Margin Notes



Olivia Prior was born voiceless. Left as a young child on the steps of Merilance, a school for girls, with only a mysterious journal to serve as a link to her life before, Olivia struggles to find connection and kindness within the stone walls. Her mother’s confusing words blend with abstract illustrations that decorate multiple pages in the green journal, fragments of home and belonging that barely sustain Olivia’s miserable and loveless existence at Merilance. After an invitation arrives from a relative, Olivia becomes entangled in the mysteries of Gallant and the strange role its inhabitants play as guardians of a door in the garden wall. As she struggles to find her place, Olivia’s sense of home deepens and she finds the courage and defiance to fight Gallant’s strange darkness beyond the wall, willing to do anything to protect those she has come to know as family.

V.E. Schwab’s Gallant is about love and belonging and a silent search for one’s place in the delicate space that exists between childhood and adulthood. It is a quiet book filled with quiet dead things and a non-verbal protagonist who finds family where she least expects it. Gallant’s slow pace makes it a great book for readers who want to take their time and enjoy every word. Gallant is for students who want to be heard, for those seeking identity and connection, and for those who don’t mind dead things that lurk in dark corners. It is for explorers of ghoulish places, for teens who love beautiful prose, and for anyone courageous enough to show quiet resistance within the shadowy places beyond.

Content warning: re-living the tragic loss of parents, brief mention of self-harm and suicide

Cristina Furey is a UNB student who loves sharing words and stories with people of all ages. She believes there is no better feeling than recommending good books to the readers who need them most and always hopes the magic of storytelling will capture attention and foster the joy of reading in all hearts and minds.

Leave a Reply