Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex's beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn't know. It's taboo to speak of.
Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden.
In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small--their lives and their prospects--and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve.
"Completely fierce, unmistakably feminist, and subversively funny, When Women Were Dragons brings the heat to misogyny with glorious imagination and talon-sharp prose. Check the skies tonight--you might just see your mother." -- Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry
"A complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities. This novel's magic goes far beyond the dragons." -- Kirkus (starred review)
"A deeply felt exploration of feminism in an alternate fantastical history...This allegory packs a punch." -- Publishers Weekly