Chewins’ unhurried, first-person narration by a brown-skinned, curly-haired protagonist deftly reveals a tapestry of magic, power, and rebellion thread by ethereal thread. Questions of stratified gender roles, corruption, and what happens when a society stops asking questions fit with (and even enhance) Chewins’ tale of music, magic, and self-discovery…Hope is ever the thing with feathers, and feathers abound here.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Writing in Delphernia’s wry voice, Chewin, a poet, weaves an unusual, beautiful debut that sings with all the grace of the cloisterwings that Delphernia brings to life with her soaring voice. Entwining themes of rebellion, freedom, identity, and finding one’s destiny are at the center of this lovely tale.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Chewins’ creative and imaginative debut is set in a cloister on the fantastical island of Blightsend, where Delphernia works as a turnaway girl, trained to make gold out of music that the island’s Masters play…readers who reach the story’s end will be rewarded by unveiled secrets and unifying connections between the narrative’s events and characters.
“Lyrical, inventive, and utterly captivating, The Turnaway Girls is fresh yet familiar, a classic-feeling fairy tale that thrums with magic, music, and heart. The indomitable Delphernia will inspire young readers to trust in the power of their own unique voices, and debut author Hayley Chewins is a talent to watch.”
—Claire Legrand, author of Some Kind of Happiness
“In a time when it feels nebulous and unwieldy to be yourself, especially when the world doesn’t particularly understand or care about who that self is, this book was like a beacon in the darkness.”
— Lindsay Eagar, author of The Hour of the Bees
“A startlingly ambitious and lyrical debut, set in a fantastical world where silence really is golden and speaking up can cost everything. Fiercely imaginative and beautifully wrought.”
—Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, author of The Island at the End of Everything
“The Turnaway Girls is a gorgeous fable about the way societies cage girls’ voices and the revolutionary things that happen when those voices break free. Stunning, timely, and necessary.”
—Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy
Chewins’ poetic prose is the highlight of the novel.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books