The deep & dark blue / Niki Smith.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will. As the twins learn more about the Communion, and themselves, they begin to hatch a plan to avenge their family and retake their royal home. While Hawke wants to return to his old life, Grayce struggles to keep the threads of her new life from unraveling, and realizes she wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to finally live as a girl."--Provided by publisher.
    • Other Titles:
      Deep and dark blue.
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
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Booklist Reviews 2019 November #2

Twins Hawke and Grayson have been groomed to be noblemen since they were born, but when a coup led by a distant cousin threatens their very lives, the two think fast and go into hiding, disguising themselves as girls and joining the Communion of Blue, a temple and school for your priestesses. While Hawke yearns for revenge, Grayson embraces the change, eventually coming out as trans while finding ways to build a more suitable life for herself, perhaps a life filled with the contemplative art found in the Communion. Throughout the book, the twins' disguises are treated with respect and Grayson's growth in particular is sensitively treated. Smith offers action, intrigue, and magic along with a pair of dynamic characters who handle their circumstances in compellingly different ways, which should hold appeal for a wide range of readers. Smith's artwork, recalling classic manga, delivers clearly choreographed action and intense facial expressions, which capably communicate poignant emotion during the many bittersweet scenes. A rich tapestry of a story, with action and character development in equal measure. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2019 October #4

With capable worldbuilding and a positive look at transgender identity, Smith's debut middle grade novel is likely to win over young fans of queer fantasy. Twins Hawke and Grayson are the grandchildren of the patriarch of House Sunderlay, a kingdom in a vaguely medieval world with a weaving-based origin story. Central to society is the Communion of Blue, a magical all-female monastic order. When one of the Sunderlay cousins stages a coup and captures the rightful heir to the throne, cousin Reyden, the twins flee for their lives. They find the perfect cover in the Communion as young initiates, where they go by "Hanna" and "Grayce." Respectively, they study weaponless self-defense, guardianship, and how to spin the sacred blue "threads of the world," while pondering justice and a return home. In doing so, their paths diverge: Hawke heeds a call to leadership, while Grayce discovers "This isn't a disguise... It's who I am." Smith's anime-inspired illustrations are smooth and beautifully costumed, with an open, cartoon expressiveness. If her universe doesn't feel entirely original, it is nonetheless carefully considered, and young readers will enjoy inhabiting it. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Charlie Olsen, InkWell Management. (Jan.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.