11 must-read SFF book releases that will kick your July into high gear

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
The Damned by Renee Ahdieh. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron

This imaginative Cinderella retelling follows the story of sixteen-year-old Sophia, who lives in a world where the patriarchy controls everything. In this world, Cinderella isn’t a fairy tale. She’s real enough, but her story is used a tool of oppression. In Lille, women are expected to follow her example by being submissive and beautiful. Teen girls are expected to attend the Annual Ball dressed in their best, where the men of the kingdom select wives like they’re in the 4-H pen at a county fair. If a girl isn’t chosen, that’s all she wrote for them. Literally.

Sophia is outspoken and opinionated, and about to go to the ball for the first time. (She doesn’t really want to, of course, largely because she’s been in love with her best friend Erin for most of her life.) But when a complicated series of events gives her the chance to flee, she escapes into the woods and meets one of the last known descendants of Cinderella and her stepsisters. Can she help bring down the king, and change the world for girls everywhere?

The official synopsis has more specifics about the story.

"It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again. Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . ."

Cinderella is Dead is available on July 7.