The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy
Walden Pond Press
Published October 12, 2021
About The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy
If no one notices Marya Lupu, it is likely because of her brother, Luka. And that’s because of what everyone knows: that Luka is destined to become a sorcerer.
The Lupus might be from a small village far from the capital city of Illyria, but that doesn’t matter. Every young boy born in in the kingdom holds the potential for the rare ability to wield magic, to protect the country from the terrifying force known only as the Dread.
For all the hopes the family has for Luka, no one has any for Marya, who can never seem to do anything right. But even so, no one is prepared for the day that the sorcerers finally arrive to test Luka for magical ability, and Marya makes a terrible mistake. Nor the day after, when the Lupus receive a letter from a place called Dragomir Academy–a mysterious school for wayward young girls. Girls like Marya.
Soon she is a hundred miles from home, in a strange and unfamiliar place, surrounded by girls she’s never met. Dragomir Academy promises Marya and her classmates a chance to make something of themselves in service to one of the country’s powerful sorcerers. But as they learn how to fit into a world with no place for them, they begin to discover things about the magic the men of their country wield, as well as the Dread itself–things that threaten the precarious balance upon which Illyria is built.
I went into this book intrigued by the premise and expecting it to be good. Instead, it kind of blew me away. I was totally hooked when I met Marya and her awful family. From the beginning, I knew there was more to her than meets the eye, and I felt like I just had to keep reading to find out what it was.
Also, the tapestries! Okay, so in the book, the weavers and embroiderers have a secret language. They use symbols to mean different things– like a crescent moon placed near the artist’s signature means she doesn’t believe the story the tapestry tells. An embroidered cushion might tell a whole family’s history. I’ve never seen anything like that in a book before, and I LOVE it! I love the way that secret impacts so many parts of the story.
The way that Marya and the other girls wrestle with the way they’re treated just broke my heart. Watching them take courage and band together and be one another’s strength was so awesome. It reminded me a little bit of the spirit of GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS, but written for a younger audience. I loved that vibe about it, though.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
I think Marya and her family have white skin. Her best friend at school has brown skin.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some characters have magical ability. For the men, this is seen as an asset, and they are trained and given wealth and prestige. For the women, this is seen as evidence that they’re evil, and they’re sent to an asylum.
A powerful force called the Dread threatens the kingdom. No one knows how it spreads, but it is deadly.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THE TROUBLED GIRLS OF DRAGOMIR ACADEMY in exchange for my honest review.