A Great and Terrible Beauty is a YA novel and the first of a trilogy by Libba Bray. I listened to this on audiobook and I loved the way the narrorator, Josephine Bailey, portrayed each character. I have a hard time reading accents in my head, and the audiobook gave me a great idea of each characters' voices and personalities.
This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Gemma who has spent most of her life in India. One day, she witnessed in a vision her mother being murdered which turns out to be true. She is then shipped off to London to attend Spence Academy, an elite Victorian boarding school where she meets 3 girls, Felicity, Pippa, and Ann. After blackmailing her and her roomate Ann into joining Felicity and Pippa's clique, the 4 girls become friends. While at Spence, Gemma encounters a child-like spirit who gives her a diary of a former student, Mary Dowd, where she talks about an Order that Mary and her friend Sarah are a part of....and that Gemma later discovers her mother is also a part of. Gemma leads her 3 friends to the realms where she finds herself with her own magical powers.
I really enjoyed listening to this book as it made my commute to and from work pleasant. It was interesting following the adventures of Gemma, Felicity, Pippa, and Ann and learning more and more about the magical powers and the Order. It had a very interesting twist toward end that I literally gasped out loud. I recommend this book for anybody who loves YA and paranormal fiction. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.