The Diviners by Libba Bray
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Cindy: Well, I’m probably the last one on the trolley to read Bray’s new book. As you can see by Lynn’s comments below, I picked up this book early at the summer ALA Conference, gave it to Lynn first and then didn’t get it read myself. I have no good excuse. This week I finished listening to the book on audio and at 15 discs it has been entertaining me for weeks now.
Lynn: Cindy scored an arc of this hot new book at ALA and if it hadn’t been for the miseries of other review deadlines I would have dived into The Diviners (Little, Brown Sept. 2012) on the plane home! Well, in the late days of summer I finally got to crack open the cover. Set aside some time because this one is almost 600 pages but I assure you that the time and pages will fly by. And, oh my, are the teens going to love it.
Where to start with this plot? Well, you see there is this young girl – who can see people’s pasts when she holds an object belonging to them – who gets into trouble in her little town and is sent to stay with her uncle in New York City. This is posi-i-tute -ly what she had dreamed of and Evie leaps gleefully into the flapper gaiety of the city. The only downside is that she has to live in her uncle’s struggling Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult but Evie is confident she can spice up the joint, bring in more customers and take the Big Apple by storm.
But someone – or something – else has come to the city too and soon Uncle Will is called in by the police to investigate a ghoulish murder – a young girl branded with weird symbols. And we’re off! Add a large colorful cast of characters – many with paranormal abilities, the vibrant setting, a seriously creepy mystery, and more than a little romance and you have a real winner. Bray’s signature witty humor shines again here along with snappy slangy dialog, and there’s enough intriguing plot lines for several books. This is the first of a series, so there’s much more fun to come and as always, Bray gives us much to think about. Will teens love it? Trust me, everything’s jake!
Cindy: One of the many things I admire about Libba Bray is that she takes risks and experiments in her books…and is successful at doing it. Mad cow disease and Don Quixote? That’s not a marketing strategy many would employ but it garnered her a Printz Award. Beauty Queens, featuring an island of stranded contestants, reality-tv show pirates, and a despotic dictator was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist last year. And now we have the Roaring Twenties, a creepy-crawly museum, and a haunted house with breathing walls. I enjoyed the blend of history and mystery, partying and panic. Evie won a firm place in my heart with her impetuous joie de vivre but I like that she also has mad skills in a crisis. She earns one of our “Kick-ass Heroines” tags. And when things get creepy? I was clutching my steering wheel with a tight grip and glad I wasn’t eating in the car. (I made that mistake with Rick Yancy’s The Curse of the Wendigo and learned my lesson.) In fact, The Diviners would be a great recommendation for your teens who are waiting for the next book in Yancy’s Monstrumologist series. If you haven’t read this yet, don’t be a chump, get on the trolley already!