*ARC provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review*
Publication Date: July 14th 2020
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else.
But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good.
But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
About the Author:
Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths.
She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family.
Her work is translated widely around the world.
I knew next to nothing about this book before reading other then it followed a teenage girl who moves back to a town where she discovers magic that runs through her bloodline.
I have now read the book, cover to cover although I admit I might have skim read a paragraph or two
(or ten), but I still can’t give an accurate run down of what happened because I don’t know.
I am confusion.
Yes there’s a girl and yes she moves back to the town her mum left and yes she discovers the familial magic powers but theres also magic water and murder so do with that what you will.
I feel like a big hindrance of this book was that it had a lot going on. The magical elements such as magic water, was intriguing to me but sadly underdeveloped and under-explained leaving me confused which, paired with a slow first half, didn’t make me want to pick the book up overmuch.
There are also a lot of serious issues mentioned in this book so Trigger Warning for: sexual assault, domestic abuse, addiction. I do think some of these things were explored and executed better then others.
This book is set in the 80’s, something I constantly kept forgetting until I stumbled across mentions of “Ted Bundy being in jail” and “VHS tapes”. It could have quite easily have been set in modern day.
I believe this book is inspired by “The Lost Boys” and “The Craft”, two movies I’ve never watched so I can’t speak to how similar the movies and this book are.
And finally we have a romance. The idea in this book that every Brayburn women has a one true love so I can understand having a romance but it really did feel unnecessary and although I did like the two characters separately I could have cared less about their blossoming romance.
One thing I did love about this book though is the writing. I didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time but my confusion was eased by the beautiful writing and descriptions.
Overall I think this book has potential but I wish it had been more flushed out, I wish the magic system especially had been explained better and the murder plot had been explored more.
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