Cover illustration of the novel Ash by Malinda Lo
|Genre||Young adult novel|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Ash is a young adult fantasy lesbian novel by Malinda Lo first published in 2009. It is a reworking of the Cinderella fairy tale. The novel is about an abused teenage girl who longs for fairies to take her away from her terrible life. A seemly gentle and protective fairy promises to do so as payment, but shortly thereafter the girl falls in love later with an athletic, respected noblewoman and hunter. The girl struggles with finally going to where she had wanted to be or staying and making it work.
Ash is a teenage girl whose loving father has died, leaving her alone with her cruel and violent stepmother. Ash's sole source of comfort is reading fairy tales by the dying light of the fire in her room each night. Ash dreams that, one day, fairies might find her and spirit her away to their world where all her wishes will come true. One night, the mysterious and sinister fairy prince Sidhean finds Ash and begins to prepare her to enter fairyland. But shortly thereafter, Ash meets Kaisa—a noblewoman and the King's Huntress. Ash and Kaisa not only form an immediate and deep friendship, but Ash begins to fall in love with the beautiful, strong woman. Ash's feelings seem be reciprocated but Sidhean returns to claim what he says is rightfully his due, and a battle for Ash's body and soul will push Ash to the brink.
Publishers Weekly noted that Ash should "establish Lo as a gifted storyteller."  A reviewer for The New York Times described the novel as "a lesbian retelling of Cinderella" and "conventional," but also called it "somber and lovely." Booklist had similar praise, describing the book as a "groundbreaking, gender-mixing retelling" of Cinderella.  The Deseret Morning News was less laudatory, noting that "some major elements and plot lines stray far from the beloved story. And one such development could send readers reeling. Parents will want to read the final chapter before handing this book over to their teens." The book was a nominee for the Andre Norton Award, a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Award,  a Kirkus Best Young Adult Novel, and a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Children's/Young Adult literature. The book is also a nominee for best novel at the 2010 Northern California Book Awards.
- "Ash Review." Publishers Weekly. August 31, 2009.
- Marler, Regina. "Field Guides to Fairies." The New York Times. November 8, 2009.
- "Ash Review." Booklist. September 2009.
- Harrison, Jessica. "Grimm's Fairy Tales Inspire 2 Young Adult Books." Deseret Morning News. September 6, 2009.
- Wessely, Tehani. "Malinda Lo 2010 Interview." The Nebula Awards. April 2, 2010.
- "YALSA Names 2010 William C. Morris Award Shortlist." Young Adult Library Services Association. December 2, 2009.
- "The Best Young Adult Books of 2009." Kirkus Reviews. December 1, 2009, p. 9.
- Gonzalez, Antonio. "Finalists announced for the 22nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards." Lambda Literary Foundation. March 16, 2010.
- "Marin Authors Among Book Award Nominees." Marin Independent Journal. March 27, 2010; Pierleoni, Allen. "Between the Lines: Consider These Award Nominees." Sacramento Bee. March 15, 2010.