Vassa In The Night: A Novel by Sarah PorterVassa In The Night: A Novel by Sarah Porter

Vassa In The Night: A Novel

bySarah Porter

Hardcover | September 20, 2016

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"A dark, thoroughly modern fairy tale crackling with wit and magical mayhem." -Leigh Bardugo, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow and Bone

"An enchantingly twisted modern fairy tale, perfect for those who prefer Grimm to Disney. Inventive, darkly magical, and beautifully written, it will stay with me for a long time." - Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns


A powerful and haunting tale for teen fans of urban fantasy, fairy tales, magic, and horror who enjoy books by Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, Catherynne Valente, and V. E. Schwab.

When Vassa's stepsister sends her out to buy lightbulbs in the middle of the night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters-and sometimes innocent shoppers as well.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and ferocious cunning. With Erg's help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch's curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won't be playing fair..

· YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
· Booklist Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
· Booklist Youth Top 10 SF/Fantasy Selection
· Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year Selection
· Kansas Reading Circle Selection

Sarah Porter is a writer, artist, and freelance teacher who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats. She is the author of the Lost Voices Trilogy (Lost Voices, Waking Storms, The Twice Lost) in addition to Vassa in the Night-all for the teen audience. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from City College.
Title:Vassa In The Night: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.58 × 6.4 × 1.1 inPublished:September 20, 2016Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765380544

ISBN - 13:9780765380548


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark and Twisty I love re-tellings and this one was excellent. It's not very often that you get a re-telling of a Russian fairy tale so I was all over this one. The story at times in confusing and I had several WTH moments but all in all, I really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great This story was really unique. I enjoyed most of this book. I'm just happy to finally read something different even if it was a bit strange at times.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling! A weird, creepy, Night Vale-ian retelling of the story of Baba Yaga.
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Weird I was not expecting this book to be so... strange. Lots of weird and interesting elements, but parts (like being in another dimension? were hard to follow, I didn't understand the.... not-quite-dinosaurs). It somestimes seemed random for the sake of random and some of the sad elements didnt' seem to have a point or a resolution.
Date published: 2017-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enchantingly bizarre Everyone keeps talking about how weird this book is, which is true. But I found the weirdness factor refreshing. I am so sick of tropes and over produced plots, and this book burned all of those to the ground. Not only was it unique, but the writing was beautiful and vivid. The subject matter wasn't very light but the tone was sarcastic and witty, and I thoroughly enjoyed it
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Vassa in the Night review Parts of the story seemed somewhat convoluted or weighed down with extra detail. While I can go along with this at the beginning of a book, with the expectation of later explanation, I was not always satisfied in this case. For example, I was slightly confused with the interlude of the father, as it did not really seem to add much to the plot. It answered the question of where the father went, for sure, however that did not seem like an urgent question to me in the first place. I was exasperated by the refusal to answer questions. It’s another traditional fairy tale element, I recognized that. But what’s a girl to do, sometimes? Discouraging questions, and then making her feel bad for asking them was exasperating to read about. I thought Vassa was written with a pretty realistic personality. Her impulsive choice to go to BY’s to prove a silly point to her sister was believable; I could see myself doing such a thing. Her inner struggles and her self-doubt did not feel contrived. We tend not to hear the inner thoughts of the traditional fairy tale heroines, they are silenced by the 3rd person narrative; and it is sometimes hard to imagine that they might be angry, feeling lost and despairing.
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story I received this book in my Owlcrate book subscription box and I just got to read it. It is a re-telling of a Russian fairy tale called Vasilisa the Beautiful which I will be purchasing. This story is dark and beautiful at the same time. It has become one of my new favourite books. It is filled with strange, and magical characters. If you like dark fairy tales, you'll love this modern twist on a classic.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A bit confusing For the most part, I was very confused about what was happening. It was very cryptic with too many metaphors.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Couldn't understand most of it >.< Firstly, I'd like to say that I hope my rating or review wouldn't turn anyone away from reading this book. I feel like it is a beautiful story but I just didn't grasp it enough. I liked Vassa. I loved her wit! And her connection with Erg. And the deep meaning behind their connection and Erg's origins. This truly is a dark, magical story but unfortunately for me, I only understood little bits of it and the majority just had me confused.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Incredibly confusing Rarely am I so confused by a book. It was weird and creepy, and not in a way that appealed to me. Vassa was an okay heroine but I was very confused by her feelings for "Night" because the author made Night's human body sound very corpse-like. It is certainly a unique and original story but it just felt very disjointed. Vassa in the Night is both dystopian and magical realism. I felt very uncomfortable in the fictional world, but I did enjoy Vassa's plight. I kept reading because I wanted to see what would happen to her. Would Vassa ever escape Bab? What is Erg's secret? Although I didn't like this book, I didn't dislike it either. Vassa is a good character and I simply adored Erg. I loved their relationship and the story behind it. But I never did make sense of the story.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Confusing and Disjointed I received Vassa in the Night as a gift, and it may not have been a book I would have purchased for myself, I still found myself intrigued enough to pick it up shortly after receiving it. And to be quite frank, I was not overly impressed. I walked into Vassa in the Night blind, and walked out disappointed in the experience, and still slightly confused. I would not read Vassa in the Night again, nor would I be likely to recommend it to a friend (unfortunately). I went into reading this novel without many expectations, and I still felt let down by the quality of this novel. While it had a very interesting premise, I was let down by the lack of follow through and disconcerted by the disconnect between mood and story. Overall, Vassa in the Night wasn’t what it could have been due to several key problems.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life Vassa in the Night has one of those synopsis's that absolutely pull you in with its intriguing yet weirdness. It totally caught my attention. I'll stray from my comfort zone every once in awhile when something like Vassa comes along. I mean I really didn't know what to expect going in. Something just really called to me from this book, so here I am. Although unfamiliar with both Russian fairy tales that Vassa in the Night is based upon, that didn't stop me from wanting to know more. I like the fact that Vassa is something different in the horde of re-tellings oversaturating YA these days. And being unfamiliar with the original work just makes it all the more intriguing for me as I can go in knowing nothing and hopefully come out wanting to know more. Also means I have nothing to compare Vassa too, which let's face it is something that happens less and less these days. How to sum up Vassa in the Night is close to impossible. It is one bizarre tale about a girl named Vassa and the corner store, BY's, that's pretty much taking over her Brooklyn neighbourhood. It's a store that walks around on chicken legs, with an old lady inside who seems fit to behead anyone who steals. Add in the fact that the nights are getting longer and longer and Vassa and the rest of Brooklyn are in a very lethargic state. Vassa, who is an orphan, lives with her stepsisters and stepmother and a little wooden doll named Erg; who eats more than should possible and gets Vassa into some tight situations with her sisters. One night finds Vassa going to BY's for lightbulbs and sees her being forced to stay there and work for three nights. That situation doesn't seem to have an ending that sees Vassa coming out of the third night alive. Especially when Babs, the owner, is giving Vassa tasks that are literally impossible for a human to complete. But hey, maybe Vassa is more than meets the eye as well. Okay, seriously this book is a huge mixture of bizarre, intriguing and magical. There is absolutely no way I could describe this book or it's plot to someone. Which is possibly a huge check mark in Vassa's favour as every reader will go in blind not knowing what's coming their way. Did I understand what was happening half the time? No. But I liked it that way. I was seriously on this weird magical journey with Vassa; discovering the night is stuck, Babs is a psychotic old witch and there's a lot more to Erg than just a little wooden doll. Vassa is a cool girl. For someone that feels like they don't have a home, she's not outwardly upset about it. Vassa just accepts that she's in a way has a family, well she misses her mom. Erg and her one sister Chelsea don't necessarily see it that way. But it might just take the book for Vassa to get it as well. Vassa finds herself in a disturbing and undesirable situation working at BY's. She fully expects to not live through the three nights on her employment, yet she doesn't let that get her down. Showcasing that being helpful and nice do go a long way. Not to say Vassa doesn't have her own brand of cunning and sass. It's just that being nice means that people/things are wanting to help her. Also, no one likes Babs, so seeing someone take her on(finally) is a blessing. Like I said, Vassa learns a lot about herself and her life in those three nights. She's a very cool girl. Vassa in the Night is magical realism at it's best. Honestly, with Sarah's poetic writing and strange storytelling, the reader is in for a head-scratching ride. Yea, I was confused at parts, but I also found the book to be utterly compelling. I needed to understand every little facet that was thrown into the story. Is that night on a motorcycle? What is Erg? What is the story behind Babs? The questions are never-ending. I know vagueness is a common theme in the synopsis and my review, but I'm pretty sure that's the point. Vassa in the Night is a magical fairy tale with an interesting set of characters and an even more intriguing plot.
Date published: 2016-09-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very Strange, Magical & Dreamy Sarah Porter's Vassa in the Night is strange. Very strange. Magical and dreamy, I'm still not sure I fully comprehend everything that happened in this book. Sometimes it read like a grim and ghastly fairy tale, the classic kind where body parts are gruesomely cut off and the wicked witch loves to trick her victims. I loved these moments when you could tell Vassa in the Night drew inspiration from the Russian folktale "Vassillissa the Beautiful". I loved that it was really macabre and unsettling, that you had to be cautious and fully on your guard around Babs Yagg, the owner of the local BY convenience store with a penchant for beheading customers. Vassa lives in the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn with her stepmother and two stepsisters: Chelsea and Stephanie. Chelsea genuinely considers Vassa to be part of their family, but Stephanie hates her. So it's not surprising when Stephanie sends Vassa off to BY for light bulbs after midnight, despite the store's dreadful reputation. When Babs accuses Vassa of theft, she's forced to remain at BY for three nights to work off her debt. Babs would love to see Vassa fail, but the old witch doesn't know Vassa has help in the form of Erg, a mischievous wooden doll that's been constantly at her side since her mother died years ago. I mentioned that I loved the fairy tale aspects of the book, but there were times when the plot took such an abstract, weird turn. You know how when you're dreaming, something really random or bizarre can occur that would make no sense in reality? Vassa in the Night was like that. Sometimes, you just had to go with it and see what would happen next. And yes, it could be confusing at times, but it was also oddly captivating. At one point in the story, Vassa ventures into Babs's private rooms trying to discover a way to free Night, and it was like tumbling down the rabbit hole and finding myself in Wonderland. Really disorienting. The magic in Vassa in the Night follows no pattern or incantation; it's wild and unpredictable, full of possibilities, but difficult to grasp. I think Sarah Porter's Vassa in the Night is one of those books where you'll either embrace it in all its magical weirdness or you'll find it too nonsensical to really enjoy it. ** I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. **
Date published: 2016-09-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from True to the Original I was really expecting to love this book based on the description, but it was not what I was expecting at all. Glad to have read it, but it isn’t a book I will be remembering years, or even months, down the line. Also, though I suggested 13-15 I think 14+ would be more apt as some content could be said to be disturbing, especially re: beheadings, and even I needed to re-read passages as I felt as though I had missed something. There are a lot of redeeming qualities though, especially the female: male character ratio, and that the only real male character of note (Tommin) is not coming in to save the day, but rather being saved by Vassa. It was…good to see a male character put in the role normally reserved for female characters, I think it reinforces the idea that girls can very much be heroes and do not need to wait to be saved by a knight in shining armour. I also appreciated Vassa having to give up Erg, and that though immensely difficult, it was necessary for her growth and you know she is going to be just fine. I am usually wary once I see a book described as ‘coming of age/learning to love yourself,’ as they have frequently been awkward and full of clichés (maybe I’ve just read a lot of bad ones), but Vassa in the Night definitely did not fall into this category, at all. It is, however, a very good modernization of the original tale.
Date published: 2016-04-26

Editorial Reviews

"With a deft hand, lovely prose, and an eye for details, Porter reworks the Russian story of Vassilissa the Beautiful, setting it in an industrial Brooklyn where magic seeps into the mundane.... the end result is an ethereal, almost dreamlike fairy tale that generates a magic all its own." -Booklist, starred review "In this urban-fantasy take on the Russian folk tale 'Vassilissa the Beautiful,' Porter weaves folk motifs into a beautiful and gripping narrative filled with magic, hope, loss, and triumph." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review "[E]lements of traditional horror blend well with high-concept fantasy in this surprising and engaging tale.... A must-have for YA urban fantasy collections."-School Library Journal, starred review