!!

  3. Ana says:

    Hi! I love Stepsister and I can’t wait to read Poisoned 😊, is there anyway I can get a signed copy even though I’m not from the USA? Do you have international shipping?

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Hi Ana: Either of my two local bookstores can arrange for me to sign a book for you — just please contact them to make sure they can ship overseas. The bookstores are Merritt Books and Oblong Books — either should be able to help you! Thank you!

  4. Florence Zabler says:

    I can’t wait for this book!! I absolutely LOVED ‘Lost in a Book’ and ‘Stepsister!!’ Is there a way to get a signed copy of ‘Poisoned?’ I have signed copies for both books. 😉

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Yes! You can pre-order a signed copy from one of my two awesome local independent bookstores: Merritt Books (make sure you make a note on the order form that you want it signed and whom I should sign it to), and Oblong Books! Hope you enjoy Poisoned!!

  5. Kayla Rainey says:

    I absolutely loved Stepsister, so I’m super excited to read Poisoned! Is there anywhere I can get a signed copy?

  6. Hi, I’m new here and trust me I had to let you know how much I loved step sister. Fairytale retellings appeal to my inner child a bit too much. Anyway I just wanted to say that you have a fan for eternity. I’m a book reviewer (vey new at this) and I would like to review your books on my blog.

  7. Harrellette Tate says:

    Hi! I am one of your fans from years ago, the Tea series :). My heart literally felt like it broke when you began writing young adult books. It’s sooooo hard to find a writer that you LOVE and I diidn’t think I would see you leaving the YA genre anytime soon. ! I want to know if this new book is for YA’s and if it is, would it be something that older adults too would enjoy because I miss your writing so very much!

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Hi Harrellette! Yes, I think and hope older adults will enjoy Poisoned, as they seem to appreciate Stepsister. These books are based on timeless — and I would argue ageless — themes, and I hope they speak to adults of all ages! (And on the Tea Rose front, stay tuned — the books have been optioned for the screen and I hope to have some news to report on that before too long!)

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