This verse novel will slice you up. Visceral, raw, and unique, this is the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the first professional woman painters (active in the 16th century) and one of the first women in documented history to bring her sexual assailant to court and WIN. A book about the process of art, healing from trauma, and growing up in a world that unrelentingly asserts that you're not good enough, even as it uses you up.
“Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the greatest painters of her generation, but she also lived in 17th-century Italy, where women had no power and little recourse when wronged. When one of her father's friends assaults her, Artemisia must decide whether to keep the secret or force him to face justice, no matter the cost she'll have to pay. Written in gorgeous verse, this book is heartbreaking, brilliant, and tragically relevant today. Read this book even if you don't care about art history. Read this book even if you don't usually like verse novels or historical fiction. Just read this book. It will haunt you.”
— Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, The Red Balloon Bookshop, Saint Paul, MN
"When I finished this novel, I knew I would be haunted and empowered by Artemisia Gentileschi's story for the rest of my life."--Amanda Lovelace, bestselling author of the princess saves herself in this one Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint. She chose paint. By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost. He will not consume my every thought. I am a painter. I will paint. Joy McCullough's bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia's heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia's most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman's timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence. I will show you what a woman can do. ★"A captivating and impressive debut about a timeless heroine." --Booklist, starred review ★"Belongs on every YA shelf."--SLJ, starred review.
About the Author
Joy McCullough writes books and plays from her home in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband and two children. She studied theater at Northwestern University, fell in love with her husband atop a Guatemalan volcano, and now spends her days surrounded by books and kids and chocolate. Blood Water Paint is her debut novel. www.joymccullough.com@jmcwrites