cover image Rule


Ellen Goodlett. Little, Brown, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-51528-3

In this debut YA fantasy, Goodlett treats readers to juicy gossip, court intrigue, and danger. Told in alternating, third-person chapters, with the threat of betrayal on all sides, the novel centers on a friendship forged among half-sisters. Three girls—Zofi, Ren, and Akeylah—are plucked from obscurity and far-flung locales, and then thrown into the spotlight at court after it is revealed that they are daughters of the king. Each is plagued by an enormous secret, a crime against the crown: Akeylah cursed the king with lethal intent, Zofi murdered the crown prince, and Ren gave information that resulted in the death of thousands. Soon, the young women discover that someone at the palace knows of their betrayals and is threatening to expose them unless they forsake their birthright. Goodlett’s worldbuilding is detailed and politically astute; she hands each of the girls their own agendas and dilemmas, creating real players rather than mere pawns. She also skillfully pits the three against one another initially, then gradually draws them together to route out their tormentor, providing a satisfying build toward a cliffhanger ending. Ages 14–up. Agents: Joelle Hobeika and Hayley Wagreich, Alloy Entertainment. [em](Sept.) [/em]