Series: The Graces #1
Published by Amulet Books on September 6th 2016
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
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In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.
This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.
Well, this was an unusual sort of book, wasn’t it? It wasn’t what I expected, though not really in a bad way. Just… different. See, The Graces are a family who people flock to. Some others I know who read this had some trouble with the fact that The Graces are so… captivating to everyone in the town. But I feel like we all know people like this, no? Sure, maybe the enamor with the Graces was a little exaggerated, but I feel like this is a thing that happens. I knew (well, I still know) a family who was a lot like this. No, no one assumed they were magical or witches or whatever, but for some reason, people flocked to them. They quite literally did nothing to provoke this, but nevertheless, they always had “clingers”. (I once told them that they must somehow hypnotize people, but they denied it 😉 )
My point is, I kind of saw where River was coming from, even if I didn’t exactly like her. Fine, truthfully, I despised River as a character. But (and this probably doesn’t say awesome things about me as a person) I also kind of felt for her, and even related to her at times. Like, she says this:
“More than just…. this, this life, every day, on and on, until I’m dead. There’s got to be. I want to find it. I need to find it.”
And I am on board, I feel like I do kind of understand her, even though I don’t necessarily agree with her actions more often than not. And often didn’t agree with her thoughts, either. She kind of thought she was “better than” everyone in the town, that she (and only she) could really “get” the Graces. Of course, to the reader, this comes off as sad and needy. Which it was.
“I was different. I wanted to see beyond the glamour to the real them.”
So I get that this sounds like I didn’t like it! But you’d be wrong. I did! See, the whole thing is, despite River’s complete suckitude (shh it’s totally a word) as a person, I wanted to know what was happening in this town! And with the Grace family in general. And yes, even with River! Because she might have been a hot mess, but it was like a train wreck, and I simply couldn’t look away.
Anyway, there were some awesome things about this book! Here’s a few more:
- It was a very quick read, engaging and entertaining. I was sucked in, and even when I was rolling my eyes at River, or kind of confused by some of the plot direction, I was eager to find out what happened.
- The Grace siblings were quite intriguing characters, too, which helped me want to know their stories even more- perhaps even more than I cared about River’s story.
- I enjoyed the friendships, especially the dynamic between River and Summer Grace. Despite all the strangeness and the infatuation with the Grace family, Summer was pretty damn genuine.
- It was twisty, and I like that! I wasn’t expecting some of the twists and turns, so that was a huge bonus for me. Plus, I think it set up the sequel phenomenally!
And what I didn’t quite love? Well, yes, there was some of that too!
- Parent-in-YA Syndrome. These parents were the actual worst. The Grace parents were just irksome, but River’s mom was so… ugh. Literally cannot come up with a better word for her. Because she seemed to not care if River was safe at home, or in a ditch somewhere.
- It was weird. So much of this story was flat out strange, and most of it was in a good way, but there were a few things (spoilery, naturally) that left me scratching my head. I do think that some of it will be answered in the sequel, or at least I hope so!
- The characters weren’t likable. I disliked each of them at one point or another, some more harshly than others. But I think that we aren’t meant to like this group, so I didn’t really hold it against the story too much- but it is worth mentioning while reviewing, of course! And sometimes, River made me roll my eyes, hard. I have little flags saying “eyes rolling” in several spots in the book, all because of nonsense that River is saying/thinking.
Bottom Line: This is a strange, yet compulsively readable book. It’s full of twists, and very complicated characters. As much as I was annoyed by River, I can’t wait to find out what happens next in her story!