Book Review: Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Published by Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: June 5th, 2018

YA LGBT Contemporary Fiction, 272 pages

IMG_6976

If you are interested in politics or high school debate, then this is a novel for you!

Goodreads Description:

Brynn Haper’s life has one steadying force–Rachel Maddow.

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project–and actually getting a response–Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick’s death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn’s archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do?

….

My Review:

#DearRachelMaddow

This was a young adult coming of age debut by this author, that I had received as an arc at YallWest in 2018. I didn’t know a lot about it going into it, but found myself curious to pick it up.

What hooked me on this book was, it was told entirely in email format. I thought this was such a cool idea, and I had not read anything like it except for Charlie’s letters in Perks of Being a Wallflower, years ago.

The story follows Brynn as she navigates her way through life, high school, and all the people in her life that seem to continually let her down. To cope and organize her thoughts, she emails Rachel Maddow in a journal like fashion.

There was both good and bad components to this novel, and I’m going to have to go into a certain amount of detail to discuss them.

I loved it and then I lost it.
This has not motivated me.
Loss isn’t motivating.
It’s debilitating.

~Adrienne Kisner, Dear Rachel Maddow

Spoilers Ahead.

Pros,

LGBTQ community, there was a heavy aspect of pride, mentioned many times in the novel, as Brynn herself was openly lesbian.

Politics, this novel was also mainly based on the storyline of Brynn having to run for Student body president so that everyone had a fair voice. It made me increasingly interested in learning more about politics, and to become a more politically active.

Cons,

About two thirds of the way into the novel it was really getting a bit slow. I was mainly trying to push through at that point, and the campaign necessities didn’t help. Right around that part, the presidential candidates had to make videos to represent themselves and explain why students should vote for them. I was pretty disappointed in the results of this, as it was a big group project and Brynn didn’t see the final edition. So at the big reveal, Adam’s video was him snickering at her because her GPA wasn’t as high as his. Later we found out it was so short because the rest got pulled for being too mean. When Brynn’s came on for the big reveal, it was her in a zombie form killing another zombie that tried to attack the camera man. It ended with the camera guy saying thanks, and her responding in a zombie voice, I won’t leave you when time get tough, or something along those lines. At the end of the entry to Rachel, she goes on to say that political involvement is not dead. It is undead. Not only were the videos both disappointing, in the slowest part of the novel, but followed by that pun?

I was also really upset at how her stepfather seemed to be getting worse throughout the story. For him, nothing had really changed, so why did he become violent all of a sudden? I also hated her mom just as equally, because all she did was sulk.

Overall, 3.5/5 star rating for me. It was interesting enough to keep me reading all the way through, it was just maybe longer than it had to be.

Thanks for reading! Mara x

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Published by Wednesday Books

Release date: April 24, 2018

YA Fantasy, 340 pages

I absolutely devoured this novel. All I had known about it going in, was that it was part Wonder Woman, part Vikings, and I was hooked. If you love fierce female leads, this one is for you!

IMG_7357

@marasfoldedpages

GoodReads Description:

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

….

“We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.”

~Adrienne Young, Sky in the Deep

My Review:

The beginning chapters hooked me in with the mystery of it all, and I was soon attached to her clans way of life thereafter. I also really enjoy The 100 series, especially the tv show, so this was right up my alley. Their rituals and gods were interesting, especially how their age-old feud between the Aska and the Riki had started. I also found the idols they made of those lost, the talismans, and the war braids in their hair all interesting components as well.

I really loved this story. Eelyn’s journey of forgiveness and learning the will and skill to survive in opposition to her born and raised ways was powerful. Her love of her family, and acceptance of new family was my favourite part of this novel.

Spoilers below

I also found it powerful how Fiske showed her a new way of life, bringing the clans together, but it was up to her to learn it for herself. Fiske was perfect; he was patient, but not soft or gentle. He protected her from the other Riki, and in a way, from herself as well. He let her decide for herself and didn’t force her and in the end, he made the hardest choice- because he knew she would never leave her people.

Even though the final battle between the Aska and Riki vs the Herja was short compared to the rest of the novel, the battle was for their two tribes to put aside their differences and accept each other. When they had agreed to fight together with Honor Above Life, and Breathe Fire together, they could not lose.

That being said, the final battle was a nail biter for me as Eelyn fought with her injuries. I couldn’t help but wonder about after though? Without always needing warriors, and always fighting, who would they be? How would they live?

I also really love the ending, even though both clans had suffered great losses. But at the end of it all, Iri was married, and had become a father. Aghi had a child to protect as Myra needed a family to love. And Halvard and Inge both came to live in peace with the Aska tribe with Fiske and Eelyn. I thought it was perfect. Overall, I give this novel a 5/5 star rating. And I can’t wait for Adrienne Young’s new novel The Girl The Sea Gave Back!

Thanks for reading! Mara x

Book to Movie Adaptation Review: The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

YA Dystopian, Fantasy

Release dates:

Novel(The Darkest Minds#1): December 18, 2012

Movie: August 03, 2018

35999125_231680194295615_3437666693864751104_n

I read The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken a while back, and have actually reread the first one again since. This was beneficial because I could remember enough to know where the story was ultimately going, but I had also forgotten enough that I wasn’t hung up on all the little details the entire time.

Storyline

The story line followed the first book very well in my opinion. Although Ruby’s journey had to be sped up (obviously), all the major points were hit.

Actors

The choices for the cast were amazing! In total truth, Amandla Stenberg wasn’t the Ruby I had in my head when I read the books, or my first choice- But I am so glad that she played Ruby! Now, I can’t imagine anyone but her. Liam was perfect! I didn’t even realize that Harris Dickinson was English until after I looked up the cast directly after. His presence and delivery of Liam was amazing. Chubs was so extremely funny, and exactly as I imagined him to be. I really enjoyed Skylan Brooks’ performance. Zu was also the perfect match, with Miya Cech.

Dialogue

The dialogue was well written. Chubs’ scenes were by far the best, and when I watched this with my family, they cracked up just as much as I did when I read the book.

Ending

The ending was near exactly the same as the book. With the exception of them having the option of leaving it like that if they don’t sign another movie, and also being able to pick up and continue where it left off.

Comments

My only thing to mention, is they coloured and lit up the actors’ eyes when they were using their powers, but neglected to tell the viewers explicitly what those powers were. I found myself explaining what Red and Blue powers were a couple times to my family, but other than that it was well done.

Horizons (1)

Book to Movie Adaptation Review

I’m so glad that I didn’t have very many of those annoying cringe moments or found myself saying, “No, this is wrong. It happened this way in the book”, the whole movie. I really enjoyed it, and am so glad it turned out as great as it did! I believe that it is now out on DVD, so make sure to go out and watch it.

The Darkest Minds(novel #1): 4.5/5 stars rating.

The Darkest Minds(movie): 4/5 stars rating.

Thanks for reading, Mara x

Book Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Published by Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 7, 2016

YA Fantasy, 427 pages

img_61451

Photo taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages

Goodreads Description:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

My Review:

This one had quite a lot of hype around it. And being my first novel by Victoria Schwab (with the exception of the middle grade arc of City of Ghosts) I had a lot of exceptions for this novel. That being said, the book didn’t overall disappoint, but I felt like it was shorter than I had anticipated.

It did have a dark and creepy vibe to it, which I loved. The city and the need for protection was an interesting concept. There was however, no romance. I guess I had just assumed that there would be since it was told in dual POV. It was kind of a Romeo and Juliet type situation, but it also wasn’t.

Being. Not being. Giving in. Holding out. No matter what I do, it hurts.

~ This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab

Kate’s character development was amazing. I enjoyed being inside her head, and rediscovering the truth of her past. Her tough exterior and wish to be a monster was consuming, and I understood her view she developed of her father.

August, as the opposite, was really wishing he could become human. Each had wanted what the other had, and before they knew much about each other, they became friends in an untrustworthy world. I felt like this was a very fast paced novel, so much so, that it felt short to me. There was definitely action scenes, but I think there was more building up the world to give the story context.

The plot line had me a little confused at first, and I wasn’t sure if it was because I was reading this during the stressful holidays, or if I was expecting so much that I confused myself. The overall feud between the two sides of Verity was made clear, but for some reason I didn’t understand just how rare the Sunai were. I thought that there were three on Flynn’s side, and then more roaming around or doing whatever they wanted.

I was also a little confused about Leo. There wasn’t a lot said about what he did all day, and how he got to be the face of the Flynn side. I had assumed that was because he was the oldest, but then something came up and said Ilsa was the oldest and therefore the most powerful.

She cracked a smile. “So what’s your poison?”

He sighed dramatically, and let the truth tumble off his tongue. “Life.”

“Ah,” she said ruefully. “That’ll kill you.”

~This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab

I am looking forward to reading the second novel, Our Dark Duet, because I would like to see more interaction between Kate and August. And also resolve some of the cruel changes and events this ended on. Overall, I give it 4/5 stars.

If anyone has read this novel or series, feel free to talk to me about it. You can even message me on my Instagram, and I’d love to talk about this series with you.

Thanks for reading! Mara x

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Published by Scholastic Press

Release Date: September 18, 2012

YA Fantasy, 409 pages

unnamed

Photo taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages

Goodreads Description:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

The poor are sad they’re poor, Adam had once mused, and turns out the rich are sad they’re rich.

~ The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater

My Review:

I read this novel back in December, but had to put off my review until now because of how much I loved this and couldn’t put it into words!

I have to admit, I was skeptical of all the hype around the series at the beginning. But it literally took me seven chapters to fall in love with the story line and the characters. I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to be a fan of the multiple perspectives, but it was very well done and it really aided to the story.

The story line itself is so encapsulating that it definitely has a power over me. I’m all ready to go out and get the rest of the series, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. There was a mix of comedy and seriousness in this novel, and it was perfect for me.

“We have to be back in three hours,” Ronan said. “I just fed Chainsaw but she’ll need it again.”

“This,” Gansey replied, “is precisely why I didn’t want to have a baby with you.”

~The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater

This story is mainly built on its characters, and boy did they not disappoint. The ending of the novel had me wondering how in the world did they get from the rich and powerful raven boys, to the cold and broken raven boys. I’m honestly in love with every one of the characters.

I highly recommend this, the hype is real guys. Overall 5/5 stars. I love being a part of this fandom.

This was my first Maggie Stiefvater novel, and I’m also excited to look into her other novels as well. There was less romance, and more mystery in my opinion.

Thanks for reading, Mara x

Book Review(Audiobook): My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

Published by Tantor Audio

(Audio)Release Date: October 14, 2014

YA Romance Contemporary

40460645_2180388425580539_8778940083457646294_n.jpg

Goodreads Description:

My Life with the Walter Boys centers on the prim, proper, and always perfect Jackie Howard. When her world is turned upside down by tragedy, Jackie must learn to cut loose and be part of a family again.

Jackie does not like surprises. Chaos is the enemy! The best way to get her successful, busy parents to notice her is to be perfect. The perfect look, the perfect grades-the perfect daughter. And then…

Surprise #1: Jackie’s family dies in a freak car accident.

Surprise #2: Jackie has to move cross-country to live with the Walters-her new guardians.

Surprise #3: The Walters have twelve sons. (Well, eleven, but Parker acts like a boy anyway)

Now Jackie must trade in her Type A personality and New York City apartment for a Colorado ranch and all the wild Walter boys who come with it. Jackie is surrounded by the enemy-loud, dirty, annoying boys who have no concept of personal space. Okay, several of the oldest guys are flat-out gorgeous. But still annoying. She’s not stuck-up or boring-no matter what they say. But proving it is another matter. How can she fit in and move on when she needs to keep her parents’ memory alive by living up to the promise of perfect?

“You couldn’t control everything, because it wasn’t all meant to be perfect. Sometimes things needed to be messy.”
― Ali Novak, My Life with the Walter Boys

My Review:

During my last week of studying for finals last semester, I decided to try my first audio book and see how the experience worked for me. I found My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak and decided to choose it because I had heard that it was originally published on Wattpad and wanted to check it out.

This book was 9 and a half hours I think in total, which seemed long to me, but I really have nothing to compare it to. The plot line and story itself seemed like it could go on forever as two of the Walter brothers fight over this girl, so get ready for a love triangle. The drama could have probably continued, I’m sure she just decided she had to end it somewhere.

I was slightly upset with the ending. It seemed abrupt and like Jackie and Cole had unfinished business. And her breakup with Alex was oddly placed in my opinion, but again, I feel like she knew she had to end the story somewhere.

The premise of the book was intriguing, and I’m sure a lot of young girls probably wonder that ‘What if’ scenario where they get sent to live in the middle of the country surrounded by a bunch of hot farm boys.

“You’re living with a bunch of hot guys, and instead of finding Cole and experiencing some real-life anatomy, you’re shacking up with a textbook like a pariah.”
― Ali Novak, My Life with the Walter Boys

The scenes and dialogue weren’t outstanding; however, I did find myself hooked and wondering what would happen next. The characters were interesting, especially how their family functions and how they interact with one another. It was hilarious at times, and really a lot of fun. I just didn’t feel as connected with them as I maybe would have if there was less characters and relationships going on. Yes, part of the challenge for Jackie was to win them all over in their own way, but I wasn’t as invested in their relationships because there was so many.

Overall, I give a 3/ 5-star rating for this author’s first novel.

Thanks for reading! Mara x

Reading Resolutions for 2019!

Hey everyone! Last year in 2018, I didn’t join bookstagram by creating an account until April, and start this blog until July. And unfortunately, I don’t think I counted the books that I read the first half of the year in my newly made goodreads account either…

IMG_60621.jpg

So! This year, I’ve decided to set my goal at 35 books, and adjust accordingly once I get going. I will have the struggle of having reduced reading time throughout the year because of my university studies, but with that being said- I still believe I can do it!

Do you have a goodreads account or challenge for 2019?

How many books did you pledge this year?

Want to be friends on Goodreads, my username is marasfoldedpages.

 

img_63061.jpg

I also have some fun reading resolutions for this year that I would like to try. I had originally gotten the idea from Barnes & Nobles Instagram post, and thought it would be fun to make a list for this year!

~Read 35 books this year.

~Try to finish (at least) one book per month.

~Read Classic Literature:

-Play(s), Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

-Novel(s), The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emma by Jane Austen.

~Read at least one book recommended by a local bookseller/ librarian.

~Read one steamy romance you secretly wanted to.

~Read somewhere that isn’t my bed.

~Re-read my all-time favourite.

~Go to YallWest in Santa Monica.

~Organize my time more efficiently and blog/review more often.

~Read most of my tbr shelf before buying books that I haven’t been anticipating for a long time.

Thanks for reading! Mara x

 

My Top 5 Reads of 2018!

My Top 5 Reads of 2018!

cropped-IMG_5545.jpg

Hey everyone! I took a poll on my bookstagram account asking if I should do a year end review of my top rated books. The majority voted yes, so I’m going to be writing a slightly different post today.

Here are my top 5 reads of 2018! This is the order that I read them in this year, and I have linked my full review of each novel as well. All photos taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

This was a super cute contemporary YA romance that I fell in love with. Penny was so relatable, I felt like I literally was her at times. Her awkwardness, as well as her fears were what really resonated with me. Sam on the other hand, was a dreamboat from the beginning. I loved his character, and how he felt like he was lost and trying to find himself at the same time. He’s also pretty cute boyfriend material if you ask me.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars. Full Review Here.

31953988_170608476963191_1541814034297257984_n

 

Seafire by Natalie Parker

This novel was filled with action and adventure, as a YA Fantasy. The plot was well constructed, and was fast paced with interesting dialogue between action scenes. I loved the writing and how things should be going so bad for Caledonia, but she catches a break right at the last second and survives. Her character development was complex, as she’s mainly motivated by revenge, and that ending scene! I’m excited to read the next book, and I’m sure there’s more development to come for Caledonia.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars. Full Review Here. 

seadfire3

 

Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

This Mystery thriller was an amazing release this year. I remember the timeline and ending really freaked me out and made me want to reread the whole thing because of what had finally been revealed. This is Jennifer Donaldson’s debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what she does next. It would be an automatic purchase from me!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars. Full Review Here.

liesyounevertoldmeedit

 

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

This is my first novel by Marissa Meyer that I have read, and I really enjoyed it. The dual perspectives of opposing sides really made this novel’s characters true intentions show. I loved the characters and their developments. I can’t wait to get my hands on the newly released sequel, Archenemies.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars. Full Review Here.

renegades

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

This was my latest 5 star read of the year. It’s a cute contemporary that deals with both life and death, and how shitty both are. It has really cute quotes and I highly recommend.

My Rating: 5/5 stars. Full Review Here. 

IMG_5700

 

Honorable Mentions:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Full Review Here.

47431523_1740535319391322_787231636467205678_n(1)

The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

40129206_167571360791445_918409739143685662_n

 

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best in 2019! What were your favourite reads of 2018? Are any of these on your list as well?

Happy reading, Mara x

Book Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Spoiler Free)

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Published by Alfred A. Knopf

Release Date: June 6th, 2017

YA Contemporary, Romance, Fiction 273 pages

IMG_5700

Photo taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages

It’s a truth universally acknowledged, according to George, that shit days get shittier. Shit nights roll into shit mornings that roll into shit afternoons and back into shit, starless midnights. Shitness, my sister says, has a momentum that good luck just doesn’t have.

~ Cath Crowley, Words in Deep Blue

Goodreads Description:

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

….

My Review:

This novel made me cry. Partly because I didn’t want it to end. Partly because I didn’t want it to end like that. This novel really hit home with me. I too have a little brother who means the world to me, and I couldn’t even imagine the pain if anything happened to him.

I really enjoyed this novel for a variety of reasons. There are some hilarious scenes, but also because this novel is so real. In part, this was Rachael’s journey, but this is also a story about life.

Rachael is a very relatable character and knows her worth. I particularly like her POV and loved her change throughout the novel.

Henry, oh my god. Rachael is the science to his English. His line when he’s discussing life and death with Rachael and says “sometimes science isn’t enough. Sometimes you need the poets,” he says, and it’s in this moment, this exact moment, that I fall in love with him again. Made me fall in love with him a bit as well. It was understandable how Rachael fell for his character and view on life. I only wish that he had grown and figured out what he wanted faster, but that’s life. We don’t always get what we want, and I think this novel incorporated that beautifully.

The secondhand bookshop sounds like a dream come true. The Reading Garden, the Fiction Couch, and the flat above where they live all sounds like something I would jump to invest in and have. The Letters Library though really stole me heart. It really made me realize how bookshops are becoming extinct, and with them, the books themselves. Sure, you can highlight words on an ebook on your screen, or send someone a text. But the magic of underlining and writing in a real material novel and sticking a note in for someone is absolutely beautiful.

This novel did make me cry. Not because I was frustrated, because I don’t think I was. I believe that that’s how life works and this novel is so true and raw and real. I don’t want to spoil it, but I highly recommend this novel. The poet references, and novel discussions are amazing, and I wish there was more of it in my everyday life. This is a 5/5 star novel and is one of my favourites.

Thanks for reading! Mara x

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Spoiler Alert)

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Published by Flatiron Books

Release Date: January 31, 2017

YA Fantasy, Romance 407 pages

47431523_1740535319391322_787231636467205678_n(1)

Photo taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.
Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Goodreads Description:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Dark air fell over his eyes as he leaned near to her once more and whispered, “I know you want to find your sister, but on this isle secrets are valuable. Be careful about giving yours away too freely. If people know what you want the most, it can be used against you.”  ~Stephanie Garber, Caraval

….

 

This book was definitely not what I expected. Set in another time and place, The Dragna sisters are an interesting family. As the mystery unraveled during the games I found it harder than I thought to decipher what was real and what wasn’t. The magical atmosphere was enchanting and the writing is beautiful.

At times I did find Scarlett’s childishness slightly annoying, but I loved how much she had grown throughout the story. And the whole time I was just as upset with Tella as Scarlett was, until she turned out to be a genius!

The book didn’t answer what happened to their mother. Or what the woman in the grey dress was screaming about in the tunnels. Or the age difference and if Scarlett will not age as well if she’s allowed to stay with Legend and his crew.

I found the whole premise of the games intriguing, and Julian even more so. I found myself wondering when the game actually started. I like the premise of unreliable characters and point of views, and this novel did not disappoint.

The concept of secrets and lies as currency, time working against you, and boys with hearts made of black was right up my alley. I highly recommend this novel.

Overall, I’m curious and excited to see how the story will continue in Legendary for the Dragna sisters and give this novel 4.5/ 5 stars.

Thanks for reading! Mara x