Tuesday Reads: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Welcome to the very first Tuesday Reads! Every Tuesday, I will be posting a review of a book I have recently finished, including initial thoughts, thoughts after sleeping on it, my favorite quote, the medium I read it on, and a star rating. These will be books both new and old. I have a whole list of YA fiction coming out in the next year, but I also have a stack of old sci-fi paperbacks that I borrowed from my boyfriend. Scandalously, I’ve never read Brave New World and I barely remember 1984, so you’ll be seeing those up here soon enough.

For the first Tuesday Reads, though, I’m going to cheat a little bit. Adventures in Storyland is all of three days old, and I haven’t finished reading a book since starting this blog. Instead, I’m going to kick off Tuesday Reads with a book I read earlier this semester (finished it on September 29th, according to Goodreads). This book is especially appropriate, because it is YA (my very favorite thing in the world, as you’ll discover) and it was written by a woman that I could fangirl over for hours.

The book for today is The Diviners by Libba Bray. Set in the roaring 20s, The Diviners is the story of Evie O’Neill, a feisty Midwestern girl shipped off to New York City to live with her uncle. He’s the curator at The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult – or as it is more commonly known, The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Evie is not about to let anything stand in the way of her chance to experience life in the city. But when her uncle gets called in to help investigate gruesome murders, Evie finds herself absorbed in wanting to solve them using the mysterious power she’s always kept secret.

When the 20s slang started in, I was afraid that it would be overpowering. I’m a huge fan of era-authentic language, but 20s slang could start feeling really cheesy really fast. It didn’t end up bothering me at all, though. It was immensely helpful in immersing me into the world. I thought in 20s slang for days after finishing the book. It was also wonderful for adding to Evie’s character. She was far more involved in using that slang than any of the other characters. Evie is excited to be alive, and to be living in New York in the 20s. She embraces every aspect of it – from fashion to, yes, the language.

I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard for me to not spend this post fangirling over Evie. She’s beautifully human and flawed. She’s brave and reckless, cares deeply for her friends, and yet she’s selfish and desperate to be liked. She’s consumed by the death of her brother but pretends that she isn’t. I want to talk about how she’s an amazing, strong female character, but why? She’s a flat-out amazing character, regardless of gender.

Something you will learn about me is that I am an absolute shipping fiend. The book starts out pushing the reader towards shipping Evie with Sam, a charming and manipulative young con artist, but as soon as her uncle’s assistant, Jericho, starts showing interest in her, my shipping senses went wild. I finished the book firmly on Team Jericho, despite the fact that Evie’s friend Mabel is in love with him. What can I say? Sam just can’t stand up to Jericho in my shipping heart. He’s charming and handsome, yes, but I’m a fan of the awkward, studious, unconventionally attractive Jericho with a tragic past. If Evie doesn’t take him by the series’ end, I will.
Evie’s may be the dominant story of the book, but it is not the only one. There are other characters with POV chapters. Most of them struggle with their own secrets, and they are all wonderfully written. When you think you understand someone and you’ve gotten comfortable with their place in the book, you should be prepared to have everything turned upside down.

The Diviners will leave you with dozens of suspicions and burning questions. If you’re anything like me, you’ll read it within the space of two days and then spend some time clawing at the walls, hoping the second book will somehow fall out onto your bed. Despite the fact that you’ll have to wait an as of yet unknown amount of time to read the next book, you should go pick up The Diviners as soon as possible.

Favorite quote: “…what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all?”

Medium: Kindle

Stars: 5/5

If you want an idea of what book you might be seeing next Tuesday, check out the Goodreads widget in the sidebar. It’s always up to date with what books I am currently reading.

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Reads: The Diviners by Libba Bray

    • It’s the best way for a character to be 😀 I’ve struggled with learning to make those characters in my own writing, but writers like Libba Bray help me figure it out.

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