YA and Creepy Crawlies: Thoughts and Reviews

I am typing this on my shiny, new 17″ Toshiba laptop. Guys. The screen is SO BIG. It is just massive. I love it. I can just type and type and type for miles.

It continues to be very bright outside, though this week the weather had a nice lapse into winter. Weather, you are drunk. Go home. There was snow on the ground Wednesday morning. What is even happening? But it promises to be nice today, though I am cowering inside. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and am doing my best to rest so I will be well enough to attend Easter dinner tomorrow. FAMILY THINGS. They are important. Though I may have to venture outside for sustenance. I am running out of food.

The upside to all this cowering has been that I’ve had plenty of time to read. This morning I finished Libba Bray’s epic and magnificent novel The Diviners, having done so after finishing Maureen Johnson’s The Madness Underneath. I took both books out of the library, MJ”s because I’ve been meaning to read it (sequel and all) and Bray’s because I just like her work. I did not know much about it. Imagine my surprise when I finish Johnson’ ghost story (with rather mixed feelings might I add… The book is a great ride, especially if you like her work and teenage ghost crime fighting, but the ending! MY HEART CANNOT STAND SUCH UPHEAVAL) and realized my next YA adventure was also a ghost story! Sort of. The novel does hinge on a baddie ghost, but it is more of a supernatural rollercoaster than just a simple ghost story.

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The Diviners was definitely a lot darker than I thought it was going to be (especially going in not knowing anything about it). The John Hobbes story and the murders were grisly, demonic, and truly disturbing. I found it delightfully unsettling, especially when juxtaposed with our bright and bubbly main character Evie O’Neill and the glitzy world of the 1920s. Man, I love the 1920s and Libba Bray brings it to life in full color. I swear I will be saying “You betski” and “Pos-i-TUTE-ly” for weeks to come. I just want to bob my hair and shimmy.

The novel tells the story of Evie O’Neill, a girl from a small Ohio town that cannot contain her huge personality. After her uncanny and unusual gift to divine secrets from personal objects gets her in trouble, Evie is shipped away to New York to stay with her bachelor Uncle Will, a professor of the occult. New York is everything Evie dreams of: glamorous, fun, and a little bit dangerous. But the danger is more real than she could ever imagine, when a strange string of murders begin occurring with a madman leaving strange symbols and cryptic messages on the bodies. Evie’s uncle is called in to help in the investigating and Evie becomes involved in something darker and more sinister than she could ever imagine.

The bright world of the flapper is ideal territory for a supernatural story, what with all the disillusion and deception that comes with that particular time period. The book is entertaining all the way through, whether the scene is set in a speak easy, on the Ziegfeld stage, in a swanky Harlem club, among disturbing cultists, or in a demonic house. Also the characters are many and varied, which in some novels spells trouble, but not so in this one. Bray handles the variety of characters beautifully, spending time with each of them and letting the reader get to know them and become attached. She leaves just the right amount of mystery to have the reader wanting more. I cannot wait to read the next installment and see what is in store for Evie, Mabel, Jericho, Sam, Theta, Memphis, and Will. The book ends on a cliffhanger and I await the sequel with bated breath.

Until next time.



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