A few nights back we went to the book launch event for friend Sarah Porter‘s new YA novel Vassa in the Night at Books of Wonder. We found her previous Lost Voices trilogy to be full of some truly incredible, even cosmic passages of writing, magical in just the way you’d want a mermaid story to be (it was so good in fact that it got me over the substantial hurdle of reading novel-length works about high school age girls — fishtails or no fishtails). The new one transplants the old Russian folktale “Vassilissa the Beautiful” into contemporary Brooklyn, and presents us with a heroine who keeps a small, talking, animate magical wooden homunculus with an appetite for treats in her pocket. I think we can safely call buying Vassa in the Night for yourself or the young ones in your life a safe investment. Here’s one place to do it.