Author: Mara Rutherford
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

Outsiders are always given a choice: the Forest or the lake. Either way, they’re never heard from again.

Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.

When Leelo sees a young outsider on the verge of drowning in the lake, she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. But in a moment that will change everything, Leelo betrays her family, her best friend, and Endla by making an unthinkable choice.

Discovery could lead to devastating consequences for both Leelo and the outsider, Jaren, but as they grow closer, Leelo realizes that not all danger comes from beyond the lake—and they can only survive if Leelo is willing to question the very fabric of her society, her people, and herself.


Review

ATMOSPHERE. LOVE. DESPERATION. POISON. DEATH. HOPE. What more could you want from a book? Honestly, The Poison Season is fabulous. I enjoyed the author’s previous works, but this one is my favorite. I love the mysterious aspect of the magic and the island and what has happened in the past.

Leelo is an amazing character, because she isn’t ready to give up everything to change the world. She’s scared, she has feelings and she’s not perfect. Her relationship with her family is one of the main focuses of the book, and as I know from previous books Rutherford is an absolute talent at crafting some of the best sibling and familial relationships I’ve ever read. This book is no exception to that. In fact, my heart broke several times throughout this book, because none of the characters were perfect or right or wrong. It was so lovely, and honestly, just don’t have the words for it.

As a character, Leelo’s arc was one of the best I’ve seen in a YA book. There is so much growth and learning from her as a person, and she is willing to admit to herself and others when she’s made a mistake. She wants to be honest, but she also wants to help, and this is the problem Leelo has to face. She has a decision she must make.

There is also a romance in the book, between Leelo and the outsider, Jaren. There are some interesting aspects of this woven throughout the book, and I liked it. I felt that their slowly growing romance and attraction was well done.

I love the world that was created, it was enchanting and mystical, and I like that it had a dark and creepy atmosphere to it. I felt it contrasted nicely with the atmosphere of the town. It gave me the chills at some points.

This is a great winter read, especially if you love evocative, YA fantasy dosed with atmosphere and powerful character arcs.

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