Ash (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I usually dislike YA fantasy romance novels, as they all feel like cheap spin-offs of Twilight. Ash, Malinda Lo’s subversive debut novel, decidedly stands out from the pack. Even though it’s a retelling of Cinderella, it’s more a coming-of-age story than a sappy romance. Torn between the memories of her dead parents and the reality of her cruel stepmother, Aisling finds her escape in the woods she loves and the dangerous fairies that live there. Until she meets Kaisa, the King’s huntress, Ash lives as an abused servant by day and a bewitched victim of fairy magic by night. The atmospheric and eerie plot leads to a surprising conclusion—much different than the classic fairy tale—but ultimately much more convincing! The romance in Ash is less purple prose or a storm of clichés and more poignant and touching—based on friendship more than an unhealthy attraction to danger. I couldn’t put this one down, and I’m glad I didn’t: the ending is utterly satisfying and sweet. I recommend this novel to anyone with a penchant for romance, fantasy, and strong female protagonists.


Autumn 2009 Kids' Indie Next List

“Ash is in some ways a retelling of the Cinderella story, but it's also a commentary upon enchantments. Will Ash succumb to the allure of the mysterious stranger? What does her late mother's involvement in the old ways of magic have to do with her current situation? And will she be doomed to spend eternity away from the one she truly loves? This thoughtful, compelling story kept me reading late into the night.”
— Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA


The haunting, romantic lesbian retelling of Cinderella and modern queer classic by award-winning author Malinda Lo--now with an introduction by Holly Black, a letter from the author, a Q&A, and more!

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Their friendship, as delicate as a new bloom, reawakens Ash's capacity for love--and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing and empowering, Ash beautifully unfolds the connections between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

About the Author

Malinda Lo is the author of several young adult novels, including Ash, a retelling of the Cinderella story with a lesbian twist, which was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the Lambda Literary Award. Before she became a novelist, she was an economics major, an editorial assistant, a graduate student, and an entertainment reporter. She lives in Northern California with her partner and their dog. Malinda invites you to visit her at

Praise For…

"A rich and darkly moving tale I couldn't put down."
Meg Cabot, bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series, -

"Cinderella, gorgeously reimagined, captivating and winsome. After you've fallen into the storytelling world of Malinda Lo, the truth of love will transcend the romantic ideal of fairy tales."
Julie Anne Peters, author of Keeping You a Secret and National Book Award Finalist Luna, -

" This lyrically retold Cinderella tale is not just a beautifully updated fable, but an ode to the transformative power of love."
Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments series, -

"A Cinderella story with fresh blood and real yearning."
Rainbow Rowell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carry On

"I will forever hold this gorgeous novel close to my heart."
Nina LaCour, author of the Michael L. Printz Award winner We Are Okay

"Lyrical and beautifully balanced...this Cinderella is flesh and blood in a whole new, breathtaking way."
Kristin Cashore, New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series and Jane, Unlimited

"A modern classic and a must-read for those seeking...the victory of transformation over the darkest grief."
Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen and The Gilded Wolves

"Lo is one of the greatest voices in YA fiction."
Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of the And I Darken trilogy

"With its beauty and bravery...Ash opened a world to girls like me."
Anna-Marie McLemore, author of the Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours and Blanca & Roja
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316040105
ISBN-10: 031604010X
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 5th, 2010
Pages: 272
Language: English