Ash (Lo novel)

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Ash novel malinda lo.jpg
Cover illustration of the novel Ash by Malinda Lo
Author Malinda Lo
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young adult novel
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
ISBN 0-316-04009-6

Ash is a young adult fantasy lesbian novel by Malinda Lo first published in 2009. It is a reworking of the Cinderella fairy tale that reimagines the title character, Ash, as a lesbian teenager. The novel centers around the familiar story of Cinderella, her father recently remarried, and lamenting the misery of her new life with stepsisters and a step mother. The twist arrives when Ash falls in love with the King's respected Huntress Kaisa, after she has made a commitment to dark fairy prince Sidhean.

Plot summary[edit]

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 firelight each night. Ash wishes that fairies will take her away to their world where all her dreams will come true just like she once wished as a little girl. One night, the mysterious and sinister fairy prince Sidhean finds Ash and prepares 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 pushes Ash to the brink.

Critical reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly noted that Ash should "establish Lo as a gifted storyteller."[1] 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."[2] Booklist had similar praise, describing the book as a "groundbreaking, gender-mixing retelling" of Cinderella.[3] 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."[4] The book was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award,[5] the William C. Morris YA Award, [6] a Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children's/Young Adult literature[7] and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award.[8] The book is also a nominee for best novel at the 2010 Northern California Book Awards[9] and a Kirkus Best Young Adult Novel,.[10]


  1. ^ "Children's Book Review: Ash by Malinda Lo, Author". Publishers Weekly. Aug 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ Marler, Regina. "Field Guides to Fairies." The New York Times. November 8, 2009.
  3. ^ "Ash Review." Booklist. September 2009.
  4. ^ Harrison, Jessica. "Grimm's Fairy Tales Inspire 2 Young Adult Books." Deseret Morning News. September 6, 2009.
  5. ^ Wessely, Tehani. "Malinda Lo 2010 Interview." The Nebula Awards. April 2, 2010.
  6. ^ "YALSA Names 2010 William C. Morris Award Shortlist." Young Adult Library Services Association. December 2, 2009.
  7. ^ Gonzalez, Antonio. "Finalists announced for the 22nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards." Lambda Literary Foundation. March 16, 2010.
  8. ^ Mythopoeic Society. "Complete list of past finalists for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards"
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "The Best Young Adult Books of 2009." Archived December 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Kirkus Reviews. December 1, 2009, p. 9.