The Diviners by Libba Bray
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 18, 2012)
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-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls ad rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. and through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first. (summary courtesy of amazon.com)
Laura: So, Kelly...What did you think of The Diviners? Wasn’t it just perfect?
Kelly: I read 137 pages. *hides*
Kelly: IT IS LONG (578 pages long, in fact).
Laura: AND PERFECT. IT WAS PERFECTLY LONG (578 pages of PURE AWESOME).
Kelly: I have this thing about backstory... it tends to bore me. I *know* it is necessary, but it bores me. I will say that Libba properly puts you in the 1920’s though.
Laura: She does indeed! And while there is a lot of backstory, you do end up needing all of it. Which you will find out...When you FINISH THE BOOK.
Kelly: Yes, yes. OTHER BOOKS were calling my name. But the backstory is all necessary. I see that. Libba does a great job of introducing all the characters and the occult... THINGS that occur.
Laura: And you do need all of that. It is VITAL later. You cannot forget who your characters are, because each independent storyline ends up intertwining as the book progresses.
Kelly: Sometimes I thought she jumped a little too quickly. I had to remind myself that Memphis was in Harlem while Evie was Upper East Side with Theta.
Laura: And I have to say, it really helped that I read this book right after visiting New York City, because I would have had no idea where people were. And I would have thought they were a street away from each other, and it is actually a bigger city than that...
Kelly: Oh, yes! It is a BIG ISLAND. There should have been a map in the book.
Laura: We both have the ARCs...so it possible that there is a map in the finished copy. Someone with the hardcover will have to tell us if that is so in the comments (Imagine, Reader, I am staring pointedly at YOU). Maps are good. I like maps in books. Especially when I have never been to a place! And when walking across my hometown is barely a two mile trip.
Kelly: I am not a map person. I tend to just WANDER. But sometimes I need them in books, because I cannot see the place where I am. Even in The Name of the Star, though I have been to London, the map helped. There was a map. Right?
Laura: I think maps should be standard literary practice. Although I hate them and can barely read them in real life. And there is totally a map in The Name of the Star. I just checked for you.
Kelly: And that is why I love you. Sometimes there should be maps! Not always. But sometimes, the map helps. Especially when you have multiple characters scattered around the city.
Laura: Also if you are Thomas Hardy and you make up your own geography, despite the fact that you use real settings. Stupid Hardy, ungeography-ing England to suit his evil purposes...
Kelly: Um... okay. We should focus. Characters! Evie! She is so 1920’s it almost hurts. I loved it, but I could never have been friends with her.
Laura: I spent the first half of the novel wanting to hit her with an occult antiquity in the museum. She really needs a good clout in the head with a heavy object. It will ground her, and cause her to maybe be less...airheaded. Or traumatic brain injury. We don’t want that, though.
Kelly: No. Because she is very important. I see that. Libba did well in the backstory showing how the characters relate to their powers. I’m excited to see how they’re going to use them to solve the murder.
Laura: YES. You will love it. You will love watching all their stories intertwine. And you will love Henry, who is my favorite. KEEP READING FOR HENRY!
Kelly: I will! Henry seems sweet, but it seems out of place that his character is so openly gay. I feel like that wouldn’t happen in the 1920’s.
Laura: You’re probably right about that. But the reason he’s so open with Theta will become CLEAR as the story progresses. My mystical powers of foresight tell me this.
Kelly: So tell me more about the plot! I feel like Libba has primarily concentrated on the character’s backstory and I have only graced the surface of what’s going to happen.
Laura: NO SPOILERS. But you are right. The focus of this book seems to be primarily to introduce you to everyone and show you how their powers are going to make MAJOR THINGS happen in the coming books. However, you will get to enjoy lots of SCARY MURDEROUS OCCURRENCES and eventually, you will find sleep impossible.
Kelly: Oh, my goodness, yes! The murder was VERY SCARY! I just kept screaming at my book. It’s like what you do while watching a scary movie. But then we get the Law & Order side of the story, which I always love!
Laura: Get used to the scary feeling, Kelly. IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE. You will stop sleeping. And you will jump at small noises and never walk alone anywhere ever.
Kelly: I do not do well with scary. This is why I read romances. NOTHING BAD HAPPENS IN ROMANCES. Or John Green books. Except for killing amazing characters.
Laura: Nothing bad happens in romances? Like Romeo and Juliet, that was a happy story for you?
Kelly: TRUE LOVE! HE KILLED HIMSELF TO BE WITH HER. But in my teenage love stories, there is rarely brutal murder. I like it this way.
Laura: Brutal murder/suicides, Twin. Murder/suicides. But really, you will get your love story as you continue reading. There is a fantastic love triangle. Well, love QUADRANGLE, as the story continues. All the peoples, they love each other.
Kelly: I LIKE THE LOVE STORIES. I see it already. Sam Lloyd and Evie. Mabel and Jericho. LOVE. I NEED THE LOVE.
Laura: Now what you need to do is take those names, and throw them in a hat, and shake the hat around, and dump the names on the ground. Because it is not so simple. LOVE QUADRANGLE. Plus hot and shirtless boys, Twin.
Kelly: Shirtless boys? YOU DID NOT TELL ME THIS. I need to carry on now. Any story that has a shirtless boy is a GOOD STORY.
Laura: I AGREE. Now go read!!!
Kelly: OKAY!! *flies away*
Laura: Since Kelly is now... gone, you guys should watch this amazingly funny (drunken) review of The Diviners.