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We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire

We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire

by Joy McCullough

From the author of the acclaimed Blood Water Paint, a new contemporary YA novel in prose and verse about a girl struggling with guilt and a desire for revenge after her sister's rapist escapes with no prison time.

Em Morales's sister was raped after a frat party. A jury found the attacker guilty on all counts—a remarkable verdict that Em felt more than a little proud of, since her passionate social-media advocacy helped dissuade the DA from settling for a plea deal.
But victory is short-lived. Justice vanishes as the judge turns the Morales family’s world upside down again by sentencing the rapist to no prison time. While her family is stunned, Em is sick with rage and guilt. To make matters worse, Em tells a reporter the sentence makes her want to learn to use a sword—and the news clip goes viral.
Em must find a new reason to fight on, and it comes in the unlikely form of the story of a fifteenth-century French noblewoman, Marguerite de Bressieux, legendary as an avenging knight for rape victims.
We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire is a searing and nuanced portrait of a young woman torn between a persistent desire for revenge and a burning need for hope.

"What is art if not a sword? With We Are the Ashes, We Are the Fire, Joy McCullough wields and strikes her sharp-edged, finely honed blade. A fierce beauty.”Elana K. Arnold, Printz Honoree and National Book Award Finalist

★"Intense, unrelenting, and inspiring."—Kirkus, starred review

★"McCullough emphatically confronts the toll that sexual violence takes and deftly questions who gets to control history’s narrative."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

★"McCullough borrows judiciously from the headlines, and readers will find her story all the more affecting because of its seemingly eternal relevance."—Booklist, starred review

★"Unforgettable.... A must read."—SLC, starred review

"A meditation on the power of uncovering past heroines, especially for young women who are looking for strength."—Bitch Magazine

"Ferociously honest, unequivocally feminist…. Appreciators of Elana K. Arnold's Red Hood or Courtney Summers's Sadie should pick up this title immediately."—Shelf Awareness

A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2021
A Kirkus Best Book of 2021

  • Pages: 400 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Imprint: Dutton Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN: 9780525556060
Penguin Teen