Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.
But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.
In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after--the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. But Lei isn't content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable--she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.
I picked up this gorgeous book on Wednesday, squee'ing in Waterstones when I saw it as I hadn't realised it was out yet. I cannot wait to delve in!
First and foremost, this is a book with POC/Diverse main characters. The author herself has a mixed heritage of Chinese and English, and has used her heritage to craft the world of Ikhara and its inhabitants. I may be White British myself but I understand the importance of diversity in literature, especially in YA, and absolutely adore diverse books. Not only are they so very needed but they really depict the world we live in much more than books that feature only white characters.
UPDATE 24/11/2018: If you want to know more about the cultural diversity in Girls, Hodderscape posted a video the other day; an interview with Natasha Ngan where she discusses the book's creation and inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR6O5fWdAac
Personally however, what I am most drawn to about Girls is that the romance arc is between two girls, and the lack of lesbian main characters in YA novels (and novels in general, let's be honest) is so strikingly apparent that this book is immediately a breath of fresh air before I've even read the first page! As a Biromantic person in my mid 20's, it's brilliant to see homoromantic relationships in the books I love to read!
Are you going to be picking up Girls? Or have you already read it? As always feel free to leave a comment below, or @ me on Twitter!
Thanks for reading!