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Sixteen-year-old Shanti Shah hasn't achieved menarche. She is ineligible to be a bride and her time at the school of brides, on the New New Yorke Space Station, is coming to a close. Her options are limited: return home and raise her brothers' children or become a teacher to pay back her debts to her parents and the school. With Shanti's prospects of a good marriage gone, her mentor, Ms. Striker steps in to help her out. She does this by sending Shanti on the journey from student to fully fledged headmistress, which takes her across the galaxy and beyond.