Firsts and Lasts: Poison by Bridget Zinn

It’s going to be hard to miss this over the next few weeks, but just in case you’re not following the other 100+ blogs covering this, I can’t help but feature it on my own.

If you are a regular visitor here (bless you), you’ll know that I don’t do a lot of giveaways, interviews, or other promotional type posts, but when I came across the opportunity to let you all know Bridget Zinn’s debut novel, Poison, I jumped on it.

Because Bridget lost her battle with cancer before her novel was published, her friends, fellow young adult authors, and the blogging community have banded together to get the word out about Poison.



Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.


About Bridget Zinn

Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.

My own mother is battling cancer right now, so this hit a nerve for me personally. Bridget was also a children’s librarian, which further endeared her to me. Still, I wouldn’t promote her book if I didn’t also believe it was worth your hard-earned money, and it is. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader’s copy and will post a full review, but rest assured it’s a cute, fun young adult novel that has high appeal.

Unfortunately, Bridget’s first novel is also her last…which got me thinking about firsts and lasts and how we commemorate them. (It was also suggested that we incorporate a story of a significant “first” into our post for the blog tour).

Right now, I’m in the planning stages of getting a new tattoo (which means trying to find the right artist to bring my vision to life). I’m going to forever brand my skin with the last words my father ever spoke to me, when he was being rolled into a Stanford Medical University hospital operating room by a British nurse to receive a heart-lung transplant his body would ultimately reject. Those famous last words?

“Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?”

Yeah. That’s right. The last thing my father every spoke to me, or to anyone, really, was a line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. My dad was already pumped full of drugs that made him a little loopy, and the nurse’s accent had him making Monty Python jokes. It was always his favorite movie. I remember special ordering a copy from Suncoast Video at the mall with my mom when I was maybe 7 or 8, then watching it that Christmas in my grandparent’s basement in their pop up top VCR with my cousins. We laughed when the knights step on chicken’s heads as they dance around the round table and giggled at the haughty Frenchman exclaiming he will fart in King Arthur’s general direction. I never felt the same way about bunnies after seeing the scene where they attack.

That last conversation with my father, when I hadn’t yet realized that he would never regain consciousness, that I would spend the next few nights sleeping in the emergency room listening to the nurses gossip about running into Chelsea Clinton on campus, using my dad’s credit card to buy smoothies from the hospital cafeteria and reading dense nonfiction purchased from the hospital bookstore that my fourteen-year-old self preferred over light teen fiction, has stuck with me. It rings in my ears these days, when I read the best escapist YA and trek from the hospital to the vegan bakery for coffee and cupcakes while my mom receives treatment. I think about the first parent I saw through terminal illness, as I do the same for my last parent.

“Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?”

To me, those words aren’t just the silly lines from a ridiculous British comedy. There the promise that the impossible can be made possible. It’s simple. Ignore the math. Ignore the science of wind velocity and weight ratios.

Imagine two swallows could have carried it, not gripping it by the husks, but together, between a string.

Someday soon, I’ll have permanently branded myself with those last words of hope and possibility, on a banner, wrapped around a coconut, carried by two birds.

Which gets me thinking of my first tattoo, an embarrassing trio of Japanese characters that don’t quite exactly but are intended to mean “sexy bitch.”

When I was 17, the first semester of senior year of high school, I convinced my mom to sign permission for me to have these lines etched into my ankle alongside my two best friends, who were already 18. Luckily, we’re all still best friends, and even though it’s not my proudest moment, I’d never consider covering or removing that ink. That snowy day and the thrill of doing something kinda dangerous is something we’ll always share, even if as we exit our 20s and no longer quite consider ourselves the sexy bitches we thought we were 10 years ago. Yeah, the Japanese letters are lame cultural appropriation, the lines are sloppy, and the meaning is embarrassing. But it was my first tattoo, and it’ll always be a part of me.

We commemorate our firsts and our lasts, sometimes going so far as to etch the memory of them into our skin. Sometimes, as is the case for Bridget Zinn’s novel, firsts and lasts are one in the same. In her honor, consider adding Poison to your library collection or purchasing it for your own.

Find Poison by Bridget Zinn at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or consider asking your local independent bookstore to stock it. You can find out more about Bridget Zinn at her website. I’ll post my review of Poison later this month!


12 thoughts on “Firsts and Lasts: Poison by Bridget Zinn

  1. Thank you for sharing your personal experience – what a beautiful thing, that glorious quote from Monty Python. Your writing moved me <3

    Continue to be awesome, and I look forward to your review!

  2. Molly…I can’t even. I love everything about this post, thank you SO much for sharing these moments in your life. I have to admit that I’m crying…I didn’t cry at Code Name Verity or A Monster Calls, but this touched me. I don’t think I often cry at sad things, I cry at bittersweet/happy things, and this is definitely one of those. Please PLEASE post a pic of your tattoo when you get it, I think that’s awesome. Additionally, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts bout Poison…and that last tweet of hers? A fantastic way to say goodbye.

    1. Heidi! I can barely believe that you cried! I don’t often get so personal, but really, reactions to books are often very personal, so I thought what the hell.

      I will certainly share pics when I get it done. It’s going to be a chest piece so it will probably take a few sessions so it won’t be for a while. I’m still trying to find the right artist since I just have a sketch and a concept.

      I’m usually a fan of darker fantasy, but Poison was light and funny and delightful. I know, that last tweet gets me.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. My heart goes out to you and your family. Bridget always enjoyed escaping into books with warm pockets of friendship. I hope you found some in her book. Thank you so much for helping to introduce her book to new readers. Best wishes, Barrett Dowell

  4. I just got Poison. I’ve even blogged about this as well. I don’t think there’s ever going to be too many posts. It hit home for me, too. I couldn’t help but think of my grandfathers, who both lost their battle against colon cancer. For it to take someone as young as Bridget Zinn is really a tragedy… Your post about Poison has been one of the more unique ones I’ve come across :)

    You tattoo sounds like a great idea, by the way. I hope everything works out for you and your mother.

  5. Molly, that is the best idea I’ve heard for a tattoo in a long, long time. Your dad sounds like an amazing person,though I’m also predisposed to think that anyone who likes Monty Python is “good people” :) When I first heard about Bridget Zinn’s battle yesterday from Laini Taylor’s blog, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about Bridget’s story before that point. I am very proud of how much the community is spreading the word about the book. I have it here but haven’t started it yet but I’m excited to get going.

    You and your mother are in my thoughts.

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