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When Women Were Dragons: an enduring, feminist novel from New York Times bestselling author, Kelly Barnhill Hardcover – Import, 3 May 2022

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,268 ratings

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Product description

Review

In this soaring coming-of-age novel, Alex brings up her younger cousin Beatrice, awakening to independence, feminism and identity as she navigates Bea's urge to "dragon". Fans of modern feminist classics such as The Power will find much to admire here; for teenage readers and beyond. -- Fiona Noble ― The Observer Published On: 2022-04-05

Ferociously imagined, incandescent with feeling, this book is urgent and necessary and as exhilarating as a ride on dragonback. -- Lev Grossman, author of THE MAGICIANS trilogy Published On: 2022-02-24

Completely fierce, unmistakably feminist, and subversively funny, WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS brings the heat to misogyny with glorious imagination and talon-sharp prose. Check the skies tonight - you might just see your mother. -- Bonnie Garmus, LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY

In lesser hands the dragon metaphor would feel simplistic and general, but Barnhill uses it to imagine different ways of living, loving, and caring for each other. The result is a complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities. This novel's magic goes far beyond the dragons. ―
Kirkus, Starred Review Published On: 2022-02-24

Such a divine book. Had me hooked from the author's introduction, incredible to have such a moving inspiration following the story the whole way through! Barnhill has such a way with words, Alex was such a clear and easy character to read and Beatrice was incredibly vibrant, too! Literally couldn't give higher praise. -- Rowan Maddock, Bookseller ―
NetGalley

I loved the inspiration behind this book almost as much as the book itself. Reminiscent in some ways of The Power, this is a world where women can and do become dragons - and how the same world deals with this (don't look; don't think; don't remember) -- Melissa Minty ―
NetGalley Published On: 2022-04-03

When Women Were Dragons is a fabulously fierce, utterly original and unapologetically feminist novel that explores centuries of female rage, due to subjugation, violence and misogyny-leading women to spontaneously transform into DRAGONS. A relevant and timeless coming of age story that's heartfelt, complex and thoroughly addictive...I also loved the inclusion of LGBTQ+ rep with both Marla and Alex being lesbian and a mention (during a study) of trans women transforming into dragons...Overall, this was a powerfully moving, feminist and wonderfully queer coming of age story that I absolutely LOVED! -- Natasha Leighton ―
NetGalley

It's a truth universally acknowledged that many books could be seriously improved by the addition of dragons and here that proposal works out, giving power to those previously left powerless by the society in which they were living. I look forward to seeing what else this author comes up with, after this, as hers will be a name I'll definitely check out. -- Graculus ―
NetGalley Published On: 2022-04-11

I absolutely loved it, honestly I found it so empowering and delightful to read...I love how this book makes me feel, how clever it is, this book is a celebration of and a love letter to women. The pains and struggles of women are not glided over in this book but women are not made victims either...My criticisms are very minor and easily resolved in that this book doesn't cover dragons in much detail. But here's the thing, this isn't a book about dragons, it's a book about women, the wildness, the liberation, the truth of women in a world that wants to tame and restrain us. -- Amy Burt ―
NetGalley Published On: 2022-04-20

There is very little I don't love about this book. The prose is luscious, the setting - 1950/60s USA - is atmospheric in it's stiflingly wilful silence, and the arc of Alex, the main character, is heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. I particularly enjoyed the combination of dragons (ordinarily a feature of dramatic, action-packed second-world fantasy) and the upsettingly normal life of a girl who just wants to study mathematics in world that thinks she should become a secretary until she 'lands a good husband.' More than anything, this book is angry, in a deeply relatable, quietly suppressed way. -- Bea Austin ―
NetGalley Published On: 2022-04-05

About the Author

Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, including The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the Newbery Medal. The Witch's Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Hot Key Books (3 May 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1471412199
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1471412196
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 14 - 18 years
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 460 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 14.4 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ United Kingdom
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 1,268 ratings

About the author

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Kelly Barnhill is an author, teacher and mom. She wrote THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON, THE WITCH'S BOY, IRON HEARTED VIOLET, THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF JACK and many, many short stories. She won the World Fantasy Award for her novella, THE UNLICENSED MAGICIAN, a Parents Choice Gold Award for IRON HEARTED VIOLET, the Charlotte Huck Honor for THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON, and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton award and the PEN/USA literary prize. She was also a McKnight Artist's Fellowship recipient in Children's Literature. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her three brilliant children, architect husband, and emotionally-unstable dog. She is a fast runner, a good hiker, and a terrible gardener. You can visit and chat at her blog: www.kellybarnhill.com

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
1,268 global ratings

Top review from India

Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 19 September 2022
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Top reviews from other countries

RedHead
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could’ve been great
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 5 September 2022
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4 people found this helpful
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Book lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 6 July 2022
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars We should be dragons
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 3 July 2022
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Aimee Kelly
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 13 July 2022
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Abi M
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 21 September 2022
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