Eleven-year-old Cinzia is a printer’s apprentice in sunny Siannerra, a bustling, powerful city, where the ruling family encourages science and arts. Cinzia’s days are filled with helping her mestra, Aronne. She adores Mestra Aronne for taking her in—most guilds don’t have room for apprentices with a crippled leg—and she loves life in the raggedy workshop that smells of paper and printing, where secrets and stories are always circulating.
When Mestra Aronne discovers that the principessa’s brother is stealing from the city, her latest newsletter becomes the talk of the town. Both Aronne and Cinzia are arrested and brought to the palazzo to be charged with treason. Desperate, Cinzia manages to break free, weaving through the mazelike palazzo, only to end up in the gardens, where she comes face-to-face with Elena, the principessa’s daughter.
Elena is the exact same age as Cinzia, but she’s forced to keep to her rooms and garden. To protect her, according to her mother. To protect the city, according to her uncle. Because Elena is not the charming, powerful noble her family wants her to be. According to them, she doesn’t communicate well. She’s too gullible and literal and struggles to understand other people.
The girls decide to work together to free Mestra Aronne and bring justice down upon Elena’s uncle. They slip out of the palazzo and follow a whisper network of girls, drawing supporters from throughout Siannerra. If one person—no matter how young—can change the course of history, just imagine what a whole flock of them could do.
Bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp’s graphic novel sings with rich dialogue and fully realized characters who steal your heart. Debut illustrator Sylvia Bi brings sunny Siannerra to vibrant life—with all of its wonders and flaws—in her gorgeously detailed, energetic illustrations. Together, they have crafted an indelible story about finding and using your voice, perfect for fans of Lightfall, Tidesong, and The Prince and the Dressmaker.
Marieke Nijkamp (she/they/any) is the author of the middle grade graphic novel Ink Girls as well as several books for young adults, which include #1 New York Times bestsellers, a critically acclaimed anthology, graphic novels, and comics. She studied philosophy and medieval history, and when she isn't writing, she loves to garden, roll dice, and daydream. Marieke Nijkamp lives and writes in Small Town, the Netherlands.
Sylvia Bi is an illustrator who loves drawing stories with expansive, vibrant worlds, an undercurrent of chaos, and girls running on rooftops. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she explores and shares diverse stories and experiences through the power of a (digital) pen. She is also a book designer, a frog enthusiast, and an avid earring collector. Sylvia Bi lives in Brooklyn, New York.