INFANDOUS by Elana K. Arnold

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Seph has grown up feeling like a minor character in her mother’s Grimm fairytale of a life.  And she’s ok with that.  Her mother is beautiful and kind and deserved way better than to be disowned by her parents for getting pregnant with Seph.  Venice Beach isn’t exactly the fairytale kingdom her mother deserves to live in.  But Seph gets by, using found objects to create sculptures, transforming trash on the beach into something beautiful or disturbing, but regardless, new.  As her senior year approaches, Seph tries to figure out her future while dealing with her reservations about her mom’s new (much younger) boyfriend and her own troubled feelings after a consensual sexual encounter with an older man.

Paired with snippets from dark fairytales and myths, Seph’s story unfolds slowly.  While I enjoyed the weaving of fairytale tropes into a gritty modern story, I felt too trapped in the protagonist’s head for most of the book.  And even after days of reflection, I’m not sure I get Seph’s transformation.  So not my cup of tea, but reader’s who enjoy gritty, urban character studies may find it worth a read.

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