Hello, February — and hello, new FYA Book Club selection! Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn is an immersive fantasy about a girl who disguises herself as her brother in order to become the greatest tailor in a very patriarchal society.

Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)

P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!

Icebreaker

If you could have one enchanted item to help you better perform any task, what would it be? (Remember that it wouldn’t actually perform the task for you, but you’d just be really good at it.)

Questions

1. Maia is initially hesitant to use her enchanted scissors, insistent that she succeed (or fail) on her own merits alone. Would you have done the same?

2. Elizabeth Lim spins (hey-o!) a world based on a diverse mix of influences, including Chinese folklore and European fairy tales. Which aspect of the world struck you as the most unique or the most interesting?

3. Thanks to Maia’s prowess with the needle (and those scissors), the book is filled with detailed descriptions of the beautiful garments she creates. Did Lim paint a vivid picture of the fashion for you, and did you enjoy the Project Runway aspect of the story?

4. Were you surprised by the truth about Edan’s nature? Did these reveals change how you thought about Edan and/or his relationship with Maia?

5. In spite of his status as an Enchanter and his bondage to the Emperor, Edan finds himself falling in love with Maia. Did you find her as compelling as Edan did? Why or why not?

6. Were you fooled by Emperor Khanujin’s magical charisma? Either way, what made him so convincing or not convincing?

7. Raised as her brothers’ equal, Lady Sarnai was still nevertheless confined to the same expectations as Maia, that “a girl isn’t fit to be anything more than a prize”. Did you find Lady Sarnai to be sympathetic, or were her actions and behaviour unreasonable?

8. Will you read the sequel, Unravel the Dusk (already available)? If you haven’t read it, what do you hope will happen, and what do you predict will happen?

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.