A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Gemma Doyle has lived an unusual life in India until she has a vision of her mother being murdered. After the vision comes true, Gemma is sent to Spence Academy for Girls near London. In between learning how to curtsy and speak in French, Gemma has strange visions that speak of otherworldly magic. Add in shy Ann, fierce Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and the mysterious boy Kartik who followed her from India, and adventures abound.
I absolutely loved this book about Gemma. I loved the proper boarding school setting. I loved the magic of the realms. And I especially loved Gemma. Even though she is not always likable, it's fun to hear her voice her sarcastic thoughts and to see the reactions of the other school girls.
Interestingly, the other two titles in this series, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing, derive their titles from famous poems. Although A Great and Terrible Beauty begins with the poem "Lady of Shallot", there is no line that mentions "a great and terrible beauty". I did a little research but can't come up with any historical significance for the title. Does anyone know of where it came from? If it's the author's original idea, it's definitely one of the best titles I've ever heard of.
My review of Rebel Angels
My review of The Sweet Far Thing