Girls at the Edge of the World

Dial. Jun. 2021. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525554035.
Gr 8 Up–Natasha is the principal flyer for the Royal Flyers, a silks dancing group that preserves the traditions in her land. Ella is foreign, brought to Kostrov by a thirst for revenge, and joins the Royal Flyers in order to get closer to her target, King Nikolai. Although the Royal Flyers are well-taken care of, their standing among the royals is uncertain. Kostrov faces constant storms, foretold by their religious book Captain’s Log, and the world will eventually flood. The kingdom is building a fleet of ships but will not have enough room to save everyone. When Natasha finds out the Royal Flyers are no longer guaranteed a spot on the royal fleet, she makes up her mind to marry Nikolai and bring her friends with her on the fleet when the world ends. But will she be drawn to Nikolai, or to the mysterious new flyer with a hidden mission? This is a charming LGBTQIA+ novel. Ella is marked as a siren, a woman who enjoys the company of other women, and she must endure the negative implications it has for her in Kostrovian society. Natasha grows from an uncertain protagonist into a strong character who makes her own choices. The worldbuilding creates a believable, almost-dystopian background to the rest of the plot, and the novel is fleshed out with a cast of well-rounded characters. Natasha is pale and freckled and Ella has olive-toned skin.
VERDICT A recommended purchase for fantasy lovers.

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