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When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (HC)

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (HC)

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In a world where girls and women are taught to be quiet, the dragons inside them are about to be set free ...

In this timely and timeless speculative novel, set in 1950s America, Kelly Barnhill exposes a world that wants to keep girls and women small - and examines what happens when they rise up.

Alex Green is four years old when she first sees a dragon. In her next-door neighbour's garden, in the spot where the old lady usually sits, is a huge dragon, an astonished expression on its face before it opens its wings and soars away across the rooftops.

And Alex doesn't see the little old lady after that. No one mentions her. It's as if she's never existed.

Then Alex's mother disappears, and reappears a week later, one quiet Tuesday, with no explanation whatsoever as to where she has been. But she is a ghostly shadow of her former self, and with scars across her body - wide, deep burns, as though she had been attacked by a monster who breathed fire.

Alex, growing from young girl to fiercely independent teenager, is desperate for answers, but doesn't get any.

Whether anyone likes it or not, the Mass Dragoning is coming. And nothing will be the same after that. Everything is about to change, forever.

And when it does, this, too, will be unmentionable...


"In this soaring coming-of-age novel, Alex brings up her younger cousin Beatrice, awakening to independence, feminism and identity as she navigates Bea's urge to "dragon". Fans of modern feminist classics such as The Power will find much to admire here; for teenage readers and beyond." - Fiona Noble ― The Observer

"Ferociously imagined, incandescent with feeling, this book is urgent and necessary and as exhilarating as a ride on dragonback." - Lev Grossman

"Completely fierce, unmistakably feminist, and subversively funny, WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS brings the heat to misogyny with glorious imaginationand talon-sharp prose. Check the skies tonight - you might just see your mother." - Bonnie Garmusauthor of Lessons in Chemistry

"In lesser hands the dragon metaphor would feel simplistic and general, but Barnhill uses it to imagine different ways of living, loving, and caring for each other. The result is a complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities. This novel's magic goes far beyond the dragons." ― Kirkus, Starred Review

Hardcover edition
Publisher: Hot Key Books
ISBN: 978-1471412196
Pages: 352