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"A story of pain, injustice, love, resistance, and hope, this glorious book will lodge inside you and make you feel everything.” —Helena Fox, award-winning author of How It Feels to Float

Now in paperback, a queer, YA Handmaid's Tale meets Never Let Me Go about a dystopian society bent on relentless conformity, and the struggle of one girl to save herself and those she loves from a life of lies.

Everyone hopes for a letter—to attend the Estuary, the Glades, the Meadows. These are the special places where only the best and brightest go to burn even brighter. 

When Eleanor is accepted at the Meadows, it means escape from her hardscrabble life by the sea, in a country ravaged by climate disaster. But despite its luminous facilities, endless fields, and pretty things, the Meadows keeps dark secrets: its purpose is to reform students, to condition them against their attractions, to show them that one way of life is the only way to survive. And maybe Eleanor would believe them, except then she meets Rose.

Five years later, Eleanor and her friends seem free of the Meadows, changed but not as they’d hoped. Eleanor is an adjudicator, her job to ensure her former classmates don’t stray from the lives they’ve been trained to live. But Eleanor can’t escape her past . . . or thoughts of the girl she once loved. As secrets unfurl, Eleanor must wage a dangerous battle for her own identity and the truth of what happened to the girl she lost, knowing, if she’s not careful, Rose’s fate could be her own.

A raw and timely masterwork of speculative fiction, The Meadows will sink its roots into you. This is a novel for our times and for always—not to be missed.

"This beautiful and important book is dystopian YA at its finest, and its themes of queer resilience and community will resonate for many years to come." —BCCB (starred review)

“[One of] the best YA novels hitting shelves . . . More necessary and timely than ever.
This story of state-run schools in a post-climate disaster world that teach select young women to be perfect wives and mothers to help repopulate society doesn’t feel as alien—or far away—as it once might have. Timely and thoughtful.” —Paste Magazine

In the style of Kazuo Ishiguro, details [are] dabbled out in tiny, delicious morsels and flashbacks . . . The writing is painterly, yet tight; the book ties up every detail . . . A haunting dystopian amalgamation for the 21st century. Superlative, powerful, and timely. School Library Journal (starred review)

"Oakes employs evocative prose and worldbuilding shot through with equal parts melancholy and hope to craft an intelligent dystopian tale that proves a biting interpretation of contemporary issues surrounding conversion therapy, homophobia, misogyny, and racism." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Meadows is built with extraordinary parts—stunning language, complex characters, and the most exquisite heart. It’s a stop-you-in-your-tracks book, a reach-inside-and-grab-you book. I love its beating, beaming essence—that we are all good, and deserving of love, just as we are. A story of pain, injustice, love, resistance, and hope, this glorious book will lodge inside you and make you feel everything.” —Helena Fox, award-winning author of How It Feels to Float and The Quiet and the Loud

“Gripping . . . A YA Handmaid's Tale [that] toggles seamlessly between past and present. [For] readers who enjoy dystopian books with feminist themes and stories that highlight the power of queer community.” —Booklist

Cogent and incisive in its remarks on our present world, [The Meadows is] timely and gripping, [with] tension at a constant simmer and a new revelation always around the corner.” —Kirkus Reviews

"I was utterly swept away from page one. Atmospheric and unsettling, The Meadows is a dystopia that belongs in every collection. This is an incisive examination of the quiet violence of conversion therapies and the revolutionary power of self-love." —Natalie C. Parker, award-winning author of the Seafire series

"A profound story with fantastic writing that will be a great companion-read to classics like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale. And once you have finished reading it, do go back and read The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly [by Stephanie Oakes], which also tackles a lot of important discussions about what it means to be a teen girl in our world." —Teen Librarian Toolbox

The Meadows is a book that I cannot prise out of my head. This is one spilling over with emotions: anger, sadness, and a tiny kernel of hope. It is a quietly devastating book, [and] Eleanor is a protagonist like no other. She has a fierce passion and desire to be loved and accepted, but it is veiled beneath years of programming and a paranoia from a world determined to squash her. . . . The narrative structure of moving between then and now—within the Meadows and outside—allows [for] hints beyond this dystopian reality [to] the dangers of climate change. Oakes’ writing is incredibly captivating. Every page carries a keen sense of urgency and suspense . . . Sometimes a book just makes you ache. The Meadows is one of those books.” —The Nerd Daily

  • Pages: 448 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Imprint: Dial Books
  • ISBN: 9780593111505
Penguin Teen