AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A KIRKUS BEST BOOK
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER
“A bone-chilling standalone . . . which fuses Shirley Jackson’s gothic horror sensibilities with the warmth and dark whimsy of Neil Gaiman.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Gripping worldbuilding, well-rounded characters, and fantastic horror.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Unsettling and intriguing.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
#1 New York Times–bestselling author V. E. Schwab weaves a dark and original tale about the place where the world meets its shadow, and the young woman beckoned by both sides. The Secret Garden meets Crimson Peak in this stand-alone novel perfect for readers of Holly Black and Neil Gaiman.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for Girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home; it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile, or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
New York Times–bestselling author V. E. Schwab crafts a vivid and lush novel that grapples with the demons that are often locked behind closed doors. An eerie, stand-alone saga about life, death, and the young woman beckoned by both. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Melissa Albert, and Garth Nix will quickly lose themselves in this novel with crossover appeal for all ages.
Though artist Olivia Prior—who is 14 and communicates via sign language—has lived at the Merilance School for Independent Girls since age one, she has never felt at home. Other residents don't sign, the girls bully her, the staff "takes her silence for stupidity," and the building teems with ghouls that only Olivia can see. Olivia's mother's journal, which chronicles the woman's descent into madness following Olivia's father's death, doesn't mention any kin, so Olivia is elated to receive a letter from her uncle Arthur, inviting her to come live at Gallant, the Priors' estate. Upon arriving, however, Olivia learns that Arthur is dead, and neither her ill-tempered cousin, Matthew, nor the manor's kindly caretakers are expecting her. Matthew orders Olivia to leave, citing spirits and curses, but Olivia stays on; at least the specters here are relatives, and she's determined to uncover the truth regarding her family's past in this place. Evocative prose, eerie b&w artwork by Šumberac, and superbly rendered characters (most of whom cue as white) elevate this affective, bone-chilling standalone from Schwab (the City of Ghosts series), which fuses Shirley Jackson's gothic horror sensibilities with the warmth and dark whimsy of Neil Gaiman. Ages 13–up.