Young-Adult book review on A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
In this debut gothic novel mysterious visions, dark family secrets and a long-lost diary thrust Gemma and her classmates back into the horrors that followed her from India. (Ages 12+)
It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?
My Thoughts after Reading
This YA book is set in a boarding school during the Victorian times.
Our heroine grew up in India, and after mysterious circumstances that lead to her mother’s death, she returns to England with her grieving father. Enrolled in finishing school for girls, she stumbles into a diary and forms a friendship group with a eclectic group. These soon intertwine.
The pacing is good, making me turn the pages. This story is full of intrigue. I got a good sense of our heroine’s grief and her new life in the school. The author skilfully weaves the diary to their current school life, always moving the plot forward.
A good read. 3/5