Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories

288p. Algonquin. Feb. 2018. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781616207977.
The Newbery Award—winning author expertly pens eight exquisite short stories and one heartrending novella for this collection. The fantasy elements Barnhill is known for is on display here, but this work contains even more twists and turns than her children's books as well as the occasional tale dealing with topics such as marriage and divorce. Most of the characters are full of love; it magically spills out of them as they heal, hope, and make the world a better place. The novella, "The Unlicensed Magician," focuses on magical children who are sacrificed to the Minister until one special infant survives to grow into a teenager who defies him. Though brief, the title entry packs a punch, describing four women who murder children and create natural disasters. Teens will find themselves marking well-worded passages in these pieces that are reminiscent of fairy tales and written with a deliberate and delicate turn-of-phrase.
VERDICT Perfect for readers of the weird and fantastically wonderful. Give to fans of Alice Hoffman, Laura Ruby, and Seanan McGuire.

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