A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)

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Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN 13: 978-0385732314
ISBN 10: 0385732317
Reader Level: Young Adult
Pages: 432


A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
A Book Sense Bestseller
BBYA (ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults)
Iowa High School Book Award
Garden State Teen Book Award
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

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A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel…an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.


Gripping and suspenseful. Colourful…compelling.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

A Gothic novel touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror.

Kirkus Reviews

An interesting combination of fantasy, light horror, and historical fiction, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure…Recommend this to fantasy fans who also like Sherlock Holmes or Mary Russell.

School Library Journal

Exhilarating and thought-provoking,


There’s no doubt the mystical elements, along with a touch of forbidden romance, will draw a large, enthusiastic audience, who will come away wanting more about stubborn, willful Gemma and the strange world whose doors she can open at will.