The Graces by Laure Eve
Novel: The Graces by Laure Eve | GoodreadsRelease Date: September 6, 2016Publisher: Amulet BooksFormat: ARCSource: Publisher
In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.
Sometimes, I can tell when I'm going to fall head over heels for a book. I hear the description, see something about the phrasing of the synopsis, and want to read it so badly I can hardly breathe. This was one of those books. It was the first book I tracked down at ALA, and the palpable relief that swept over me was insurpassable.I've loved a lot of the books I've read lately and so I feel rather like I've been shouting into the void when I'm going on and on about how much I love them all, but it's true. I'm trying to come up with a description significantly more powerful for how I feel about The Graces because it's a striking, intense read. It's like a mixture of two of my favorite books: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea meets The Accident Season. I positively devoured it. I'm passionate about it!It. is. so. damn. good.First of all, I love morally screwed-up characters, and River definitely fits the bill. She's angry and a little desperate and quite naïve and so beyond captivating. She's obsessed with the Graces, and it colors a lot of her actions. But she still has a spirit to her - a fierce sense of honesty that is stunningly individual. That's the reason the Graces like her, and it's the reason that she's a little off. Some of the things she said and did were just disturbing enough to make you feel like, despite her bluntness, she was somehow not revealing the whole truth, and her unreliability as a narrator made the story dip and spin like nothing else. She says the lines that most people would keep to themselves, and toes the line between heroine and villain with poise. Ironically, she reminds me a lot of the River from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.When I first read the synopsis, I figured that the Graces would probably be characterized much like the Cullens from Twilight: engrossing, with nobody really being able to say anything beyond "they're beautiful" or "they keep to themselves." I wasn't crazy about the idea (because truthfully I feel like characterization of a group can often be two-dimensional) so I was put at ease within a few chapters when the Graces were revealed to be strange, mystical, and each having properties that felt quietly diverse from each other. I still would have liked to see some of them fleshed out a little more - Summer was the one who I saw as most complex, most alluring - but Laure Eve did an excellent job in preserving intimacy and atmosphere.There's Summer, the punk one who will outright admit what she is and what her family is - charming and ruthless. There's Thalia, the wispy one fighting off a estranged ex-lover, sinking into the shadows; there's Fenrin, the flirty one, the one who always has a girl under his arm and a shell around his neck. Their parents lurk in the background, but nudge the plot into different directions with their loose secrets. Each of them, while contributing to the overwhelming image of the Graces as an entity, quietly navigate their own subplots that contribute to a swelling feeling of tension throughout the novel. So I didn't quite mind the group effect.The growing sense of something isn't right - not sure what exactly to call it, as it hovers somewhere between suspense and atmosphere - did a remarkable job of breaking the book down into sections that were each riveting in their own right. There were technically two sections, but each dealt with differing segments of time that smoothly and quietly created the untrustworthy fabric of the story we're told, giving it the illusion that it reaches far into the past and continues on breathlessly into the future. The first section deals mainly with River's fascination with and eventual inclusion in the Grace family story; the next one skips around chronologically, but not in a way that makes me feel as if I'm missing something. More in the twisty, unsettling sense that each character has been submerged in the events and the emotions of the novel for a very, very long time and we have no idea what they're about to do next. So plotting? Positively gripping.On one note, though, the synopsis alludes to this insane twist and I didn't really see one; so if you go in expecting this crazy surprise, I would say you'd probably get your hopes dashed. I appreciated the growing intensity and rawness of it, and I would say it's one of the most satisfying books I've read this year, twist or no.Throughout the storyline - also, love that witches are making a comeback in YA lit (it'll make my Halloween list even better this year) - the writing enhances everything. It's written in exactly the style that I love: synesthetic, jumpy, and graceful. It pairs words and images together that are sensational in juxtaposition. It's written in the likes of April Genevieve Tucholke and Nova Ren Suma, a writing style that can swallow you whole. It also manages to cram small details together in ways that don't reek of telling as opposed to showing; unless, it has the effect of making you feel like you're witnessing several histories of the characters condensed into a page. It does the perfect job of melding together elements in the story that otherwise probably wouldn't have the same jolt. I could cite paragraphs and lines that I kept running through my head afterwards. I relished the writing.It was eerie. It was thought-provoking. It was evocative and rich and dealt with both high school issues as mundane as gossip and crushes, as well as far-reaching ideals of morality and magic. As Laure Eve so gracefully calls it, "The Other." The radiance and the boldness, the deep dark feeling the atmosphere provoked, were so just haunting. I definitely recommend this one!Recommended for anybody who loves: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; Imaginary Girls; The Accident Season; Inland; etc,.