"There are no limits to the will--and the strength--of this unique female hero." -- Tamora Pierce, writer of the Song of the Lioness and the Protector of the Small quartets
One for All is a gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers , in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.
Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but "a sick girl." But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father--a former Musketeer and her greatest champion. Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L'Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It's a secret training ground for new Musketeers: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don't shy away from a sword fight.
With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels that she has a purpose, that she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He's kind, charming--and might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to decide where her loyalties lie...or risk losing everything she's ever wanted.
Lillie Lainoff's debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love. Includes an author's note about her personal experience with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
"TITLE: Inclusion for AllDEK: Lainoff's dazzling debut reconceives The Three Musketeers to center a heroine and her disabilityTania de Batz grew up in seventeenth-century France knowing that her parents wanted to see her married off, but everyone in her town of Lupiac believes that her chronic spells of dizziness--a symptom of what we now called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)--make her weak and unlikely to marry. While Maman worried about Tania's long-term future, her beloved Papa, a former Musketeer, raised her to love fencing, and Tania would much rather follow in his footsteps. After Papa is mysteriously murdered, however, Tania's hope for her future is dashed, as her father's dying wish is that she attend L'Académie des Mariées, a finishing school that will train her to find a suitable marriage.Bent on uncovering and avenging Papa's murder, Tania agrees to attend L'Académie. After arriving, though, she realizes that the school is in fact a secret academy where Tania will train along with three other women to join the ranks of a new kind of Musketeer that is part spy and "fights for France with her wit and charm as well as her sword." Her three compatriots, Aria, Portia, and Théa, become a chosen family, and the relationships among the group deepen over the course of the novel as they all navigate the challenges of being Mademoiselles la Mousquetaire.Among the book's many strengths is its character development; each character is an individual with their own charms, quirks, and flaws. We have Maman, who only wants to protect Tania, even if it means underestimating her abilities; Papa, whose honest strength and loyalty inspires Tania to persevere; Madame de Treville, who runs L'Académie on determination and lost dreams of her own; Théa, who can't keep her unfiltered but loving thoughts contained; Aria, cold and reserved but with a huge heart; and Portia, whose hilarity and confidence keep the four Musketeers knitted together. When Tania begins to have romantic feelings for one of the targets of her investigation, Étienne, it's her other relationships that keep her grounded and able to focus on figuring out who murdered her Papa.Lainoff's debut is a rare treat, telling an honest story about a disabled protagonist in a historical setting without infantilizing the character or glossing over her experience. Tania herself is a complexly woven character whose emotional arc forms the cornerstone of the novel. As much as it's her keen sword skills that transport the reader to L'Académie, it is her authenticity that shines brightest. Tania is allowed to be both strong and scared, both grieving deeply and honoring Papa's memory with her actions. Simultaneously, her disability, POTS, is centered in such a way that, through her journey, she is able to move beyond her own internalized ableism, growing in the confidence that she can be exactly who she wants to be. The first-person descriptions of her POTS experience are painted with details that make her experience feel authentic, such as the frustration over her body's ability to function one day but not the next or the physical challenge of working as a Musketeer with chronic illness. Her disability is part of who she is, and with that comes moments of self-doubt as Tania faces an inaccessible world that doesn't always make space for disabled girls and women. At L'Académie, she finally finds a place where she can be herself. Madame de Treville and the Musketeers accommodate Tania by making the academy physically accessible and by understanding her body's limits. They honor her by letting her take agency of her own abilities.One for All is an unforgettable mystery and dashing story woven from threads of chosen family and sisterhood along with bravery, loyalty, and heart. A sprinkling of romance adds to the tale and shows Tania being loved and accepted for her full self. Reading as a person with dysautonomia, it was an incredibly powerful experience for this reviewer to see how Tania's newfound community sees the whole of who she is, which means recognizing the complexity of her disabled identity, as well. (An afterword offers more information about POTS and the author's own experience with it.) So many historical-fiction narratives imagine a world where marginalized people either don't exist or lead awful lives, but Lainoff has painted a world that knows marginalized people lived, loved, and thrived throughout history, all while staying faithful to the time period. Readers will not want to put it down."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Sixteen-year-old Tania de Batz has always longed to emulate her dazzling Papa, an ex-musketeer who once served the king of France. Though he's taught her to fence, chronic illness involving frequent bouts of dizziness leaves her feeling "broken." After her Papa is murdered, his final wish sends her to L'Académie des Mariées, an exclusive finishing school that purports to help young women secure husbands. Tania's sense of betrayal soon gives way to joy when she learns that the Académie is in fact a school for young women trained to seduce and sword fight for their country, creating a new, subtler kind of Musketeer. Her first assignment is charming and handsome, potentially bound up in smuggling--and, she learns, may know what truly befell her father. Though occasionally thin descriptions weaken the novel's 17th-century France setting, Lainoff's debut features an engagingly determined protagonist navigating competing loyalties. A hurried romance undercuts the presence of strong female connections, including a queer secondary relationship, among the largely white cast. An author's note discusses the author's experience with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Ages 12--up. Agent: Jennifer Wills, Seymour Agency. (Mar.)"
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