cover image Gallant


V.E. Schwab, illus. by Manuel Šumberac. Greenwillow, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-283577-2

Though artist Olivia Prior—who is 14 and communicates via sign language—has lived at the Merilance School for Independent Girls since age one, she has never felt at home. Other residents don’t sign, the girls bully her, the staff “takes her silence for stupidity,” and the building teems with ghouls that only Olivia can see. Olivia’s mother’s journal, which chronicles the woman’s descent into madness following Olivia’s father’s death, doesn’t mention any kin, so Olivia is elated to receive a letter from her uncle Arthur, inviting her to come live at Gallant, the Priors’ estate. Upon arriving, however, Olivia learns that Arthur is dead, and neither her ill-tempered cousin, Matthew, nor the manor’s kindly caretakers are expecting her. Matthew orders Olivia to leave, citing spirits and curses, but Olivia stays on; at least the specters here are relatives, and she’s determined to uncover the truth regarding her family’s past in this place. Evocative prose, eerie b&w artwork by Šumberac, and superbly rendered characters (most of whom cue as white) elevate this affective, bone-chilling standalone from Schwab (the City of Ghosts series), which fuses Shirley Jackson’s gothic horror sensibilities with the warmth and dark whimsy of Neil Gaiman. Ages 13–up. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Mar.)