September 18, 2012
Published: September 18, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
Speakeasies, flappers and demons, oh my!
The Diviners is the story of Evie, a girl who got in trouble at her hometown in Ohio and is punished by being sent to New York City (how that’s really a punishment, I don’t really know). It turns out Evie has a secret that comes in handy when she gets to New York where a mysterious serial killer begins using a “Brethren” text as his instruction manual and her Uncle is asked to assist in the investigation. With historical fiction, religious undertones and paranormal aspects, this book has a little something for everyone (and had everything I enjoy reading).
When I first heard about this book, I knew that I had to read it. I mean come on a book set in the 1920’s at the beginning of prohibition with flappers and Ouija boards, how do I not pick it up? And the best thing about it, it surpassed all my expectations. I think this comes in a very close second to my favorite book of the year and let me tell you why.
The first thing that really puts it over the top for me was the “language” of this book. I could tell that Libba Bray did quite a bit of research on the time period. The way she made Evie, a true flapper, sound was exactly like I would expect a girl at that time by using popular phrases like “cat’s meow.” And the banters between Evie and another character, Sam were quite hilarious; chock full of great 1920’s lingo.
Speaking of Sam and Evie, I have to say that their relationship to each other is my favorite although all of the characters and their relationships and how everyone is connected to each other were wonderful. Just the way Sam and Evie met as well as how much they don’t like each other/get along, mainly because their personalities are quite similar in my opinion. I mean when the two of them get going, watch out.
And I have to say, I think this book increased my heart rate quite a bit while reading it. I don’t think I have been that freaked out by a bad guy in quite some time. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s really not that bad and for a lot of people it’s probably nothing. But for me (a girl who believes in ghosts/spirits) it got a little nerve racking to where I would be looking over my shoulder constantly. Basically, if you read this book and get spooked by demons and such, don’t read this at night unless you are prepared to lose sleep.
The one thing that didn’t do it for me was the ending to The Diviners. I understand that this the first book in the series but I was just expecting a little bit more of a “dun dun dun” moment. Really it’s minor and not a huge deal it was just half way through I was hoping for a couple of things but Ms. Bray saw it differently and I really wasn’t a fan of one of the conclusions, for now anyway (maybe that will change with the next book).
All in all The Diviners by Libba Bray is the cat’s pajamas with just enough creepy crawlies to be on the trolley and I am recommending it to everyone. Seriously, move this one to the top of your “to be read” list and get your hands on it as soon as you can! I cannot wait to continue this series and see where it goes.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 checkers:
September 6, 2012
Published: August 28, 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
“Every day a different body; Every day a different life; Every day in love with the same girl,” is the tag line that drew me in. I was still on The Host withdrawals and this book sounded like it could help suppress them for a while.
Every Day is about A, a genderless body snatcher if you will (even though that is still a poor description of him. He’s like nothing I have ever come in contact with before) who changes bodies/lives every night at midnight. Almost sounds like a Cinderella timing issue doesn’t it? Anyway the way this book is set up is that the chapters are essentially each day of his life, which is something that I really enjoyed. Plus, with this set up it almost felt like there were multiple points of view and a singular point of view all wrapped up in one with all the side stories you get with each person that A becomes. But you also get A’s main story which is seeing him fall in love with a girl Rhiannon, the girlfriend of Justin, the first person he wakes up as in this book.
I have to say that most of this book was beautifully written and a lot of the societal issues (including sexual orientation, race, etc.) were handled wonderfully (well except for one, which I will get to later). We see A being so open minded about a lot of them, since he has essentially lived in all of their “shoes” and speaks from experience. A lot of what he says when he reflects on certain issues, like love being love no matter what the gender and some religious undertones with devils and how people blame the devil for all the bad things they do, even though the devil was not involved. I thought everything was handled quite nicely.
But then again maybe not everything, I’m going to start off by saying that I really am trying to give the following the better of the doubt. Maybe this reaction from A is to show that he is more flawed other than he changes lives every day. Or maybe Levithan is trying to illustrate that Rhiannon and A isn’t in love as much as they think they are. But whatever the case I still take away a bad message from it none the less (I’ll admit, I’m a little sensitive to the issue, but if I’m getting this message I’m sure a lot of other people will as well.
So what’s the issue? Well one day A wakes up as a 300 hundred pound teen, going so far as to describe it as having “meat sacks tied to limbs and torso” and “this would be pathological if there was any meticulousness to it.” I think what gets me the most is that we do see A being so open minded when it comes to a lot of things that I see as more controversial than being overweight. A even goes so far to say something about trying to impart a scary memory that would make the boy stop eating as much. I mean who says that? Ugh, just ticked me off! Besides, what kind of message does that send to young people (whom this book is aimed towards), most of which have body image issues? What I take away from is “if you are overweight you should feel like shit” personally. Made the 7th grade me shiver from horrible memories that 22 year old me tries to forget. I could keep going about disorders, genetics and everything but I think this is enough of a rant as it is.
But other than my little spiel there, it is a great read, although the ending (which I did enjoy) felt a little rushed for me. It just left me with some open ended questions and I wanted some more detail on a branch off of A’s story other than just the relationship between him and Rhiannon. Still I think that it is a book that everyone should check out because it is so unique and like something I had never read before (despite me thinking it would be like The Host).
P.S. I also did a video review on my YouTube channel that is in two parts. Most of it is what I covered here, but you are more than welcome to check those out as well.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 checkers: