Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.
Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.
Anouk is a loyal servant to the witch Mada Vittora. But when Mada is murdered, Anouk and her fellow beasties are told they only have three days to find a new master and renew the spell that keeps them human. Otherwise, they may turn back into their original forms – various animals. Meanwhile, they are searching for the killer as well – to clear Anouk’s name.
Grim Lovelies is first in a YA fantasy series. This is a dark spin on a fairy tale. The worldbuilding is clever and intriguing. Shepherd is a pro at creating a creepy, Gothic atmosphere. The story is full of mystery, magic, and drama. And the pacing and suspense made it hard to put down. There are several fun twists along the way and a climactic, satisfying ending. I look forward to more set in this unique world.