cover image The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy

Anne Ursu. Walden Pond, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-227512-7

Though the patriarchal Kingdom of Illyria is known for its tapestries, the elegant visuals center men’s experiences to the exclusion of women’s: “Behind every great tapestry was a woman who wove it, just as behind every great sorcerer was a wife to tend to his domestic affairs.” Likewise, pale-skinned Marya Lupu, 12, is expected to tend to her family’s household, while her brother, 13-year-old Luka, receives the privilege and tutelage apparently befitting a prospective sorcerer. With the mysterious Dread increasingly devouring entire towns, the Council for the Magical protection of Illyria scours the countryside for magical talent that can help keep the Dread at bay—and should Luka become sorcerer, the change would confer status on the entire family. But after an incident occurs during Luka’s test, Marya is summoned to Dragomir Academy, a faraway school that prepares “troubled” young women for a model future on sorcerers’ estates while requiring them to forsake their pasts. Via a winningly curious protagonist who has a keen interest in the truth, Ursu (The Lost Girl) weaves a layered tapestry—filled with close-knit relationships and a well-explained, intriguing world—that questions authority, misogyny, and whom a story serves. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)