A Novel Idea: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Jessica Brown and Zully Maya

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A Novel Idea, Macalester’s student-led book club, is excited to follow up on our review of “Six of Crows” with our second review this semester. This time we’re back to share our review of “Girls Made of Snow and Glass” by Melissa Bashardoust. This review is based on the discussion we had at our October meeting.

“Girls Made of Snow and Glass” by Melissa Bashardoust is a young-adult fantasy novel which mainly takes place in Whitespring, a northern land stuck in perpetual winter. There are two main protagonists: Lynet, the beautiful princess of Whitespring who looks just like her mother, and Mina, stepmother to Lynet, always referred to as “the southern queen.” The novel switches back and forth between the two women, and in doing so, goes back and forth in time. 

When Mina was young, her magician father replaced her real heart with one made of glass, meaning she can never love. When she moves from her home in the southern territories to Whitespring Castle and meets the widowed king, she comes up with a plan. She is determined to become queen so that she may win the king and the kingdom’s heart so that she can be loved. 

Little does she expect to end up feeling the most compassion for the king’s young daughter, Lynet; but as Lynet grows older, Mina can’t help but worry that Lynet will simply replace her. She must choose between keeping her loving stepdaughter or her beloved kingdom.

15-year- Lynet has always lived a sheltered life in Whitespring Castle. She loves the snow and never gets cold and feels happiest when she is climbing from tree to tree, hidden from sight. Her father, King Nicholas, cares deeply about her but has sheltered her from everything, including people her own age, leading Lynet to feel trapped. She is constantly told that she looks exactly like her dead mother, and her father expects Lynet to grow up to be just like her. One day, Lynet discovers the reason why she is the spitting image of her mother: her father had a magician create her from snow in her dead mother’s likeness. 

Lynet longs to be free from her mother’s image, and would much rather take after Mina, who Lynet admires for her fierceness and inner strength. The opportunity to distinguish herself arises when Lynet’s father makes her queen of the southern territories. The only problem is that it displaces Mina, who Lynet loves more than anyone else. Lynet must come to terms with who she is and decide whether to win back her stepmother or defeat her.   

Identity is a key element in this fractured fairy tale. Bashardoust presents an intriguing family dynamic, and we found most interactions between Lynet, Mina and Nicholas to be well worth the read. 

The dual narration contributes well to the novel and creates sympathetic female characters. While we appreciate the prominence of strong female characters, however, we felt as though the book was unbalanced by lacking any sympathetic male characters. It seemed to overcompensate by portraying almost all of the male characters as the enemy. 

We would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fractured fairy tales, fantasy settings and strong female leads. While Lynet’s character could have been a little more fleshed out, we appreciated the complexity of Mina’s motivation and emotions. If romance is something you look for, this is not the book for you. It has sometimes been categorized as an LGBTQ novel, but we do not feel as though there is enough detail to merit such a classification. Although it lacks romantic love, “Girls Made of Snow and Glass” asks important questions about familial love and how those we care about help shape our identity.

If you are interested in reading along and joining our discussions, or learning more about our club, please email us at [email protected].