Why Cress was First Named “Arugala” by Marissa Meyer | Blog Tour + Author Guest Post + Giveaway

Posted January 20, 2014 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 139 Comments



I am so happy to be kicking of the Cress blog tour today! The Lunar Chronicles is my favorite series ever, and Cress is a wonderful addition to a group of amazing characters. Marissa’s writing never ceases to amaze me. It’s no surprise that her books get better and better as she publishes them. I loved Cinder and Scarlet, but Cress is definitely my favorite. Here’s my review, if you’re interested. I can’t wait for you to read it!

I’m excited to have Marissa Meyer on the blog to tell you all about the making of Cress. I always love it when authors have behind the scenes tidbits to share with us, and Marissa has written a very fun post that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

Why Cress was First Named “Arugala”
by Marissa Meyer

Cinder = Cinderella.

Scarlet = Little Red.

Winter = Snow White.

It doesn’t take too much imagination, or fairy tale know-how, to figure out how I got the names for most of my heroines. But Cress and Rapunzel? That’s where a lot of readers get hung up.

So, allow me to explain.

The tale of Rapunzel opens with a poor man and his wife overjoyed at their first pregnancy. However, during her pregnancy, the wife begins to have some pretty intense food cravings. Not for pickles and ice cream, as a normal pregnant woman might have. Oh, no. This poor woman was craving salad. In particular, she really, really wanted a very particular kind of lettuce called . . . wait for it . . . rapunzel.

She wanted this lettuce so badly that she believed she would die if she didn’t get it. Unfortunately, the only place in their town that rapunzel grew was in the witch’s garden. So one night the husband hopped over the wall and stole some rapunzel and brought it back to his wife, who devoured it like a ravenous vegan.

This continued for a few nights until—dun dun dun!—one night, the witch caught the husband stealing from her. So she posed a compromise. The witch would kindly spare the man’s life, and even allow him to take as much rapunzel back to his wife as she wanted, if, when his wife gave birth, they would give the child to the witch as payment. The husband agreed and his wife got a nice steady diet of salad greens for the remainder of her pregnancy.


A while later, the wife gives birth to a beautiful baby girl. They give the baby to the witch who takes her and raises her as her own daughter.

And the witch names the child, you guessed it, Rapunzel.

The point of this story is that rapunzel is a type of lettuce. As it so happens, cress (a.k.a. watercress), is also a type of lettuce.


On a side note, when I was first coming up with character names, I called my Rapunzel heroine “Arugula” (another kind of lettuce) for all of ten minutes, before I realized I’d never be able to say it with a straight face.

Side note number two: Another word that is sometimes used interchangeably with rapunzel is rampion. Also known as the name I gave my spaceship, thanks to the clever suggestion of a friend.

Lettuce greens FTW.

Lastly, while I’m on the topic of Lunar Chronicles names, I’ll tell you that both “Carswell” and “Thorne” have hidden meanings that relate to Thorne’s role in the books and fairy tale.

But I’ll let savvy readers figure those out on their own . . .


The lovely people at Macmillan are offering a pretty amazing prize to the readers of my blog! One lucky person (USA/CAN) will win paperback copies of Cinder and Scarlet, as well as a hardcover of Cress and a special Cress comb! You know you want it! If you are brand new to the series, and are interested in learning more click on the book titles above to be taken to the Goodreads page.

lunarcovers(For a picture of the comb, click here!)

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Awesome Places to Be!

Become a fan of the Lunar Chronicles on Facebook!
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Pre-Order a copy of Cress to get a free comb! Details here. (US Only)
See Marissa Meyer on tour!
Join the Scarlet Readathon!
Get more fun Lunar Chronicles links and info on the MacTeenBooks blog!
Follow the rest of the Cress blog tour!

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139 responses to “Why Cress was First Named “Arugala” by Marissa Meyer | Blog Tour + Author Guest Post + Giveaway

  1. I loved reading this! I absolutely adored Cress, and I think Marissa Meyer’s world building is incredible, so it’s great to hear more about it. I’m glad she went with Cress, because it just sounds really cute. Aragula sounds like a kind of spider. And now I need to find out what Thorne’s name means…..
    Judith recently posted…Review: Tiger Lily

    • Dee

      I solved why he was named Thorne but I can’t figure out Carswell… The website I’m linking below helped me connect SO many things and events from the original Ralunzel story to events Cress that I never would have known!! It also helped me figure out the connection of Thorne’s name. Now off to wonder about “Carswell”…

      Here’s the website I used

    • In Rapunzel, the prince finds Rapunzel in the tower and climbs up her hair to visit her. One day, the witch discovers that the prince has been visiting Rapunzel and decides to trick him. So, the next time the prince arrives, when he climbs up the tower the witch is waiting for him. She pushes him off the tower and he falls into a huge swath of thorns, becoming blind. So that’s how she probably got Thorne…. I don’t know about Carswell though :P

      • In Rapunzel, the prince finds Rapunzel in the tower and climbs up her hair to visit her. One day, the witch discovers that the prince has been visiting Rapunzel and decides to trick him. So, the next time the prince arrives, when he climbs up the tower the witch is waiting for him. She pushes him off the tower and he falls into a huge swath of thorns, becoming blind. So that’s how she probably got Thorne…. I don’t know about Carswell though :P

        (in reply to Judith, by the way :D)

  2. Megan

    I am seriously dying waiting for the release of Cress. The only thing that has held me over was the release of the first five chapters, but now as we get closer to the release date I am finding it harder to control my need!

  3. Before Cinder, I never had much of a fondness for fairytale retellings. I was actually hesitant to read Cinder because it seemed so “out there.” But that’s exactly what I ended up loving most about the book. It was inventive. The characters were amazing and the writing was superb. I loved Scarlet even more. I can’t wait for Cinder!
    kimberlyfaye recently posted…Release Event & Giveaway: Wish For You (Boys of the South #4) by Marquita Valentine

  4. Lieselore

    I really like modern fairy tales and I couldn’t stop reading Cinder. It is just so good! I loved all the twists to the story and the fact that the place where it took place is Beijing. That is something you don’t see very often. The special fantasy books are most often based in the USA and not being American or ever having been to the USA, I am not familiar with even the names.

    I really want to keep on reading these Lunar Chronicles.

  5. Rabia

    I love The Lunar Chronicles so much! I really like how well developed the characters are and how Marissa Meyer bring such a cool twist on all these classic fairy tales. I also love the worldbuilding and how she has thought of so many details and so much to put into the future Earth and the Moon. I can’t wait for Cress to come out!!

  6. Miss Wisp

    The CHARACTERS. The WORLD. It’s all so fun to read!

    I’m VERY excited for Cress. I also prefer “Cress” to “Arugala”.
    The “Thorne” in Thorne’s name is quite obvious, but Carswell….. anyone?

  7. Tammy

    This is a series I’ve heard such great things about but haven’t started reading it yet. I know I need to fix that.

  8. Ashley

    Haha, I remember when I was little, all the girls loved Rapunzel. But they never knew the reason her name was so peculiar. I asked my mother, and she told me the truth- Well, part of it. she revised the story to something like, “Rapunzel ate the Rapunzel, which is called lettuce in our world, and her hair grew long and beautiful.” I ate lettuce everyday for a year, before I realized that my hair was growing no faster than it used to. However, by then, is developed a fondness for lettuce and never stopped eating it since. ;)
    I can’t wait for cress!

  9. Nancy L.R.

    Because I am such a huge fan of fairytales! Weheter it’s the Disney versions or the Grimm Brother’s I love them all. Also, Thorne & Wolf!

  10. Amna

    Yeah, I was wondering why her name was Cress, and then I figured it was short for Crescent, which ties into the novel, though it still didn’t have much to do with the fairytale. But now I understand! I honestly never knew the story behind Rapunzel’s name, and I don’t know why I never thought to look it up. And I am so curious as to what ‘Carswell’ and ‘Thorne’ mean in regards to the story. Thanks a lot for the giveaway, too. It’s so kind and awesome! :D

  11. Amy G.

    I love the Lunar Chronicles because what is there not to love about sci-fi
    fairy tales. These stories are amazing.

  12. Angela C.

    Haha that’s so cute. I knew there was a reason for the different names. And omg I absolutely LOVE Cinder and Scarlet! They’re such creative and original retellings and the characters! I love them all. <3

  13. Linda Henderson

    I haven’t read the series yet but I love fairy tales with a twist so I look forward to reading them.

  14. C Fowler

    I first read Cinder on the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it so much that I immediately read Scarlet. I can’t wait to read the next two books Cress and Winter

  15. Katherine

    I love the Lunar Chronicles’ reinterpretation of fairy tales. While there were some plot quirks I predicted, it also caught me off my guard (in a good way!) — so the books make me think. The world building is also quite excellent and really makes me believe in the characters’ struggles.

  16. I love hearing the back stories on how authors come up with their characters’ names. I definitely agree that Cress works better than Arugula ever would (nor would I be able to read about a character named Arugula without busting out laughing). Good call.

    Having read the first five chapters of Cress, I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy to see how a new heroine will fit in with already beloved characters. Plus, let’s be honest, I need more Thorne in my life.
    Jennifer H. recently posted…MPL Librarians Select . . . Favorite Books of 2013

  17. Ichigo_sora14

    I love everything about the Lunar Chronicles. Especially the world, fairy-tales, princess, prince, and a dystopia world that has no love triangles. I’m so excited about Cress.

  18. Vivien

    I’ve been such a huge fan of this series since the beginning. I adore re-tellings. Cannot wait to read Cress!

  19. P

    I think the reason I love the Lunar Chronicles is because each time I read even a page from one of the books, I find myself revisiting my childhood in the most new and interesting ways.
    And yes, I am sooo excited for Cress!

  20. Denise

    I found myself laughing about this story! But I must admit Arugala isn’t as awesome a title as Cress! I will most definitely be following this blog! Thanks for the stop here! <3 Thanks!

  21. Amanda

    I love the omniscient narration. I love getting everyone’s perspectives. Plus, the characters are so compelling, and I can’t wait to see what Cinder does in this 3rd book!

  22. I LOVE the Lunar Chronicles series!!! So much! I have entered so many contests and giveaways trying to win an ARC of Cress because I can’t wait until it comes out. (No luck)
    But I am really excited to read Cress when it does come out.
    Love the blog post! :D

  23. Stephanie T.

    The Lunar Chronicles is one of the series I have never forgotten about even through my year long break from books (I don’t know how I did it). And of course I’m excited!! I do have this embarrassing moment I had last year because of Scarlet, but I’m over it (kind of). Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  24. Allie L

    I love this series because they are retelling of my favorite classic stories with unique twists to them. Rapunzel is actually one of my favorite characters so I’m very excited to read Cress :D

  25. kati

    This was very cool! I’m super excited about Cress! Marissa Meyer is very good with the names she picks for her characters. I love it!

  26. I knew that about the name Cress!! Only because my little sister is like a walking encylcopedia and told me though. ;) That’s SO cool how it all ties in. But oh gosh, now I’m thinking seriously about Thorne’s name and I’m very worried. XD

  27. I’m trying to picture “Arugula” on the cover of the book. It isn’t working very well, so I think it’s probably a good thing that her name changed to “Cress”. It rolls off the tongue more easily too.
    Kelly recently posted…Review: The Naturals

  28. kat

    Well, for starters, I love fairtytales. I love it even more when authors come up with different versions or worlds of fairytales. The Lunar Chronicles is just an amaaazing version. I LOVE IT. The ideas and concepts of the story is just so cool and unique.

  29. I absolutely love the Lunar Chronicles series. The sci-fi twist on some of my favorite fairy tales. I enjoy the puzzle of how everyone’s name plays into their fairy tale identity and their roles. I cannot wait for Cress!
    Layla recently posted…Add a Little Steam

  30. Michelle

    I love the Lunar Chronicles series because they are stories of hope. Even though each character has struggles, there is also that spark of hope that things will get better and that the characters will come out all the more stronger because of those challenges :)

  31. Sarah C.

    I like fairy tales and I like futuristic settings, and this series combines both with marvelous characters and stories. And Iko is the best little android ever! I am so looking forward to Cress!

  32. SO excited for this! I absolutely ADORE Cinder! It’s the book I always name when someone asks me what my favourite book is. This was amazing and super interesting to know, by the way. I love the story of Rapunzel, it was one of my favourite fairytales when I was younger and still is! In all my books it was rampion that the husband picked and I never made the rapunzel-rampion connection ’til now! Now I know why it’s called Cress! So cool!
    It’s a mega shame that the giveaway isn’t open to Aussies though D:
    Can’t wait to see the cover for Winter!
    Olivia (Bookcomet) recently posted…Counting the Stars 37#

  33. Jenny

    I am so excited for Cress! I love YA sic-fi and Cinder and Scarlet were absolutely amazing. Also, I hear Thorne is heavily featured in Cress and I would love to know more about him! And Iko as a spaceship of course.

  34. Elizabeth

    So excited for Cress! I’m also dying to know what the hidden meanings are behind “Carswell” and “Thorne”

  35. I haven’t read any of the series yet, but it’s on my tbr list. But thank goodness she didn’t stick with the name “Arugula.” I really don’t think I could read a book with a character named Arugula. I really don’t. But it was cool to read the background for the names, so I’ll have a little knowledge when I finally start reading the series.
    Andrea @ The Busy Bibliophile recently posted…Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}

  36. Sarah

    I love the Lunar Chronicles because they’re so unique. Also, Cinder is awesome, and Wolf and Thorne? *swoon* I cannot wait for Cress to come out.

  37. Fatimah Elghazawi

    I adore the Lunar Chronicles because it is so unique and it’s super fun to read! I am SO EXCITED for Cress!!!!! <3

  38. Darith L.

    I love that it’s a fresh take on fairytales, and the writing is beautiful! Can’t wait to read Cress. :D

  39. Sherry

    What can I say? I love fairy tale retellings, and astronomy, and Lunar Chronicles is both! I can hardly wait to read Cress!

  40. Alyssa

    I LOVE the Lunar Chronicles for so many reasons! The characters are so unique and realistic (i.e. they have flaws but are still likable), the stories take place all over the world, and the plotlines are so intriguing that once I pick one of these books up I literally cannot put it down until I am finished. You can tell by the fact that I am typing this with copies of Cinder and Scarlet in my hands… :)
    Super excited for Cress!!

  41. Amy

    I was wondering where the name Cress came from! Although I was always confused when my Grimm fairy tales books would use “repunzel” and “rampion” interchangeably, i didn’t know it was a lettuce.

    I love these books so much, and I’m always so curious when it comes to the creative process for exceptionally brilliant pieces of work like The Lunar Chronicles!

    Thanks for hosting part of the Cress Blog Tour!
    Amy recently posted…Movie Review: Catching Fire

  42. Fallon Vaughn

    I am so excited for Cress and my favorite book was Scarlet cause i am in love with Wolf and hope he is in Cress.

  43. Kcpenny

    I love the Lunar Chronicles because ummmmmm… I don’t know… It’s just different from other stories i guess. And different in a good way :)

  44. Jenelle Riane

    Teehee, “Arugala”, Well, Cress sounds a thousand times better! I can’t wait for Cress! Soooo excited!!!

  45. Leah Claire

    I love how ingenious Meyer is at taking fairytales to a whole new level by mixing in the sci-fi element. I’ll admit, it took me a long time to finally pick up “Cinder,” but when I did, I kicked myself for taking so long. I LOVED it! And I’m really excited for “Cress” because “Scarlet” just made me love it all even more.

  46. Amber

    I’ve always loved sci-fi novels and fairy tales, but cinder was what really got me into the whole modern day retellings… I hadn’t actually been interested at the beginning, but I’ve read so many good reviews and its been recommended by so many people that I knew I HAD to read it. I sure loved it~

  47. Stephanie H.

    I love fairy tale retellings and I love all the twists in this world! I’m super excited for Cress as Rapunzel is a favorite story!

  48. vero g

    I still had the oportunnity to read the saga, but sounds amazing, love fairy tales and this sounds like a great retelling

  49. Brenda

    This is one of my favorite series! I’m so glad I went to see her on one of her random book signings. I can’t wait for Cress! Thank you for the giveaway!

  50. Stacy

    I was hooked at Cinder. I just love that she is a strong character and that she is smart. I enjoyed seeing her story continue in Scarlet, and I cannot wait to see how all of their stories continue.

  51. Moulin

    I love these stories/fairytales and to see remakes of them is very exciting! And they’re so nicely written! Congratulations on such a great success Marissa! :)

  52. Rachelle

    I love the retellings! I can’t wait to read Cress because it’s about Rapunzel’s story and I LOVED Tangled! XD

  53. Pearl K

    I thought Cinder was a fantastic twist to the original fairytale and Scarlet just takes the story to another level. I can’t wait to find out what will happen next in Cress.

  54. KT

    I love the Lunar Chronicles because they are fun! They also seem pretty original to me. I read a fair number of re-tellings and these do such a great job of incorporating the original story without simply telling it a different way.

  55. Amoolya Paruchuri

    I LOVE how Marissa Meyer takes a fairy tale that’s been done to death and breathes new life into it! I’m so very excited for Cress to come out and to meet her on the fourteenth!

  56. LOVED learning more about Cress! Also that tidbit at the end about Thorne – oh HAI!!

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Cress and I devoured it. There is no other way to say it. I plan on re-reading the entire series before Winter comes out (I want it NOW PLEASE) and I can’t wait to see how she brings it all together..honestly I don’t think I have ever been so “in love” with so many characters at once!!
    Alyssa recently posted…On the Same Page: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

  57. Alex U.

    I haven’t gotten into the series yet, but I love fairy tale retellings and I am really excited for Cress. I’ve heard a lot of great things about it!

  58. I will be honest. I have not read this series yet. I usually stay away from re-telling novels of fairy tales because the ones I have read have not been too good. However, I have heard so many great things about it that I have changed my mind. I would like to give it a chance and see if these books and re-telling are as good as everyone says they are.
    Heather @ YA Fantasy Book Junkie recently posted…Indie Author Recommendations

  59. I haven’t read any of the novels in this series, but I’ve heard so much about them and I just can’t ignore the hype anymore. Great post! :)

  60. sage

    I don’t really like sci-fi but the mix of fairytales and sci-fi really works well. i can’t wait for cress to come out!

  61. Harleen

    SOOOO excited for Cress. What I love most about the Lunar Chronicles is the fairy tale retellings because I love all fairytales. Disney movies are seriously my go to movies. What can I say, always a child at heart

  62. KMichelleC87

    i actually havent started this series yet but i absolutely LOVE remade fairy tales!!!!


  63. Laura

    The thing I love the most about the Lunar Chronicles would have to be the characters. (That and the way Meyer can really tell a good story, complete with facts like breadcrumbs perfectly spaced throughout.) Each character is skilled and unique but also flawed. It’s wonderful!
    Also, heck yes I am excited for Cress!

  64. Veronica

    I love the fairy tale element in it and that even though it does have similarities with those fairy tales the story is completely different and original. Also the plot twists always keeps me guessing what is going on which is super exciting!
    And of course I’m excited for Cress!! I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  65. HollyB

    Yes, I am SO excited for CRESS!! I couldn’t afford to pre-order this one like I did with the first two, so I’m crossing fingers that I’ll win a giveaway or get an Amazon gift card from someone ;) If all else fails, I can always borrow it from my library, right?!

    I love the Lunar Chronicles and I think Marissa Meyer is a writing genius! There are some people whose work I enjoy for entertainment, a light read, that kind of thing; and then there are authors like Marissa who are just SO SPECIAL they amaze me. I especially love how she turns these fairy tales on their heads and gives us such strong, fierce, independent, intelligent young women characters, but without making us feel like they are flawless “super women.” They have their flaws, of course, and we can relate to them, but they also show young women all of the amazing things that THEY can do in their own lives. I just love these books!! Thanks for being part of the tour!

  66. Megan

    The Lunar Chronicles is so uniquely crafted and unbelievably original! Nowadays, it’s hard to find a YA novel that isn’t focused on a dystopian setting or where the female protagonist isn’t dependent on their male counterpart. I was tired of the same stories with the same outcome, and though there are many great stories that are like that, a girl’s got to branch off now and then. My best friend was the first to tell me about Cinder and my first thought was, “Cyborg. Awesome.” And when I started, I could not put it down. From that very first page, I fell in love with the concept of shoving fairytales into an awesome sci-fi setting with a strong female character who, unlike previous female characters I’ve read, is convincing and real. She responds the way I would in situations and I absolutely love that. Super excited for Cress! :)

  67. Chloe

    I am soooo excited to read Cress, i am really interested to know how she will keep in contact with Cinder and how Cinder will continue to hide from the queen!

  68. Veronica

    I love Marissa Meyer’s writing style and the story is like nothing I have ever read before. It’s unique but familiar at the same time because of the fairy tales. I just love this series so much and I really hope I win this giveaway!
    I can’t wait to read Cress, this is going to be amazing!!! And thank you so much for this giveaway!

  69. Kathy

    I am excite for Cress, my daughter was bouncing off the walls when she knew it was coming out so soon and I am not only happy for her but I am happy to read the series, she has done nothing but praise it and I am excited for the both of us to read the books

  70. Beth F

    I still haven’t started this series, but I can’t wait to get started. Seeing all these great reviews for Cress has made me anticipate these books even more! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  71. Chloe

    I have been waiting for Cress for a couple months and now that it’s out I can hardly contain my excitement! I cannot wait to start reading

  72. Ann S

    I’m so excited for Cress, I’ve been dying to read it! I love everything about the Lunar Chronicles, the storyline, the characters, the writing. Thanks for the giveaway!

  73. Ember Lafonte

    “Carswell” means “watercress spring.” His name basically means Cresswell. Lol I looked up the name Carswell and I noticed that and I was wondering if that was significant or if it was just a coincidence XD