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The Turnaway Girls

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Delphernia Undersea wants to sing. But everyone on Blightsend knows music belongs to the Masters — and girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea. On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, Delphernia Undersea wants to sing. But everyone on Blightsend knows music belongs to the Masters — and girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea. On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, the Masters play their music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it. But Delphernia can’t make shimmer. She would rather sing than stay silent. When a Master who doesn’t act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it’s a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky watches with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, secrets fall silent in halls without sound. And outside, Delphernia is caught — between the island’s sinister Custodian and its mysterious Childer-Queen. Between a poem-speaking prince and a girl who feels like freedom. And in a debut that glimmers with hope and beauty, freedom — to sing, to change, to live — is precisely what’s at stake.


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Delphernia Undersea wants to sing. But everyone on Blightsend knows music belongs to the Masters — and girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea. On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, Delphernia Undersea wants to sing. But everyone on Blightsend knows music belongs to the Masters — and girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea. On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, the Masters play their music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it. But Delphernia can’t make shimmer. She would rather sing than stay silent. When a Master who doesn’t act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it’s a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky watches with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, secrets fall silent in halls without sound. And outside, Delphernia is caught — between the island’s sinister Custodian and its mysterious Childer-Queen. Between a poem-speaking prince and a girl who feels like freedom. And in a debut that glimmers with hope and beauty, freedom — to sing, to change, to live — is precisely what’s at stake.

30 review for The Turnaway Girls

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    A debut that sings! Chewins introduces both an inventive idea (girls who weave gold from music) and a lyricism rarely found in middle-grade literature (best described as literary fantasy). The advanced diction and complexity of the story make it suitable for upper middle-grade readers (ages 10 to 14), but this book that blazes with sorrow and longing will likely enchant adults, too. Highly recommend to fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon or anyone who enjoys a brooding tale centered on a girl wi A debut that sings! Chewins introduces both an inventive idea (girls who weave gold from music) and a lyricism rarely found in middle-grade literature (best described as literary fantasy). The advanced diction and complexity of the story make it suitable for upper middle-grade readers (ages 10 to 14), but this book that blazes with sorrow and longing will likely enchant adults, too. Highly recommend to fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon or anyone who enjoys a brooding tale centered on a girl with an unusual, forbidden talent.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    A gorgeous cover The Turnaway Girls is a beautiful middle grade book that leads with the message of being your true self. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

  3. 5 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.com Twelve-year-old Delphernia is a turnaway girl. She lives on Blightsend, a strange little island that seems to be ruled by the sea and lives inside in the cloisters. The job of the turnaway girls is to make gold by turning music into shimmer. They are not allowed to sing or the sea will take them. Deplhernia maybe a turnaway girl but she can’t make shimmer, she also has too many thoughts which annoy her teacher – Mother Nine. Plus, she really wa Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.com Twelve-year-old Delphernia is a turnaway girl. She lives on Blightsend, a strange little island that seems to be ruled by the sea and lives inside in the cloisters. The job of the turnaway girls is to make gold by turning music into shimmer. They are not allowed to sing or the sea will take them. Deplhernia maybe a turnaway girl but she can’t make shimmer, she also has too many thoughts which annoy her teacher – Mother Nine. Plus, she really wants to sing. Once a year masters come to choose a turnaway girl and those left become like slaves to Mother Nine. Just when all hope is lost and it seems that Delphernia won’t be chosen, a saviour comes for her. It is now her time to experience the outside, see the sky and be free. However, the outside is not as nice as it first seems and is full of mysteries. The Turnaway Girls is an unusual, yet enchanting book about the plight of one twelve-year-old girl who has been brought up to believe she is nothing more than a girl to serve others and not worthy. A turnaway girl is someone who as a baby turns away from their reflection in the mirror placed inside their cot. They are brought up to turn music into shimmer (gold). Their purpose is to line the pockets of their masters. As a baby the girls have part of their hearts taken, the part that stops them asking questions, however Delphernia was born at the time of a festival and so part of her heart wasn’t taken, because of this she has lots of questions and as she is different from the other girls she feels like she doesn’t fit in. This all infuriates Mother Nine who sees fit to punish her for any little thing she does wrong, Mother Nine doesn’t like different. The story is about a young girl having felt like she doesn’t belong for the last twelve years suddenly realising that there is a big world outside of the cloister. She discovers that there are other people who feel like they don’t fit in and that sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in and be who you want to be. The book is intriguing and poetic. At times it was a little confusing and I did re-read sections yet never once did I feel put out by this. This is a powerful debut from author Hayley Chewins and I’m sure lots of people will be able to identify with Delhernia about not being seen as ‘normal’. As her friend Linna says, ‘Odd people are the best’.

  4. 4 out of 5

    R.M. Romero

    A shining, feminist book as lyrical as the songs the heroine hides away inside of her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    K.A.

    It is a rare thing indeed to find an author with as much command of language as Hayley Chewins. I was so floored reading this that I gasped out loud and hugged the book--I RARELY EVER HUG THE BOOK. But the imagination, the language, the poetry of the words and story, it all came together so perfectly I fell right into the cloister with Delphernia, who was such a joy. This is a story for anyone who's been pushed down and fought tooth and nail to rise. A book-friend for anyone yearning to sing, wh It is a rare thing indeed to find an author with as much command of language as Hayley Chewins. I was so floored reading this that I gasped out loud and hugged the book--I RARELY EVER HUG THE BOOK. But the imagination, the language, the poetry of the words and story, it all came together so perfectly I fell right into the cloister with Delphernia, who was such a joy. This is a story for anyone who's been pushed down and fought tooth and nail to rise. A book-friend for anyone yearning to sing, who perhaps never thought they could. This author is a new favorite, and I can't wait for everyone to read the magic of THE TURNAWAY GIRLS!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Meyer

    This lovely book is filled with music, music, music. It brims with it. It sings. I could get lost in the rhythm of the prose and live there forever. Simply gorgeous. 💚

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kester Grant

    I devoured Turnaway Girls in one sitting, Chewins paints a lyrical magical world in the style of Laini Taylor, this is a completely original fairy tale by a stunning new talent.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rena

    What a stunning book. The language is poetic, thoughtful, sparse, but so carefully crafted and emotive. Reading the entire book felt like being in the best kind of dream - where anything could happen, and you never want it to end. I would read anything by this author. What a command of language! I was really blown away by this book. I hope that everyone who reads it - young and old, is as inspired as I was - to speak up, to use my voice, to never surrender my dreams. Stunning.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Nelson

    *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* What an absolutely magical, heartfelt, wonderful story. I can’t begin to describe how wonderful this book is. Even as an adult, this story is so much and if I’d read it fifteen years ago, it easily would have been a favorite. I wasn’t sure how weird this was going to be, because the description is a bit strange, but it is absolutely wonderful and if you like fantasy at all, definitely give *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* What an absolutely magical, heartfelt, wonderful story. I can’t begin to describe how wonderful this book is. Even as an adult, this story is so much and if I’d read it fifteen years ago, it easily would have been a favorite. I wasn’t sure how weird this was going to be, because the description is a bit strange, but it is absolutely wonderful and if you like fantasy at all, definitely give this a read, because: Wow! Chewins has created a fascinating world in which everything has a place and function. Girls who turn away from their reflections as infants are trained as “turnaway girls,” growing up separate from the outside world to learn how to turn music into gold. Boys with a talent for music become music-makers and get to choose a turnaway girl for themselves once they become of age. There is no room for differences or otherness. On top of that, one man is trying to take complete control for himself and is doing this by cutting down everyone else. There are cautionary tales about the one who was different and didn’t conform, so she was swallowed by the sea; children are warned by this story to make sure to fall in line. Also, not only are the turnaway girls now separate from the rest of society, but their matron has been taught how to take away all their curiosity as well; who they are as individuals are literally sucked away by a woman following orders so that they can fall into line with the rest of society. So you have the main character who is a turnaway girl; she is supposed to be silent, but she loves to sing. I absolutely loved that Chewins added a Music-Maker who decided she didn’t want to act like a boy anymore. It was such a powerful moment when the main character realized that she wasn’t the only “other” in the universe; there were people like her who didn’t fit this mold that their society had created for themselves. Even just the descriptions of the main character hiding away to sing were so poignant and moving and so relatable; I think we’ve all had those moments where we take time for ourselves just to be ourselves without having to worry about others’ judgments. This story speaks to a deeper sense about power, identity, and the lengths people go to in order to not rock the boat or get in trouble. It’s a powerful tale that younger people will appreciate so much, made beautiful and fascinating by the narrative Chewins has woven around these issues. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s amazing. Also posted on Purple People Readers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karlita | Tale Out Loud

    I'm so excited to read this book! But for now, I'm hype to share the interview I did with Hayley Chewins where she talks about how everyone who has been bullied can relate to Delphernia Undersea’s character. Read more here: https://taleoutloud.wordpress.com/201...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie Clark

    I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this book and can't express how special it is. Hayley Chewins writes with an elegance and complete surrender to fantasy that I go looking for in books by Laini Taylor and Kiran Milwood Hargrave. There is something extremely beautiful about when a writer opens up their soul and it pours onto the page into words with mystical lyricism that create images of liquid gold. This is a book about remaining true to who you are even if everyone around you is pro I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this book and can't express how special it is. Hayley Chewins writes with an elegance and complete surrender to fantasy that I go looking for in books by Laini Taylor and Kiran Milwood Hargrave. There is something extremely beautiful about when a writer opens up their soul and it pours onto the page into words with mystical lyricism that create images of liquid gold. This is a book about remaining true to who you are even if everyone around you is programmed a different way. Not only is it heartwarming and uplifting but it is also empowering; encouraging you to find your voice, lift it and never stop singing. It's beautiful.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    Some books, like a fine wine, need to be savoured. This fantasy middle grade debut coming out in October is one of those books. Reading THE TURNAWAY GIRLS transports you to a place you’ve never been, full of rich language and images that feel so unlike your own world. It’s deep, dark and beautiful, and you should keep it on your radar.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex (PaperbackPiano)

    This delightfully feminist middle grade book was a great start to 2019. The prose is really quite lovely and the author uses metaphors masterfully to create vivid descriptions. The repetition of various motifs lend this book a quiet strength that I found really quite moving at times. This book does require a large degree of suspension of disbelief at first but once you get into the flow of things, it becomes easier. The musical subject matter is a joy (is anyone really surprised that I loved it? This delightfully feminist middle grade book was a great start to 2019. The prose is really quite lovely and the author uses metaphors masterfully to create vivid descriptions. The repetition of various motifs lend this book a quiet strength that I found really quite moving at times. This book does require a large degree of suspension of disbelief at first but once you get into the flow of things, it becomes easier. The musical subject matter is a joy (is anyone really surprised that I loved it?) The author succeeds in making this quite a diverse little book, with POC main characters. I also felt like an LGBTQ+ inclination was hinted at and I really hoped it would develop but I suppose it might not have been appropriate for the age of the book's target audience. I could be reading too much into it but it's where my brain went! There were moments of surprising violence within the book, meaning it is not all sweetness and light. I thought the author struck a nice balance. Mother Nine is a great villain that readers will have no problem hating! Overall, I'm really pleased I started the new year with this one and would recommend it to fans of whimsical writing and strong female characters, no matter their age.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Sumrow

    This is one of the most lyrical middle grade novels I’ve ever read—each word has been chosen with purpose and the result is astonishing! I love how Delphernia stands up against the expectations of her in a very rigid society that has already decided her place. She is strong, but not without self-doubt, making her an endearing character.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amelinda Bérubé

    This book's lilting, musical, magical prose will pull you right into Delphernia's world until you can practically taste the sea air and feel the stone walls closing in. A beautiful reminder to any reader that they can use their voice to change the world.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Solomon

    Stunning.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christina Collins

    Musical, breathtaking prose...an empowering, feminist message...I loved every word!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elliott

    As a child, I devoured fairy tales. The worlds were magical, but they also showed me the reality that there was both good and bad, lightness and darkness in the world. Fairy tales did not sugar coat the violence nor the importance of our choices. The older I got, the more I continued to read books that reminded me of those first fairy tales I loved. Fantastic and magical worlds created by E. Nesbitt, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, and Ursula K. Le As a child, I devoured fairy tales. The worlds were magical, but they also showed me the reality that there was both good and bad, lightness and darkness in the world. Fairy tales did not sugar coat the violence nor the importance of our choices. The older I got, the more I continued to read books that reminded me of those first fairy tales I loved. Fantastic and magical worlds created by E. Nesbitt, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Later on, I would add Mervyn Peake, Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Catherynne M. Valente, and Katherine Arden. I have never lost the wonder of reading works by writers who create mythical and magical worlds that had not existed before they put pen to page. When, as a boy, I learned that people actually wrote these books, I thought no less of them than proper wizards, mages, or magicians. What they did was no less miraculous than what happened on the pages of their books. I love to be transported to somewhere new, somewhere unimagined until that author discovered it in their own imaginations and brought those worlds into the words of stories. There is something childlike about allowing oneself to be given over to an author's creation that I have never, ever lost. "Mother Nine says it's the wall that does it - fills the shimmer room with music and gold. But I know it's someone on the other side. I know it's a boy. A boy who was born and wrapped in scrolls of music instead of blankets. A boy with bells crowning his head, the sea a chorus of thrush spray behind him, lifting a stone-flute to his lip. Breathing songs into living." So begins The Turnaway Girls and, like that boy with his songs, Hayley Chewins breathes this story into life. The protagonist, 12-year-old Delphernia Undersea is a "turnaway girl." What, you may ask, is a turnaway girl? A passage that takes place between Delphernia and Mother Nine, the head of the cloister where young girls take the music that is played by the Masters outside their walls and make that music into gold or "shimmer" as Mother Nine refers to it, best explains it: Mother nine breathes ragged breaths, walking a circle about me. "Do you know, Delphernia, why I never look you in the eye?" I stare at the ground, "You don't look at a thing invisible," I say, "You don't look at a thing that is not to be seen." "And what of you?" She slaps the twig-switch against her palm. My skin is sack, and I'm wriggling around inside it. "Turnaway girls are not seen - they see. Turnaway girls are not heard - they hear." It's a true marvel for books to surprise me, to make give myself over to it so completely to the story's lyrical, almost musical style. Like the music that is turned to gold, Hayley Chewins' writing shimmers because she uses language in a way that is poetic, deep, rich, complex and vivid. I read with wonder and admiration. Delphernia may be only a turnaway girl to Mother Nine, but that's not how she views herself. Like Jane Eyre, the heroine of this novel is sees her own identity as more than her lowly situation. In a passage that is exquisite in beauty and description, the reader begins to see Delphernia's strong inner self: The cloisterwings sigh among half-dead leaves, waiting for me to sing to them. I loosen a dangling strip of the hollow tree's bark and press it to my tongue. It tastes of the rain that pours through the skydoor once every week when Mother Nine opens it to receive our food from the Custodian and our water from the clouds, when the cloisterwings are locked in bent-gold cages so that they cannot escape. It tastes of how it must feel to see the whole sky in one go. It tastes of having wings. I grab one of the drooping branches and hoist myself into the hollow tree's belly, sliding down, down, down. My finger bones prickle as I settle into the joy of the dark. In the dark, I am hidden. In the dark, I can sing. In the dark, I am as much cloisterwing as girl. It is in such a moment that Delphernia realizes she can make light-strands as the othergirls do in the shimmer-room, but she does so not with the singing of the Masters but with her own singing. This gloriously transcendent moment brings about her realization: I made this. In creation begins identity. Unlike the other girls, she can create not "a dead clump of gold" but she has "sung a bird with a beating heart." From the depths of her inner life, she creates life. Creativity is a kind of magic. An author pulls from their inner selves (their imagination, their subconscious, their memories, what they have noticed, other stories they have read) and they put pen to paper or fingers to laptop keys and they start from a blank page or screen and fill them with words that draw the reader in the way stories always have since our ancestors began telling them in caves or around a fire. Stories move beyond facts to truths that can only be expressed in a story, in metaphor, in images. And, as they begin to do this, they toil and doubt themselves and question the validity of what they are doing and, at times, surprise themselves by what they just brought to the page. Something a character says or does. A twist in the tale that is unexpected to even them. Neil Gaiman wrote in A Game of You, "Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody - no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them, they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds . . . Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe." What is it that sparks something in someone to move past their fears and dare to write about those worlds? What book or author caused a young reader to suddenly imagine, "I want to do this"? For Neil Gaiman, it was reading C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. For Hayley Chewins it was reading David Almond's amazing novel Skellig. But what moves one from imagining they are a writer to actually sitting down and writing? Of making themselves day after day when no one else will read these words, write them? Hope. As Hayley Chewins' wrote about on her blog: . . . I run on hope. Hope is the petrol I put in my tank. It's what kindles my creative fire. Hope is the thing that keeps me going. (Okay, and coffee). Bottom line is: If I'm not hoping, I'm not working. What do I mean by hoping? I mean that when I'm writing a book, I believe all the good things it is possible to believe about a book. I believe my agent will love it. I believe it will sell. I believe it will find an audience. I believe people will adore it as much as I do. It's not easy. In fact, it's pretty hard to maintain a sense of hope in what sometimes feels like a never-ending maelstrom of Horrible Things. But I do it anyway. Because it's the only thing I can do. And I agree with her. Hope is the only thing that can drive someone to create when so much around them would dissuade and discourage them from doing so. From those voices in one's head that tell one that they are a fake, that they are not any good at creating because creating is for other, more creative people. Hope is also what drives The Turnaway Girls. The hope of Delphernia to be more than she is told that she is. Her story is inventive, thrilling and utterly captivating.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Faith Rivens

    This MG novel flows with a rich music rooted deeply in its main character, Delphernia Undersea. She is one of the Turnaway Girls expected to make gold from music but she has never been able to. Instead she must hide her voice and her ability to make life with it or risk being thrown in the sea. This book sings of finding yourself, rebellion, friendship, courage... It breathes such a unique world with unforgettable characters. This is one of my favourite reads this year and highly recommend you pi This MG novel flows with a rich music rooted deeply in its main character, Delphernia Undersea. She is one of the Turnaway Girls expected to make gold from music but she has never been able to. Instead she must hide her voice and her ability to make life with it or risk being thrown in the sea. This book sings of finding yourself, rebellion, friendship, courage... It breathes such a unique world with unforgettable characters. This is one of my favourite reads this year and highly recommend you pick it up. It will break your heart while filling it with wonder and hope.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    I'm a sucker for a book that twists language into something lyrical and magical. The Turnaway Girls does just that as it sets up a world where making shimmer/gold from music is not only possible, but something destined from birth. Delphernia Undersea is a turnaway girl who can't do any of the things turnaway girls are meant to do. She can't make shimmer, she can't stop asking questions or thinking for herself, and she can't help but sing. Only when she's alone with her birds, though, because "gi I'm a sucker for a book that twists language into something lyrical and magical. The Turnaway Girls does just that as it sets up a world where making shimmer/gold from music is not only possible, but something destined from birth. Delphernia Undersea is a turnaway girl who can't do any of the things turnaway girls are meant to do. She can't make shimmer, she can't stop asking questions or thinking for herself, and she can't help but sing. Only when she's alone with her birds, though, because "girls with singing throats are swallowed by the sea." As the book unfolds, we learn more about the world Delphernia inhabits and its history. If you're like me and you perk up at the merest hint of backstory, you'll be happy to know that quite a bit of it is delivered as promised and most of the questions I had were answered by the end of the book. There are queens and princes and falling apart castles, as well as monsters both human and otherwise, and the important lesson of what love isn't. The only thing that kept me from giving this a perfect score is that it relies far too much on Delphernia and Bly not communicating at all. He takes her from her cloister and they spend their first day or so together and then... that's it. He's forever away in his cave and Delphernia never mentions going after him and they never talk, but we're forever in dread of him mentioning her singing even though it's obvious to even Delphernia that he knows she can and does sing. Naturally it's only brought to a head once it's time for a Big Dramatic Rescue. Why? Did I gloss over the reasoning (beyond Bly being a little off) or is it simply a case of forced dramatic tension? Hell, Bly explicitly warns Delphernia during their first conversation not to trust the Childer-queen and yet she and Delphernia spend far more time talking than we ever see with Bly. In any case, the story is written beautifully and I enjoyed it. I received an ARC of this book and this was the honest review. Huzzah.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shelby M. (Read and Find Out)

    4.5 stars! My Video Review

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    I wasn't sure what to think of this book, but once I got halfway through, I really started liking it a lot. Delphernia is a turnaway girl.  She is being raised with the other turnaway girls by Mother Nine.  Mother Nine is extremely abusive (trigger warning).  The turnaway girls make shimmer (gold) when they hear music, but Delphernia can't make it.  She would prefer to sing, but girls who sing are taken by the sea. The Masters come to take away some of the girls.  They play music and the girls mak I wasn't sure what to think of this book, but once I got halfway through, I really started liking it a lot. Delphernia is a turnaway girl.  She is being raised with the other turnaway girls by Mother Nine.  Mother Nine is extremely abusive (trigger warning).  The turnaway girls make shimmer (gold) when they hear music, but Delphernia can't make it.  She would prefer to sing, but girls who sing are taken by the sea. The Masters come to take away some of the girls.  They play music and the girls make their shimmer.  Delphernia wasn't chosen at first, but then a boy showed up later to take her with.  The night before, that same boy heard Delphernia singing.  Her singing also created golden birds. After she leaves the cloister, Delphernia spends time with Linna, a girl Master.  She trusts Linna with her secrets.  Something happens that puts Linna's life in danger.  Delphernia needs to try to overcome her fears, forget everything she was taught, and save Linna. This was a beautifully written story about a girl who was told she was nothing and realizes her self worth.   I gave this book 4 stars.  Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing me an arc for review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diane Magras

    This is a powerful fable about girls who are forced to use their voices to produce gold for their rulers' wealth, as well as a girl whose voice can create more than gold: She breathes souls into stone. Never direct but beautifully subtle, this story weaves a dramatic plot of escape and survival with a sensitive, mysterious protagonist fighting against what she's always been told against the background of legends: Most of a sea hungry for those who sing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Cameron

    Set in a world where masters play music and girls spin it into gold, this is a brilliantly original story: lyrical and mystical and so beautifully written, with a strong protagonist and an empowering message. Hayley Chewins is a phenomenal writer, and this is definitely one to watch.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tahlia

    Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/... 2.5/5 Stars *I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. Oh dear, I nearly didn’t finish this, but I really try not to do that, even with books I’ve brought myself. But I really just felt like I didn’t have it in me to finish this book, for the life of me, I just couldn’t get into it. The very first paragraph had me so excited as I could tell that the author was someone who searches for the most be Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/... 2.5/5 Stars *I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. Oh dear, I nearly didn’t finish this, but I really try not to do that, even with books I’ve brought myself. But I really just felt like I didn’t have it in me to finish this book, for the life of me, I just couldn’t get into it. The very first paragraph had me so excited as I could tell that the author was someone who searches for the most beautiful and interesting ways to phrase everything. There were so many stand out sentences that I marveled at, but unfortunately the text as a whole just didn’t work for me. I felt as if I was constantly lagging behind the story, like I was always having to play catch up and unfortunately I didn’t manage to in the end. I was just over the halfway mark when I almost made that difficult decision to stop. But I gave myself some time away from it and decided to continue on, not because I particularly wanted to see where the story would go, but because I hate not finishing books. Especially as some books manage to turn things around by the end. However, I think that it’s only fair for me to expect to have a grasp on the story and characters this far in, but honestly I had no idea what was going on, it’s the longest state of confusion that I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t understand the characters, their world, or where the story was going at all. I’m so very disappointed about this because I truly loved some of the writing, but sadly it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t really care for any of the characters apart from Linna maybe, as she was just so bright and full of life, compared to everyone else. And I liked the odd little Bly and how everything that come out of his mouth was poetry quotes, it was quite charming. I couldn’t quite figure out the Childer-Queen or Mother Nine and it actually really bothered me, they both seemed like they could’ve been really interesting characters if developed more. The Custodian didn’t do much for me in terms of being a villain, he was quite a disappointing one if I’m honest. And with the main character Delphernia, I mostly felt sorry for her because of the way Mother Nine treated her, it was actually quite shocking to be honest. My feelings towards her didn’t stretch beyond this sympathy though, which already made me less interested in continuing on. The idea of the Turnaway Girls intrigued me massively, but once I got the gist of it, I was still confused and it fell a bit flat for me. I can’t work out why, but I just expected it to be a bit more, to mean a bit more, but it all felt too metaphorical to me. When I thought that I’d understood something, I’d then learn something different, like I thought that only boys could be masters. And I thought that all men were masters, but some men can’t make music and so are treated as slaves. There just seemed to be a load of random facts that we were given that weren’t fully explored or simply didn’t make sense, like I didn’t understand Mother Nine’s conflicting actions or her connection to the Sea-Singer. I also didn’t get who the Mothers were and how and why they were chosen, as there had been nine of them all together. I previously stated that I enjoyed some of the writing a lot and I still standby that, but the plot just wasn’t good. I felt so lost the whole way through, without a steady and strong plot to follow, another reviewer mentioned feeling liked they’d missed bits of the story and I can’t think of a better way to describe what I experienced. I keep saying confusing, but it was exactly that. The world building was patchy and the setting was non existent for me, because I just couldn’t conjure any of it in my head, it was trying to say the least. Someone else mentioned that they think that this would have worked better as a YA instead of a Middle Grade, and I have to wholeheartedly agree. There was potential here for a great book, but it lacked a certain depth and clarity, that felt masked by the beautiful writing. I don’t think I could personally recommend it, as I just didn’t really enjoy it, but most of its reviews have been four or five star ratings, so it may just be one of those subjective books that everyone responds wildly differently to.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    “I’m a turnaway girl and so I know: music belongs to the Masters.” Delphernia lives in the Cloister where Mother Nine tries to get her to make shimmer, turn music into gold, like the other Turnaway girls. One day Delphernia is given the opportunity to leave the Cloister for the outside world but it’s not everything she was expecting. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a dark and feminist fairy tale that grips you from the beginning. The writing was beautiful, lyrical and poetic much like Tahereh Maf “I’m a turnaway girl and so I know: music belongs to the Masters.” Delphernia lives in the Cloister where Mother Nine tries to get her to make shimmer, turn music into gold, like the other Turnaway girls. One day Delphernia is given the opportunity to leave the Cloister for the outside world but it’s not everything she was expecting. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a dark and feminist fairy tale that grips you from the beginning. The writing was beautiful, lyrical and poetic much like Tahereh Mafi’s writing style in the Shatter Me series. For a debut this is stunning, however I feel settings could’ve used a bit more description. Many scenes seemed to be taking place in empty spaces - I would’ve liked more detail to help build the world just a little bit more. The characters were all interesting, each of them with their own secrets which are slowly revealed throughout the book. My favourite in particular was Linna Lundd. The Turnaway Girls is a unique story which grabs you from the first page, immersing you into a magical world quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Thanks goes to Walker Books who let me get hold of a copy of 'The Turnaway Girls' a little bit early!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett Brown

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. In this book world Girls who turn away from their reflections as infants are trained as “turnaway girls,” growing up separate from the outside world to learn how to turn music into gold. Boys with a talent for music become music-makers and get to choose a turnaway girl for themselves once they become of age. There is no room for differences. Our main girl is a "turnaway Girl" she's supposed to be silent but she loves to sing. This is a Middle School book, I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. In this book world Girls who turn away from their reflections as infants are trained as “turnaway girls,” growing up separate from the outside world to learn how to turn music into gold. Boys with a talent for music become music-makers and get to choose a turnaway girl for themselves once they become of age. There is no room for differences. Our main girl is a "turnaway Girl" she's supposed to be silent but she loves to sing. This is a Middle School book, but was very well written. You almost forget it's for young kids.

  28. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    More like a 3.5 I almost broke down reading some parts of The Turnaway Girls. Seriously. I don't want to ruin this book, and all the tragic and emotional surprises in store. But there was something about it that spoke to me. The way this was so clearly almost dystopic and the way that the society is trying to shape Delphernia into something she isn't. The ways they try to force her into a mold. It's not a discussion and there is no real chance to exist outside it. I read it as a metaphor for the More like a 3.5 I almost broke down reading some parts of The Turnaway Girls. Seriously. I don't want to ruin this book, and all the tragic and emotional surprises in store. But there was something about it that spoke to me. The way this was so clearly almost dystopic and the way that the society is trying to shape Delphernia into something she isn't. The ways they try to force her into a mold. It's not a discussion and there is no real chance to exist outside it. I read it as a metaphor for the suppression of identity. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    This book sounds amazing -- I can't wait!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    The kingdom of Blightsend only allows music to be played, not sung. This music is then captured by girls and kneaded into gold. Delphernia lacks this ability and considers herself worthless because of this "deficiency". However, she has a more precious gift--the gift of song. Lyrical and captivating, this book details Delphernia's fight to be true to herself and her gifts. I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.

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