Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Summary: Evie O’Neill finds herself in big trouble over a little parlor trick she performed at a party. She only meant to get a little attention when she took Harold Brodie’s class ring and attempted to divine a few of his secrets for the crowd. Instead, she ended up incurring the wrath of the Brodie family and getting banished from her small town of Zenith, Ohio to her Uncle’s home in New York city. But being sent to one of the most lively cities in the country during the 1920’s is hardly a punishment for a girl who has always been too much for her hometown. New York city is exactly where Evie wants to be and all she has to do to stay is live with her Uncle Will, a man who stirs up his own fair share of gossip being the head of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, and abide by the few rules he sets.
It doesn’t take long before Evie is swept up into the bustle of New York City and reacquainting herself with a childhood best friend and making friends with an exotic Ziegfeld girl, but the good times grind to a halt when a grisly serial killer with ties to the occult starts to accumulate a body count. Uncle Will is called in by police to help decipher the cryptic symbols left at the murder scenes and Evie talks herself into being included in the case. It’s a case where her ability to divine secrets from personal objects may just be the key to stopping the killer or in possibly marking her as the next victim. However, Evie isn’t alone in her efforts to catch the killer or in possessing a unique and otherworldly gift. Her uncle’s assistant, Jericho hides a secret while her new friend, Theta, is trying to escape from her past. And then there’s Memphis, a young man who has lost his parents and his gift but fights to protect and take care of his younger brother.
Who will like this book?: Anyone with an appreciation for intelligent and well-written stories will throughly enjoy Libba Bray’s writings. It’s rare to find a mystery/thriller driven by such well-developed characters, especially one where the paranormal is a key aspect of the storyline. She’s the only YA author who can make 578 pages seem like a quick read and have you wishing the book was longer.
If you like this, try this: Thank goodness this is the first in a proposed trilogy because this story is simply too big (and too good) to be confined to one book. While you wait for the sequel to come out, try some of Libba Bray’s other writings, especially her Gemma Doyle trilogy. If you are looking for another great historical fiction book try Code Name Verity, there’s no paranormal in the story, but it is an amazing historical story featuring strong female characters in life-and-death situations. Ruta Sepetys, Out of Easy is another great historical fiction mystery that doesn’t feature the paranormal. But if paranormal historical fiction is what you want to stay with, give Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy a try.
Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian