As I Descended

“This adaptation’s bewitching intrigues and enthralling deceptions will whet the daggers of any reader’s mind.” – Kirkus Reviews

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

As I Descended was released in September 2016 by Harper Teen.

Praise for As I Descended

“This adaptation’s bewitching intrigues and enthralling deceptions will whet the daggers of any reader’s mind.” – Kirkus (starred review)

“Talley substitutes a Ouija board for witches, and an elite Virginia boarding school with antiquated wiring and restless spirits for a gloomy castle. But the lesson is pretty much the same: Once you take that moral plunge, the water gets only murkier or, to be precise, bloodier.” – Chicago Tribune

“Talley’s novel is ambitious but successfully so. The work address racism, classism, and homophobia, all couched in a horror retelling of Macbeth. … A highly recommended, absorbing read with wide appeal.” – School Library Journal

“As Talley adeptly weaves elements of horror into the narrative, she creates an ominous yet comfortable boarding school environment that lulls readers into a false sense of security while setting them up for the next chilling event.” – Publishers Weekly

“An intriguing, appropriately atmospheric take on one of Shakespeare’s most spine-tingling plays.” – Booklist

“With a cast that’s dark, ambitious, and totally unreliable; a plot that’s twisted up and turned on its head; and a curse so macabre as to make the walls bleed, Talley’s re-imagining of The Scottish Play would probably have killed off Macbeth himself in act one.” – E.K. Johnston, author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear

  • A Junior Library Guild selection
  • Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2017 Edition
  • A Kirkus Prize 2016 Nominee, Young Readers
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee, Young Adult Library Services Association
  • Nominated for the 2018 American Library Association Rainbow List