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  • Published: 26 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781529195699
  • Imprint: Del Rey
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $32.99

A Study in Drowning

From Sunday Times bestselling author, Ava Reid's YA dark academic fantasy is The Hazel Wood meets A Deadly Education.


'A love letter to stories - and to everyone silenced or forgotten in their retelling.' Allison Saft, author of A Far Wilder Magic.

Effy has always believed in fairy tales. She's had no choice. Since childhood, she's been haunted by visions of the Fairy King. She's found solace only in the pages of Angharad - a beloved epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, and then destroys him.

Effy's tattered copy is all that's keeping her afloat through her stifling first term at her prestigious architecture college. So when the late author's family announces a contest to design his house, Effy feels certain this is her destiny.

But Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task: a musty, decrepit estate on the brink of crumbling into a hungry sea. And when Effy arrives, she finds she isn't the only one who's made a temporary home there. Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar, is studying Myrddin's papers and is determined to prove her favourite author is a fraud.

As the two rival students investigate the reclusive author's legacy, piecing together clues through his letters, books, and diaries, they discover that the house's foundation isn't the only thing that can't be trusted. There are dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspiring against them - and the truth may bring them both to ruin.

A Study in Drowning - New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, w/e 1st October 2023.

  • Published: 26 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781529195699
  • Imprint: Del Rey
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Ava Reid

Ava Reid was born in Manhattan and raised right across the Hudson River in Hoboken, but currently lives in Palo Alto, where the weather is too sunny and the people are too friendly. She has a degree in political science from Barnard College, focusing on religion and ethnonationalism.

Also by Ava Reid

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Praise for A Study in Drowning

A love letter to stories - and to everyone silenced or forgotten in their retelling.

Allison Saft

As merciless as a rising tide and as beguiling as a fairy's bargain.

Melissa Albert

A spell-binding mix of magic, myth, and mystery.

Rory Power

A lyrical examination of stories told, cherished myths, and an unravelling of truths held dear. Darkly romantic and unsettlingly eerie.

Erin A. Craig

Lyrical, incisive, and tragically beautiful, this book will haunt your dreams. Reid delivers in every way - from the atmospheric house by the sea to the achingly hopeful romance to the examination of power, gender, and control, A Study in Drowning ruins and rebuilds you.

Vaishnavi Patel

Full of myth and superstition, and heavy rains that fall upon crumbling old houses. A rewarding, romatic read, with much to chew on.

Kendare Blake

A wonderfully written, tense and moving novel that offers its audience an endlessly readable mix of historical fiction, gothic mystery and fantasy romance that will draw you in again and again.


Reid wields lyricism, dark academia, and fairy-core elements to eloquently imbue the narrative with originality and depth that ferries themes surrounding grief, gender, and the value of folklore.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A dark and gripping feminist tale.

Kirkus Reviews

One of those books that makes you remember why we read in the first place. A Study in Drowning takes dark academia to magical new heights. Reid is a singular, extraordinary talent

Sasha Peyton Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch Hunt

In A Study in Drowning, Reid questions the idea of stories, who writes them, and who they are for. Between heart-wrenching discoveries, lush worldbuilding, and prose as beautiful and cruel as the sea, she delivers an answer I won’t soon forget. I could read this book again and again - absolute perfection.

Courtney Gould, author of The Dead and the Dark

Both haunting and tender. Set amongst crumbling cliffsides and a raging sea, this atmospheric story will settle in your bones. Romantic, beautifully written, and powerful.

Rachel Griffin, New York Times bestselling author of The Nature of Witches

Lyrical, moving, and sensitive, A Study in Drowning is a magically romantic tale, filled with writing that will sweep you into a whimsical and gothic world. I’ll recommend this beautiful and thoughtful book over and over again.

Isabel Ibañez, author of Together We Burn

Incandescent, tender, and fierce. A Study in Drowning is a deftly woven mystery, brimming with lyrical writing and compelling characters who will steal your heart. This is a story that lingers, long after the last word.

Rebecca Ross, bestselling author of Divine Rivals

A Study in Drowning is everything: a dark fairytale, a tender romance, a haunting historical mystery, and a quietly furious tribute to the people whose stories have been stolen from them. I absolutely loved it.

Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author of Once and Future Witches

A Study in Drowning is a stunning book in every way. From one phenomenal book to another, Ava Reid is an author I am obsessed with . . . A masterclass in pacing, characterisation and tension, with a beautiful meditation on stories and who gets to have an authorial voice.

The Nerd Daily