by Scarlett Thomas
It’s already the second week of term when Natasha, the daughter of a Russian oligarch, arrives at a vast English country house for her first day of boarding school. She soon discovers that the headmaster gives special treatment to the skinniest girls, and Natasha finds herself thrown into the school’s unfamiliar, moneyed world of fierce pecking orders, eating disorders, and Instagram angst. When her friend Bianca mysteriously vanishes, the world of the school gets ever darker and stranger.
The halls echo with the story of Princess Augusta, the White Lady whose portraits―featuring a hypnotizing black diamond―hang everywhere. She fell in love with a commoner and drowned herself in the lake, and her ghost is said to haunt the dorms. But the girls don’t really know anything about the woman she was, much less anything about each other.
Hilariously dark, Oligarchy is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the digital age. Scarlett Thomas captures the lives of privileged teenage girls seeking to be loved and accepted in all their triviality and magnitude. With the help of her diet-obsessed classmates, Tash must try to stay alive―and sane―while she uncovers what’s really going on.