Review Detail

4.2 106
Young Adult Fiction 28189
A Great and Terrible Beauty: The Best Oxymoron Youll Ever Read
Overall rating
Writing Style
Reader reviewed by Janelle

Since Ive never lived in a Victorian boarding school in London, England in 1895, it is often hard to imagine what it would be like, but author Libba Bray creates an environment thats so real, it makes you forget its the year 2006!
This is the story of an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl, Gemma Doyle of Bombay, India, whos sent off to boarding school in London after tragedy strikes her family. Upon arriving at Spence Academy, she realizes that shes different from the other girls. She does not enjoy taking lessons on manners or devoting her life to England, which the English girls succumb to willingly.
Gemmas true difference is her spooky visions of the future, which have a disturbing way of coming true, for example the death of someone close to her. Another important character is the mysterious boy, Kartik, who has been following Gemma, constantly warning her to close her mind to these visions. &He loosens his hold, lets me go. My eyes water. I rub at my throat. Who? Who wants me? The Order. He spits out the name. Circe. Circe.
Gemma is not the type of heroine who lives her life not caring whether or not she fits in. She tries to get the more powerful girls, Pippa and Felicity, to like her by doing their crazy initiation, which ends up with her being locked in an abandoned church. Despite this initial turmoil, when they begin to read Gemmas mothers diary, a sort of friendship forms between them. Within this diary unfolds a story about a mysterious group called, The Order, and two girls named Mary Dowd and Sarah Rees-Toome, who were killed in a fire at Spence years ago. Soon, the girls are sent on a wild goose chase to save a world called The Realms from the evil Circe who is out to kill Gemma. Can Gemma and her friends fight the evil in the Realms and preserve the Order? Youll have to pick up your own copy of A Great and Terrible Beauty to find out!
I gave this book five stars because the writing is incredible! This novel is filled with suspense, including the cliff hanger at the end which sets up the sequel, Rebel Angels. Author Libba Bray creates two worlds within her novel which both seem realistic. Her writing makes you feel like you are frolicking with the girls in the Realms. Gemma Doyle is such a complex character and Bray makes her seem like one of your very best friends. At the end of the novel you find yourself attached to her, wondering what trouble shes going to get herself into in the sequel. I recommend this book to any girl who wishes that she could be anything but ordinary. They might be able to live vicariously through Gemma, because this novel is nothing short of extraordinary.
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