The Story: On Gemma’s sixteenth birthday, her mother is brutally murdered in an Indian market place. Gemma is packed off to Spence, a Gothic finishing school in London where she find a mysterious diary and determines to discover her mother’s killer. Gemma also begins having strange visions and realises the answers she seeks may not lie in her world. She and her friends then set out on a dangerous quest for power and enlightenment.
Why its Awesome: Admittedly, it all sounds a bit far fetched. For a lot of readers, it will be. But if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, it’s a fun read with all the trappings of a good Gothic romance: gargoyles, swooning damsels, haunted woods and castles, a feisty heroine and a brooding hero hiding in the shadows.
More Like This: It’s part of a series and Libba Bray is prolific, so you won’t have any trouble getting more of her. A Great and Terrible Beauty reminded me of Kate Gordon’s Thyla, Lili St Crow’s Strange Angels and Claudia Gray’s Evernight. It’s definitely part of the paranormal craze in YA lit, but makes a refreshing change from all the vampires and werewolves.