LONGLISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019
Shortlisted for the National Book Award, Books Are My Bag Readers' Awards and the YA Book Prize
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.
May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.
But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?
Sally Nicholls grew up in Stockton-on-Tees, and after school, travelled the world, working for a period at a Red Cross hospital in Japan. Sally's first novel, Ways to Live Forever, won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and she has been shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Costa Children's Book Award. She lives in Oxford.
Nicholls has brought alive the young women of the past to empower the next generation
The Times, Children's Book of the Week
Each voice is distinct, resonant and authentic… uniquely special
Romantic and inspiring
Sunday Times, Best Books of 2017
[A] chocolate box of a novel … books such as this are all the more to be prized
A perfect balm to a frustrating world
Timely, informative and hugely enjoyable… the book excels at what fiction is best at: inviting empathy and understanding for others
Things A Bright Girl Can Do is relevant for every generation
A richly textured novel
Observer, Best books of 2017
Fantastic. Conveys all the intricacies of the political and social situation in a way that’s vivid, hard-hitting, funny and emotionally compelling. It feels like we’re living it, rather than just learning about it.
Hurrah for Sally! This is a lovely and engrossing novel about three girls caught up in the Suffragette movement and WW1. It’s Sarah Waters for teens, pitch-perfect, historically accurate, very romantic and a jolly good read.
Tough, unsentimental and well realised
New Statesman, Best Books of 2017
An incredible read for any young person, that teaches the importance of equality
A fascinating and emotive read for any budding feminist
A captivating YA novel… Things a Bright Girl Can Do explores sexual identity, the grim realities of poverty and war and the fraught nature of first love. Its appeal will reach readers of any age.
Young women readers will be caught between admiration for the courage of their predecessors, and a growing disappointment that more has not changed in the intervening century
Big Issue, Kids' Books of 2017
I adored this bright, sparky book with its strong characters and knockout plot… Nicholls deftly handles a wide range of topics – empowerment of women, poverty, sexuality – in this warm, wise novel
Irish Times, Best Books of 2017
Nicholls explores difficult questions about poverty, empowerment, sexuality, pacifism and war with wise sensitivity. An excellent read.
A sheer delight… Nicholls ensures that every voice is authentic and credible, every experience real and immediate.
An inspiring novel for older readers from acclaimed author Sally Nicholls
A very realistic portrayal of the struggles faced by women during the early 1900s
UK Vote 100
Offering a historical snapshot of a society in turmoil, this comprehensive coming-of-age novel is a thought-provoking and highly engaging story of love, life and hope
Popular and inspirational… a riveting read on the build up to World War I and its consequences on ordinary people
Sunday Independent (Dublin)
The politics of the time are skilfully woven into the personal stories of Evelyn, May and Nell, touching feminist, LGBT and social issues… This inspirational novel is very welcome.
This novel is the perfect tribute to the incredible women who blazed a trail during the early twentieth century, and its inspirational scope and storytelling excellence cannot be praised enough.
The message to be drawn from this marvellous historical novel is that history is about everyone… A compelling and moving narrative. Compulsory reading.
Children's Books Ireland, Bold Girls Reading Guide
A saga of rallies, marches, sacrifices, hunger strikes and love, told authentically
Best New Children's Books Guide, produced by the Publishers' Association and published in the Guardian 2018
Beautifully written and totally gripping… For budding feminists aged 12+
Angels and Urchins
An insightful and honest portrayal of young women growing up amongst the Suffragette movement and the Great War
Askews & Holts Library Services
Will provide insight into an overlooked aspect of social history
The School Librarian
This book is a powerful tribute to women who changed the world, and whose courage and sacrifice we should never take for granted. It’s important, humane and even funny. Read it and be grateful. And then vote.
The Alligator's Mouth
Things A Bright Girl Can Do is both moving and inspiring, capturing the essence of who the Suffragettes were perfectly.
Things A Bright Girl Can Do doesn’t sugarcoat the process of becoming politically active, but it does render it as an absolutely vital experience.
Do You Ever Stop to Think blog
Things A Bright Girl Can Do is the perfect introduction for teens looking to learn more about either the history of the feminist movement
The historical scholarship and period detail are exemplary.
Books For Keeps
One of the best and most important books I have read this year… Things a Bright Girl Can Do shows us that change is possible and achievable.
Delightful Book Reviews blog
Nicholls has researched and recreated the era impeccably and despite the heaviness of the subject matter there is deftness and humour in the characters.
Historical Novel Society