Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls | A must-read YA, introducing the suffragette movement to the younger generation

«’It isn’t just about me,’ she said. ‘It’s about us all! All women! How can women live like this? How can women like Mother just go on – not caring?’»

You know how sometimes we read this, seemingly an amazing, book. It covers so many meaningful subjects; has great characters and plot, but for some reasons you are just not feeling it. I’m not sure if that happened to you before, but it certainly is a rare occurance for me and makes my “blogging” life so much more complicated!

I will try to dissect my feelings as thoroughly as possible and maybe we can actually find a reason behind my “low enjoyment level” for this novel.

33876596Through 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?

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«Things a Bright Girl Can Do» is a brilliantly written novel, telling a story of:

  • Evelyn, who lives in the upper class of the social ladder and defies the settled role of women in her society;
  • May, whose home environment and political views were influenced by a liberal Quaker mother; and
  • Nell, a young suffragette from a poor, struggling family, who has some big fears of her own that she will need to overcome.

All of these characters were very well-constructed and presenting a different perspective on the single suffragette movement in Great Britain before, during and after the First World War. Each of them had complex views on what the Suffrage meant to them, each of them had their own way of fighting for it.

Honestly, it was one of the most educational and inspiring historical fiction I’ve ever read!


I just couldn’t make myself care enough about the characters or completely immerse myself into the story. The only character I absolutely loved was Teddy before the war. His wittiness and humour added an incredible pinch of spice in Evelyn’s story. It was an absolute delight to read about their interactions!

Also, it was the first time I read a book with elements of LGBT. And once again, I just couldn’t relate to these characters, no matter how well-written and complex they were or how interesting their story was during the harsh period of world war.

As I was reading «Things a Bright Girl Can Do» all I kept thinking about was:

«This is an amazing book! So Why am I not enjoying it?!»

I was trying to pinpoint anything that didn’t work for me or just any flaws I could find. And there was none.

My rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5

Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for the ARC of this book. As always, it in no way affected my opinion or influenced my review.

Since I couldn’t exactly locate the reason behind my detachment from the characters and the story, and only have very positive things to say about it, I decided to go with a 4 star rating.

The book has a wide array of genres – from YA Historical Fiction to LGBT, with slight romance and a great portrayal of struggles and fears during the First World War, and will appeal to a great variety of audience.

Let me know if you read this book or are maybe interested in picking it up? Does the blurb appeal to you?

With love,



3 thoughts on “Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls | A must-read YA, introducing the suffragette movement to the younger generation

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t like this!! I love reading about the suffragette movement, so I have been curious about this one. I think characterization is so, so important, *especially* in an HF book. In fantasy, for example, you have worldbuilding and an exciting plot to help the book along, but HF doesn’t always have that.
    Awesome review!!

    Liked by 1 person

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