Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Summary: Evie O’Neill has been a very bad girl. After pushing a party trick too far and exposing a scandal she’s sent off to live in New York City with her crazy Uncle William who runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. It’s the days of bobbed hair and bathtub gin but Evie’s secret powers may be a more interesting party trick than anything Fitzgerald could dream up. When a series of killings that seem to relate to the occult occur, the police ask for Uncle William’s help and Evie tags along hoping to put her abilities to the test.

Bechdel test? Evie really only has one female friend, the super-boring Mabel. Unfortunately the girls’ conversations revolve mainly around the dreamy Jericho Jones, making this a fail. (For a book by Libba Bray that does pass the test, check out my trailer for Beauty Queens!)

Rating: 4/5

Was it as good as Beauty Queens or A Great and Terrible Beauty? Not exactly. The book held my attention toward the end but it seemed that throughout there were a few too many characters. I’m sure that they’ll be important for the next book in the series but here I didn’t’ really care about  them which made reading their chapters a bit of a chore.

Other than that the story was wonderful. Bray really hits the feeling of 20s glamour on the head with her discussion of speakeasies, Ziegfeld productions, and NYC apartment life. The slang was a real treat (though it may be a little confusing to those who don’t read very closely, Bray often defines a term once and then uses it again a hundred pages later – keep your thinking hats on boys and girls!)

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens

by Libba Bray

Survival. Of the fittest.

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.
What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

Book blurb from Amazon

Reviews for Beauty Queens





Awards for Beauty Queens

Rainbow List 2012 – GLBTQ (ALA)

Audie Awards – Best Author Read Novel 

Best Books for Young Adults 2012 (Booklist)

Amelia Bloomer List 2012 – Feminism (ALA)

2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults (ALA)

Buy Beauty Queens



Barnes and Noble

Get Beauty Queens at Your Library!

Durham County Public Library

Orange County Public Library

Chapel Hill Public Library

More by Libba Bray

*note: This page was created for my INLS 530 class at SILS UNC Chapel Hill*

Book Haul: BEA

Last Friday I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Book Expo of America here in New York City. Most of the major book publishers attend and attempt to sell their books to interested chains, bookstores, librarians and other industry professionals. This year was the first time they allowed non-professionals into the Expo and it was a bit chaotic. We were allowed in an hour after the event opened on its final day. The line was incredibly long and full of “Power Readers” who wanted to experience the event for themselves. As soon as the doors opened to us, many rushed around trying to gather as many ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) as they could. Though I was as excited as everyone else for free books, I felt that some of the “Power Readers” were rude to the publishers and their representatives. Rather than interacting many chose to reach behind the counters or interrupt  sales conversations just for a free book. How rude!

All of that is a long-winded introduction to my list of books I received in the last week:

The Diviners by Libba Bray
On Sale: September 17, 2012

I won’t lie. Libba Bray is one of my all-time favorite authors. I devoured her 
A Great and Terrible Beauty  series — it even played a huge part
in my senior prom! Needless to say, I’m thrilled to have an ARC
for this one!

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin
On Sale: September 11, 2012

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
On Sale: July 10, 2012

Bared to You by Sylvia Day
One Sale Now

This one seems a lot like the much hyped Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
I met the author and got an autographed copy!

Eternally Yours by Cate Tiernan
On Sale: November 6, 2012

The Lost Prince by Selden Edwards
On Sale: August 16, 2012

Check out my previous book haul posts:

“I’ll keep you my…..”

All American Rejects, “Dirty Little Secret”

While I’m generally not a fan of the All America Rejects, their song “Dirty Little Secret” perfectly describes what I’ve been reading lately. No, it’s not something as terrible as what you’re imagining….it’s worse. To get me through finals week I’ve been indulging in YA Fiction. Terrible, I know. But hear me out:

There’s something magical about reading books that center around childhood and adolescence. They remind me of being in middle school and believing that someday I too would learn how to wield a sword, ride a horse or whatever else these crazy heroines were doing. The books are adventures meant to take the reader away from everyday life and into a world where anything, even the unbelievable, is possible. 

It kills me that there is still such a stigma attached to adults reading YA literature. Perhaps it’s not true anywhere else but here at Kenyon you get ceaselessly heckled at for carrying around a book that’s not “literature.” Why is it worse to read silly books than it is to watch terrible television? I’d much rather read some great books by Libba Bray than watch the Jersey Shore and I’d argue that the former takes far more brain power!


All of this is to say that, yes I enjoy reading YA literature. Yes, I read all of Cassandra Clare‘s new book Clockwork Prince in less than twenty-four hours. (I also may or may not have bugged the employees at my local post office for two days straight as the book was en route from the Amazon warehouses.)

The book was one of the best (of this genre) I’ve read in a long time, though I may be biased. Clare’s Infernal Devices series has everything that I look for in a fun read: vaguely Victorian setting, fully fleshed out characters, multiple plots, strong females, and not too terrible grammar! If you’re looking for an easy and fun read this Christmas season I highly suggest the first book in the series, Clockwork Angel, but be warned: these books are addictive and the third book in the series is not due out until September 2013!

If you can’t wait that long, try Cassandra Clare’s other series The Mortal Instruments which is set in modern times but is in the same universe as The Infernal Devices. The Mortal Instruments series boasts four novels to Infernal Devices two with another on the way in May 2012!

Sidenote: I just found out that Cassandra Clare is doing a book signing in Nashville tomorrow night and I want to go so badly. I get home from school on Tuesday night. This is tragic.