What it’s about: The turnaway girls live in a cloister outside of the city Blightsend, under the watchful eye of Mother Nine, where they learn how to make gold, or shimmer, out of the music Masters play outside the walls. They learn to do as they’re told. They learn to be silent. Only girls are allowed to make shimmer, silently creating treasures for the Master who chooses them. And only boys are permitted to be Masters, the makers of music who live free, outside the cloister.
Twelve-year-old Delphernia has been raised in the cloister, but she’s never been like the other turnaway girls. She can’t make shimmer, and she can sing pure magic. She’s always asking questions. When she is chosen by a Master to leave the cloister, it seems that her dreams have come true--but there are shadows in the city, ones which threaten all she has gained. In order to save her new friends--and her city--change will have to come. And Delphernia is no stranger to speaking up when no one else will. Read our full review here!
Why we chose it: Luminous and absorbing, The Turnaway Girls explores the silence which girls are often taught to keep, and the courage and importance of those who speak out anyway. Although it’s written in prose, it’s written so beautifully that it sometimes reads more like poetry. I loved Delphernia’s development over the course of the story, and her growing confidence and courage, and the other characters are wonderful as well, making the cast irresistible. We have selected The Turnaway Girls as a Book of the Year because of its intricate, enchanting writing and storyworld, and its deftly woven tale of a girl finding her voice, which is both timely and timeless.