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Empress of the World
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Empress of the World (Battle Hall Davies #1)

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  8,881 ratings  ·  339 reviews
Nicola Lancaster is spending her summer at the Siegel Institute, a hothouse of smart, intense teenagers. She soon falls in with Katrina (Manic Computer Chick), Isaac (Nice-Guy-Despite-Himself), Kevin (Inarticulate Composer) . . . and Battle, a beautiful blond dancer. The two become friends--and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you're attr ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Speak (first published August 27th 2001)
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Rad
I have no idea what Nic supposedly did wrong. Hell, I over-analyze all the time! What's wrong with it? NOTHING. She was just asking a damn question, Battle! Shut your damn mouth!

Sorry. Sometimes I become somewhat of an advocate for certain book characters.
A.
As with pretty much everything I read, I found the ending to this a little unsatisfying, a little too contrived in too short a space, but the path to the ending was well worth it. Nicola, the narrator, is a sharp, funny, observant kid, even in her own confusion about her sexuality, and Battle is both a fantastic foil and a fantastic love affair for Nicola. The dynamics and the emotions in this one rang very true for me on all levels.

It pleased me to learn, just recently, that Sara Ryan has writt
...more
Mielle
Empress of the world by Sara Ryan is a very moving meaningful story that deals with very touchy subjects. Such as love, friendship, and finding yourself. This book should have more exposed due to the fact that now a days teenagers have to deal with these kind of things more and more in todays life style and society which is so open and free to whatever. This country's youth should be more educated of these things.


Empress of the world is about two young girls and how they spent there summer at Si
...more
Mike
So. This is the second review in a row in which I did not have my thoughts completely together in the beginning of my writing it. Does this mean my opinions are getting more complex? Or does it mean that I'm getting bad at reviewing?

So, anyway, this was an overall cute, fun novel. It was one of the first to paint LGBT characters in a positive light, when these kind of novels were just starting to become more normal. I thought that I would have to remind myself constantly that parts of the novel
...more
Tanya
There’s a hole in popular young adult fiction, specifically romance. I’m so tired of the typical boy girl-boy love story that is so pervasive in YA lit.

Where are the teen lgbt stories? Not the one where the hetero girl has the flamboyant, all-knowing, gay, male friend that helps her through her romantic crisis, but the one where the protagonist is experiencing their own crisis, with someone of the same sex. I’m not saying that these stories don’t exist (Will Grayson, Will Grayson / Blue is the W
...more
Jay
There's not one thing that makes this book good. It's a bunch of smaller things that I really liked that made it into a book I'd recommend.

Nicola, the main character, is a likable character and certainly relatable. She's knows she's not gay, she knows she's not straight, but she feels uncomfortable with the bisexual label. She gets bullied because of her relationship with the Battle. She has a lot of different interests and talents- theatre, music, art, a touch of science. She has friends but n
...more
Rachel
It was an enjoyable read, but it didn't have much of a plot. There really wasn't a whole lot going on in this one. It was interesting and was easy to sit and read almost cover to cover, but at the end I felt like nothing was ever accomplished.

There were a few story threads I was invested in which were just never followed up on or resolved. This was rather disappointing.
Bridgette Davis
This book was a lot better than I anticipated. The summer college program is represented well and I think would make most kids want to attend one. I also like the lack of certainty in the characters - very believable. The plot moves really quick (a little too quick for me) but at the right pace for student readers who are likely to become board.

I read this book in one night & didn't really put it down! It's a great little love story and the sequel should be good.

Nic is a girl who I definite
...more
Alicja
rating: 3/5

The plot reads basically like so many teen books/movies these days. Students at an academic summer camp spend the summer figuring out their futures and themselves. This is where Nicola meets Battle and a friendship develops that leads her to question her sexuality and her life.

Nicola is funny and witty as we enter her mind and navigate through finding her academic interests and romantic feelings for Battle. The story is short and easy to read. It is composed of an interesting mix of
...more
Caroline
A little while back, I was rummaging through Amazon to find lesbian teen novels and fell on Empress Of The World. I found the cover so beautifully poetic and evocative that I immediately bought it. The story is beautiful, the characters endearing and the story-telling wonderful! I searched for other novels written by Sara Ryan and realised that she had written a companion novel to Empress Of The World, The Rules For Hearts. This second book is different from the first and brings different themes ...more
Acquafortis
I read this book in nearly a day. It has won various prizes in young adults category and reading it I can understand why. If you are a teenage and looking for a romance suited for your age then definitely go for it.
I'm not teen aged any more but can realise the appeal that this book can have for this very delicate age group. It is simple and straight forward where everything is all or nothing.
Everything revolves around a particular event. Everything is Important. Yes there is tomorrow or the f
...more
Rachel Brown
Two high school girls have a romance while they're taking college classes at a summer camp for gifted kids. The only way this could have possibly been more up my alley would have been if "gifted" was in the "Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters" sense.

Nicola, amateur artist and aspiring archaeologist, narrates the book in first person, with occasional excerpts from her diary, also in first person but with a different typeface and no capitalization. This may sound annoying, but it's actu
...more
shana naomi
so far i like it -- i was inspired after having read Bloom to try more YA, especially if they have good queer subplots or storylines. but all i found at first were the uber-boy ones, like Rainbow High. this feels more like a smart kid South of Nowhere so far.

now that i'm done: i liked it okay -- a nice unfolding of the story and teenage angst, a lot of kids who sounded like actual people and not marketing demographics. the end was kind of abrupt and overall just ended up feeling like a "one ti
...more
Kate
My favorite book ever! (So far, that is.)
As someone who would like to eventually study sexuality & gender identity, this was one of my first literary forays into the world of queer-&-questioning youth, which interest me particularly, as I am one myself.
Ryan's writing, especially her character description & development, is so good that I immediately picked up many of protagonist Nic's mannerisms & qualities, which I can see in myself still to this day.
All in all this is a beautifu
...more
Larisa
Again, being a bit generous in giving this a 3 rather than a 2. I admit, I'm not sure if I particularly liked this book. I mean, brownie points for not having a miserable ending, but the story itself was still kind of blah, the characters were all kind of blah, and the romance felt kind of... rushed, though that's admittedly a weak complaint in a novel about teens. Even so, my distaste for sudden romance still stands, regardless if it's male/female, male/male, female/female, teenager or adult, e ...more
Robin
What can I say, I actually really liked this young adult book. This book in particular, because it's a coming of age lesbian story.
If I had even a clue about this book when I was a pre-teen I wouldn't have been so confused growing up. Well maybe, I'd still be confused but atleast I'd have something other to read than Sweet Valley High.

I wouldn't be suprised if this book turned into a movie. hmmm, now there's an idea . . . . I better get that screeplay going.
Ignacia
SO FUCKING CUTE!
A pesar de que sufrí por culpa de Battle, amé la historia.
Me gustó que a pesar de que los personajes están en plena pubertad (16 años) son bastante maduros en algunos temas, sentí que eran muy profundos en todas las conversaciones. Quizás no es realista, pero me gustó.
Es el segundo libro de temática directamente LGBT que leo. El primero fue Ash de Malinda Lo y fue entretenido de leer y toda una novedad para mí.
Creo que es interesante que hayan escritores YA que sean capaces de cr
...more
Michael
Really underdeveloped. I was left feeling angry at the narrator and the author for not telling us more, for not diving down beneath the surface and having the characters talk about anything really important (and when they do it's so short lived I can't count it), for not letting us get to know anything about Battle (THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTER SUPPOSEDLY), for writing a book without any plot or hills/mountains for the characters to conquer, for writing a "storyline" that I just couldn't BELIEVE ...more
Nicole
Empress of the World is part of the second wave of LGBTQIA+ literature, where a non-straight love story doesn't end in death or despair. If you read the 2012 edition, with the forward from David Levithan and the additional comics, I think Empress of the World becomes 4/5 stars. However, if you have an earlier addition, it is closer to 3/5 stars. Although the ending hits the perfect balance of hopefulness and reality (a la Eleanor & Park), without the three graphic novels for additional closu ...more
Allison
After finishing another young adult novel exploring the LGBT spectrum, I was looking forward to this one. I had heard about it previously and was expecting to enjoy it more than I did. I found that the writing was done well and the actual layout and idea of the book was fine and didn’t discourage me as much as the actual plot or exploration of the idea did.

Character arrives at a camp for ‘gifted’ students (a camp that, in my opinion, needed more explanation). Character falls for another girl. Ch
...more
Nick Fagerlund
YA novel about a girl named Nic who falls in love with a girl named Battle; cuteness, angst, confusion, and havoc ensue. Loved it and didn’t love it.

The characters were great, and they made the book; Nic and Battle are a really well-made pairing. But the book is a summer camp romance, and I think I hate camp. Functionally speaking, camp is far too close to “and it was all just a dream… or was it?” It’s like a little bubble universe with clearly-demarcated borders separating it from the character
...more
Nathanael Brown
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah
Review originally posted at Books Worth Remembering

I should probably start of by saying that I borrowed Empress of the World from my local library, although I had seen it in there previously. The first time I saw it was a good couple of years ago, after reading the blurb I instantly put it back – Why you may ask. Because in my younger and more vulnerable years I was an idiot. I didn’t read many ‘issue’ books, especially about sexuality because at 13, I was stupid and thought that by reading some
...more
Erica Brown-carter
I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a refreshing story about young love. Although it was pretty slow for about half or a third of the book it got good though out the rest.
The characters were interesting and the way they socialized and were presented really made them feel real. This story isn't just about a summer fling or a love story between (oh man!) two girls; it's about navigating the world towards finding your self, self identity, friendship, angst, confusion, and the longing to b
...more
Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
Know what would be really cool? If I could go back say twenty years and head out to a summer camp for gifted kids. Oh yeah, I could sign up for cool seminars on archeology, classical music theory, and other -ologies or theories. Which already makes this an uber cool book because that's exactly where it takes place.

Nicola ends up at Siegal Institute's Gifted program over the summer to explore her interest in archeology. She ends up making some friends while there, a pretty cool geeky group actual
...more
Jill
A solid first novel about young (queer) love with a minimum of angst.

Empress of the World is a fairly short book about teenagers at a summer institute for the gifted. I liked the lack of angst the teens showed about most stuff - it was there, but minimized - the interplay of one character trying to "figure out" the other one, and the setting. It was realistic without being boring.

I wasn't sure why the characters had to be super gifted. They didn't seem particularly smarter or more precocious tha
...more
Gee
Okay. so this is my first LGBT book that i have read, after buying it under many reccomendations. However, i must say i am really dissapointed. I gave this book two stars, only because of the fact that i actually felt sorry for Nic. I liked the progression up to the relationship, but was really let down by what happened next, and how the story between them just....ended. there was no obvious plotline to me, other than coming to terms with falling for someone unexpected. definaltley would not rec ...more
Justin
A pretty good story but it could use a little more build-up before major events. it's not that it is rushed though, more like the big moments of the book are just anticlimactic. that includes the ending. Also a bit more character development would be nice, after finishing it I still don't know what the fight was about and what nic did wrong. There is enough to know it is a touchy subject with battle and also that there is a lot of emotion involved when it comes to that subject but none of it was ...more
Nora
I had wanted to read this book for so long, for its good reviews. So it was surprising to me that when I started reading this book, I found myself skipping paragraphs, the book has too many unnecessary details. And it wasn't until i was 30% in the book, that the romance between Battle and Nic started.

The characters weren't interesting, part of why I found it so hard to keep reading, they seemed unrealistic to me, so I couldn't get lost in the story. Maybe it was due to Sara Ryan's style of writ
...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
this is good. I really like how it's kind of an ordinary book about queer relationships.. the main character doesn't really identify as a lesbian, rather that she is bisexual, queer or questioning. I like that it's all fluid and about growing up and finding your way in relationships.

the characters didn't really come to life for me but i thought it was a really good smart teen book that covers important stuff.

also wanted to add that it has some good extras - illustrated stories at the end, a nice
...more
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I write books and comics for teens and others. Reviews and star ratings make me anxious, but I'm reporting what I read here. I also have a couple of tumblrs: ryansara and badhousescomic.
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