This is actually the second book I've read this year which retells "Snow White" as a story about race (the first being Helen Oyeyemi's Boy, Snow, Bird). In Valente's version, the story's heroine is the daughter of a Native American woman, Gun That Sings, forcibly married to a white man, Mr H. She's given the name Snow White by Mr H.'s beautiful second wife in mockery, because it's the one thing she can never be.
The book roughly follows the story's familiar beats (the stepmother's cruelty, Snow White's escape, the huntsman's chase, sanctuary in the forest, the stepmother's three attempts at murder) with Wild West twists, which I won't spoil because watching Valente reimagine this familiar tale is the book's great and terrible joy. Suffice it to say that this story is hard, and there is no easy path for this Snow White, or for any of the characters who cross pages with her. Told in a kind of Wild West twang which draws out the tale's unrelenting harshness (in this it reminds me strongly of an album by one of my favourite bands, The Mechanisms' High Noon Over Camelot), it becomes a story not only about racism, but about sexism, and ableism, and the toxic effects of privilege in all of its forms, and none of these characters, good or bad, are free from it.
The cover makes this look like an MG novel, like Valente's Fairyland series; it really doesn't feel like one, and in some ways couldn't be further from the Fairyland books. (In some ways; even those younger novels feel like they're always aware of how blind privilege can be worse than any monster.) It's a retelling that depends for its power on the reader's knowledge of the original tale, which is exactly the kind of fairy tale I want to be reading.