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The Restless Girls

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  806 ratings  ·  153 reviews
For the twelve daughters of King Alberto, Queen Laurelia's death is a disaster beyond losing a mother. The king decides his daughters must be kept safe at all costs, and for the girls, those costs include their lessons, their possessions, and most importantly, their freedom.

But the sisters, especially the eldest, Princess Frida, will not bend to this fate. She still has o
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Bloomsbury Children's Books (first published September 27th 2018)
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Rikki Hill I don't have an answer to this question but I want to know the answer! I feel like I read somewhere that it was 8+ but I definitely could have been im…moreI don't have an answer to this question but I want to know the answer! I feel like I read somewhere that it was 8+ but I definitely could have been imagining it!(less)

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we stan a feminist fairytale retelling in which the princesses aren't white and need no man to rescue them!!!

i think the idea for this book is so so fantastic, and could be so meaningful for so many children. which is why it sucks that this doesn't read much like middle grade at all. it's pretty dry, and wordy, and overall nothing much about it screams A Kid Would Read This to me.

plus, this isn't so much a tale of the strength/courage/wiseness of a group of girls, but of one girl, while the oth
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
"It was best to accept a mystery and not pull its wings off, like a brute might to a butterfly."

If more authors listened to wrote their books with that wisdom in mind, I wouldn't forget the plot of every second book that I read in a matter of days. Honestly, make me wonder, make me guess, don't give me a riddle and serve its answer to me on a silver platter. I hate not having all the answer, but I hate having them even more.

Let's talk about this book though. It's no secret that I'm a sucker for
Dannii Elle
"it was best to accept a mystery and not pull its wings off, like a brute might to a butterfly." ...more
Christine Spoors
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
I absolutely adored this feminist retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, it’s beautifully illustrated by Angela Barrett and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I adored Burton’s writing and would recommend this book to readers of all ages!
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-won
Going to make this short and sweet.

If you are a fan of Jessie Burton’s books then this is just another one to love. If she is a new author to you and you love fairytales and beautiful imagery then you will also love this!

Even though some parts had really quick resolution, I again found Burtons writing to be exquisite! She has a way with words that is just magical and I had a big feeling going into a fairytale with her talent would be wonderful!

I’ll read anything she writes! You can buy The Re
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
These princesses don't want to be rescued and marry the handsome prince. These princesses want to be pilots, botanists, astronomers, writers, singers, vets... They want to travel and experience everything and live life at its fullest.

This was an excellent retelling of the twelve dancing princesses tale, made even more awesome by the beautiful prose of Jessie Burton (she of The Miniaturist awesomeness) and the stunning drawings of Angela Barrett. Totally recommendable to everyone, I'll definitel
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"It can fill your day with sunshine or with storm. It will; conjure worlds from nowhere and make them real. It will open doors you didn't even know existed; it will show you secrets that are yours alone. And the strange thing about imagination is that it can fly absolutely anywhere, even when your body stays in one place. I've seen it happen."

I'm a huge fan of Jessie Burton's other works. The Miniaturist, her debut, is one of my favourite books of all time and The Muse, her second book, was su
A beautiful new spin on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, complete with a lioness. An enchanting quick read, with beautiful illustrations.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
What a magical and fun read!
Illustrated by Angela Barrett.

One of the most exquisite books I've read this year so far. A reworking of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this version asks the right sort of questions the tale evokes...why were the princesses locked up in the first place? How did they feel about their father promising them to a strange man who was prepared to spy on them?
Jessie Burton's prose is partnered with Angela Barrett who produces these glowing illustrations to accompany the text. A gloriously gorgeous boo
Katie {awonderfulbook}
This was delightful. I actually listened to it through my library's eborrowing app and was captivated by the story, but I decided not to review it until I'd seen a physical copy, because I wanted to see the illustrations, and then I ended up buying a copy to keep. I was probably going to buy it anyway, based on the story, but the illustrations are so bright and dreamy, and the book is so beautifully produced, that it's just a lovely thing to have.

There are a few things I love about this book. On
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful book for young girls of today. It's a subtle girl power novel about an overprotective father who instead of being seen as evil is described as lost. Twelve fierce sisters with their unique personalities must find a way to uproot their father as King if they wish to have the freedom they deserve. It's an empowering novel as the girls do come across setbacks and obstacles, people who dislike them or disapprove of their behaviour. Their problems are realistic and modern and yet the ...more
Miss Morningstar
I really adore Jessie Burton's adult novels but this feminist (?) fairytale retelling is sh*t to me. Considering that this novel should adress younger readers, it was written the wrong way. There were some long and boring descriptions and all characters stay pale. We barely get to know the twelve sister's names and that they all admire the oldest one. Most irritating was that the king was grieving for his wife whom he seemed to love but he didn't have the slightest connection to his daughter. An ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This was a lovely jewel of a book. I am always down for fairytale retellings-- especially feminist ones-- and this one is so well executed. The story is engaging and lush, and the narration is wise and lovely and never talks down to the readers. I sincerely hope Jessie Burton will do this again.
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great YA read, but fun for grown-ups, too. I liked the element added by the artwork and the 1920s time period. A completely unsubtle lesson on why girls shouldn’t be underestimated or stymied. Once the (stupid, male) haters get out of the way, they can do anything. (Just summarizing the author’s central theme—not expressing a personal opinion.)
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully magical, it gave me the leap of the heart and that hope that stories gave me as a child. This is absolutely a story I would have adored in childhood, and although the 'twist' was predictable to me now, would definitely have shocked and entranced me when I was little. The illustrations are gorgeous and the writing was as you'd expect a children's book to be, but with the added charm and whimsy of classic fairytales ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a modern retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm. It retains all the whimsical elements of a classic children’s fairy tale (cue the secret doorway, talking animals, and forests of silver and gold) with feminist threads woven throughout. The princesses all have unique interests and skills in art, mathematics, science and politics. That is, until such interests are forbidden by the king who fears for the safety of his delicate daughters and locks them away in a roy ...more
Lois (thecarrotstories)
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“He is not bad, he is just lost”

I absolutely love this children’s book !! Not only does it have elements of empowering women but it also encourages us to not allow others to dampen our dreams.

Being ensnared by his grief for his late wife, the king of Kalia takes away everything that his 12 princesses love to do. They were only allowed to sit, sleep, eat simple and think of marrying someone who could take care of them. However, they have a secret that allows them to escape from reality. But that
Delightful, albeit a bit predictable. I would have loved to see a lot more scenes from the story illustrated throughout the book.

Have you ever tried getting into someone else’s imagination? It’s practically impossible. Our inability to do so has caused headache and heartache since time began. Even your own imagination can be a slippery thing – you can’t see it, you can’t hold it, but you can certainly feel it. It can fill your day with sunshine or with storm. It will conjure worlds from nowhere
Rachael (pagesofpiper)
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a perfect fairy-tale story of twelve princesses who all have unique interests and are free to explore those interests. Their beloved mother suddenly dies in a racing car accident and their father, the King, suffering in grief locks the girls away. Using their intelligence the girls find a way to enjoy life as they hope for freedom. I really enjoyed this feminist retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and will be seeking out the original. This is a story I would have read again and a ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
I'm ALWAYS a you-know-what for 12 Dancing Princesses re-writes, and this one was lovely! Shades of Milne's The Princess Who Could Not Laugh and the original tale mixed in with ethnic princesses with voices AND gorgeous illustrations. Only critisism is at times the writing style felt torn between 'once upon a time' and 'i really wanted to make a modern joke here' and the pacing felt more right for a teen than a younger reader. All in all a really enjoyable tale. ...more
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book reminds me of other children’s stories like Narnia and Coraline where a magical adventure is just behind another door. I love that the girls are smart and would fight for their rights, which reminds me of Princess Mia from The Princess Diaries. The illustrations accompanying this story is just lovely. I adore Angela Barrett’s style. However, I do find the font used slightly unreadable.

Also, thank you Bloomsbury for sending me this AGES ago! I finally got round to reading it...
Pam Tickner
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember the original story of the 12 Dancing Princesses, but this was a lavish retelling of the fairy story. The language was beautifully descriptive and beautifully read by Thandie Newton. An indulgent way to pass a couple of hours. ...more
Jessica Kormos
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-read
Wonderful and beautiful retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", which has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. Gorgeous and inspiring. I wish I had this version of this fairy tale when I was younger! ...more
Issy Williams
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book starts off quite steadily but builds up to a big plot twist; definitely worth a read. A great book as well for messages about female empowerment, not just about princesses being rescued by princes.
MaryBrigid Turner
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is something truly magical about this retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. A most welcome edition to the wonderful modern retelling of fairy tales.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, sublime writing. Feminist re-telling. Magical.
Meg Chia (bibliophilogy)
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
review to come!
Beautifully written and illustrated re-telling of the fairy-tale 'The twelve dancing princesses'. Highly recommended! ...more
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Jessie Burton studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama, where she appeared in productions of The House of Bernarda Alba, Othello, Play and Macbeth. In April 2013 her first novel, The Miniaturist, was sold at an 11-publisher auction at the London Book Fair, and went on to sell in 29 other countries around the world. It was published by Picador in the UK and Holland in ...more

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