Southbury Teen Review Blog

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The Diviners June 3, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

the-divinersIt’s 1926.  The height of the Jazz Age.  Evie O”Neill arrives fresh from Ohio in NYC to live with her Uncle Will Fitzgerald.  He just happened to be curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (locally know as the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies).  Coincidentally, Uncle Will is consulting on the recent spate of serial murders  gripping the city.  Evie soon finds herself thrust in the midst of the investigations into the Pentagram Killer.

A varied cast of characters including Ziegfeld girl Theta Knight, Evie’s best friend Mabel Rose and erstwhile pickpocket Sam Lloyd all become embroiled in the supernatural goings on.  Memphis Campbell and his younger brother Isaiah possess certain gifts similar to Evie’s.  Uncle Will’s assistant Jericho Jones may be hiding secrets as well.  Can Evie and co. solve the mystery and put an end to the killings before Naughty John makes quick work of them all?

Filled with more nifty lingo than you can shake a stick at, The Diviners is the cat’s pajamas!  Libba Bray has done it again, masterfully blending insidious horror with hilarious moments, and a hint of romance.  Evie O’Neill is “pos-i-lutely” an instant classic heroine.

“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on.  Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ’em off for a coupla stones.”

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Beauty Queens April 25, 2013

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

beautyqueens

WARNING:  THIS REVIEW IS NOT APPROVED BY THE CORPORATION

Attention all Miss Teen Dreamers!  Get your sequins and self-tanner ready.  It’s time for the most hilariously LOL book you’ll read all year.  Not that you read books, right? Because beautiful people don’t read, of course.

What happens when teenage pageant contestants are trapped on a deserted island?  Imagine Lord of the Flies meets Gilligan’s Island – with superb product placement and corporate endorsed dictatorship.  The surviving Teen Dream contestants must battle hunger, snakes, and exploding hair remover.  Each girl has their own agenda, their own hopes and dreams.  Some enter the pageant because it’s a chance at scholarship money, some to prove just how sexist pageants are, and some because looking good is the only thing they think they’re capable of.  As the girls battle the dangers of the island, they cope with their own insecurities and learn they’re much more than what society and their families expect.

Libba Bray has once again given us a cutting edge satirical commentary on our world.  The Corporation, Ladybird Hope and MoMo B. ChaCha are all too familiar characters, or caricatures of recognizable figures.  The there’s a girl to fit every stereotype, but there’s more than meets the well made-up eye.  Bray pokes fun at these conventions by showing us just how ridiculous they are.  A champion of the strong female character, Ms. Bray gives us several to choose from.  A riot from beginning to end, with a serious message

For even more laughs, check out the audiobook version voiced entirely by the author.