Today's post comes from Emily Smucker, a Youth Advisory Board member who recently read the YA novel "Venom" by Fiona Paul. The story is set in Renaissance Venice, where Cassandra, an elite young lady, stumbles upon a murdered woman and becomes involved in exploring the dangerous and dark secrets around her. The story is gripping as Emily explains, but beyond the mystery, it's also about personal discovery and growth. Plus, the setting of Venice is captivating as Emily highlights in her review below.
YAB Review: “Venom” By Fiona Paul
“Venom” begins with a young woman named Cassandra, Cass for short, at the funeral of Livi, one of her best friends. Ducking outside for a breath of fresh air, she runs into a handsome and somewhat bawdy artist named Falco. As a proper young woman with a proper fiancé, she is embarrassed by his flirtation, but also intrigued.
The story takes place in Renaissance Venice, and Cassandra is on the fringes of the elite Venetian aristocracy. She lives with her aging aunt on the graveyard island of San Domenico. Cass is pretty unsatisfied with her isolated location, strict aunt, and boring life. She constantly writes in her journal, and also likes to wander around in the graveyard at night.
On the night of Livi’s funeral, Cass went out to the graveyard, and, out of morbid curiosity, went into her friend’s crypt and opened up the casket. There she saw that Livi’s body was gone, and replacing it was the body of a girl with choke marks around her neck, and a bloody “X” carved over her heart.
Horrified, Cass left the crypt, and fled the graveyard, running right into the arms of Falco, the handsome artist. She told him what she had seen, and he checked it out for himself, seeming nearly as horrified as she was. However, Falco convinced her…