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‘A sincere, poignant and moving story of a group of teenage girls coming to terms with the world they’ve inherited’ Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones and the Six

An all-girls boarding school in a hilly corner of Connecticut, Atwater is a haven for progressive thinking and feminist intellectuals. The students are smart, driven and worldly; they are also teenagers, learning to find their way. But when they arrive on campus for the start of the fall term, they’re confronted with startling news: an Atwater alumna has made a troubling allegation of sexual misconduct against an unidentified teacher. As the weeks wear on and the administration’s efforts to manage the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary young women come to realise that the adults in their lives may not be the protectors they previously believed.

All Girls unfolds over the course of one tumultuous academic year and is told from the point of view of a small cast of diverse, interconnected characters as they navigate the social mores of prep school life and the broader, more universal challenges of growing up. The trials of adolescent girlhood are pitched against the backdrop of sexual assault, consent, anxiety and the ways that our culture looks to young women as trendsetters, but otherwise silences their voices and discounts their opinions. The story that emerges is a richly detailed, impeccably layered, and emotionally nuanced depiction of what it means to come of age in a female body today.

Reviews

An exciting, innovative debut from a fresh and assured new voice
Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones and the Six
A shimmering, intelligent portrait of young women on the cusp of adulthood
Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z
An engrossing novel from start to finish, with characters who feel as real as your best friends
Carola Lovering, author of Tell Me Lies
All Girls kept me turning pages
Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists
Sexual awakening and institutional reckoning intertwine in Emily Layden's rich, kaleidoscopic debut
Elizabeth Ames, author of The Other’s Gold
Incisive, astute . . . Layden succeeds at bringing the effects of an institutional cover-up into sharp relief
Publishers Weekly
An important take on sexuality and #MeToo from the perspective of the young
Library Journal
Astutely captures the claustrophobic and toxic culture of conformity among teenage girls
Observer
Readers will find themselves thinking about the vividly and compassionately rendered characters long after their chapters end . . . Give it to grown-up fans of Gossip Girl and readers of Curtis Sittenfeld and Emma Straub
Booklist
Call it a 21st-century Prep or a Litchfield County Gossip Girl, but don't miss what's sure to become a touchstone among the beloved niche of boarding-school novels
Town & Country
Diving into the unprocessed underworld of adolescence, Layden creates space for a conversation about feminism and the unsung difficulties of surviving in a male-dominated world. Intelligent, evocative, and empathetic
Kirkus
The pages turn fast and the girls are complex, compelling and written with incredible tenderness. Layden excels at rendering the everyday details of boarding school life
Kate Elizabeth Russell, New York Times