This is book number 1 in the Gilded Magic series.
Heartfelt, fast-paced, and utterly absorbing, The Gilded Girl is Alyssa Colman’s sparkling debut novel about determination, spirit, and the magic of friendship.
Any child can spark magic, but only the elite are allowed to kindle it. Those denied access to the secrets of the kindling ritual will see their magic snuffed out before their thirteenth birthday.
Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic is the best kindling school in New York City—and wealthy twelve-year-old Emma Harris is accustomed to the best. But when her father dies, leaving her penniless, Emma is reduced to working off her debts to Miss Posterity alongside Izzy, a daring servant girl who refuses to let her magic be snuffed out, even if society dictates she must. Emma and Izzy reluctantly form a pact: If Izzy teaches Emma how to survive as a servant, Emma will reveal to Izzy what she knows about magic.
Along the way, they encounter quizzes that literally pop, shy libraries, and talking cats (that is, house dragons). But when another student’s kindling goes horribly wrong, revealing the fiery dangers of magic, Emma and Izzy must set aside their differences or risk their magic being snuffed out forever.
A Bank Street Best Book of the Year
“A thoughtful and imaginative exploration of friendship, internal change, and perseverance told in alternating voices and anchored in an enticingly crafted alternate turn-of-the-century New York.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Holds a lot of appeal for magic-loving readers. . .Fast-paced and warmhearted with a satisfying conclusion.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Readers familiar with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess will recognize the riches-to-rags plot, and the earnest personal growth for both Emma and Izzy and triumphant ending make for a cozy read . . . Readers will take to heart the strong emphasis on personal worth regardless of circumstance.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“[An] entertaining fantasy . . . a delightfully Dickensian feel.” —The Buffalo News
“Sweet and magical. Will kindle the imagination!” —Melissa de la Cruz, author of The Descendants series
“When I turned the last page, the first word that came to mind was wow, followed quickly by fabulous, fresh, fast-paced and fun. This book is pure magic.”—Barbara O’Connor, New York Times–bestselling author of Wish
“An irresistible story that celebrates the magic of friendship, kids’ power to change the world, and the benefits of having an excellent cat on your side. Timely, engrossing, and delightful.” —Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl
“The Gilded Girl is a spellbinding adventure through turn-of-the-century New York City complete with house dragons, disappearing rooms, and magic that longs to burn free. This charming, magical story about trust, hope, equality, and the active pursuit of systemic change feels perfectly relevant right now.” —Josephine Cameron, author of Maybe a Mermaid and A Dog-Friendly Town