cover image Valiant Ladies

Valiant Ladies

Melissa Grey. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-2506-2220-4

Inspired by real-life 17th-century heroines, Grey’s (The Buried) historical murder mystery is an exhilarating adventure. Teenagers Eustaquia “Kiki” de Sonza and Ana Lezama de Urinza are rich young ladies of Potosí by day, vigilantes for justice by night. Despite her heroic proclivities, which remain secret from her father, Kiki must still play her role in society. Though the girls’ feelings for each other continue to grow, even with Kiki’s impending arranged marriage, brothel-born Ana, who was taken in by the de Sonza family, has resigned herself to her station (“We are what we are, and a change of clothes can’t alter that simple fact”). When Kiki’s older brother is found dead in a supposed suicide, the girls’ lives are plunged into chaos as they investigate a mystery more intense than their nightly brawls, whose implications affect the future of the de Sonzas and the safety of Potosí’s underprivileged women. Kiki and Ana are passionate heroines whose alternating perspectives—which embody both fierceness for justice and tender affection for each other—paired with cinematic action sequences conjure a hyper-engaging and gratifying experience. Kiki is Latinx, Ana is half-Dutch and half-Peruvian, and supporting characters are of varied Latinx descent. Ages 13–up. Agent: Catherine Drayton, InkWell Management. (June)