The Diviners (#1) by Libba Bray
Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 18th, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Synopsis: Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?
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-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfurl in the city that never sleeps. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened….
Review: A 1920s book with magical elements? Yes, please.
The World/Setting: It was set in 1920s New York with all the flappers, speakeasies and prohibition. It was very well researched and incorporated a lot of things of truth but also added fictional occult elements.
Characters: Evie was the perfect glimpse into a “high-society” flapper girl. I loved how she used the 1920s slang. She was very sparky but also showed her intelligence and deeper feelings. She was a fun main character. Mempis allowed us to get a glimpse of the hardships of being of colour during that time. His life was far different in contrast with Evie. There were numerous secondary characters as well. Uncle Will, the owner of the Museum of Creepie Crawlies. Sam the pickpocket who makes some wise ass remarks. Mabel, Evie’s best friend that’s her opposite as she’s more reserved and likes to play it safe. Jericho, the “gentle giant” who’s quite intelligent and keeps to himself. Theta, a Ziegfeld girl who dreams of being a star and is quite popular amongst the speakeasy circles.
The Plot: The plot is very interesting. I felt like a flapper in the 1920s, with special powers trying to solve a mystery. I definitely felt like I was in this world and could picture everything happening around me. I have to say some parts are pretty creepy and I’m glad I didn’t choose to read this book at night. It’s young adult but it also doesn’t seem very young adult. I like that.
My only negative to this novel is the romance. It seemed unnecessary and out of the blue. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second novel. I’ve heard it’s slightly disappointing but I’ll be the judge of that. I highly recommend this book if you love occult/spooky subject matter and historical fiction!