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- ISBN-13: 9780316126113
- ISBN-10: 031612611X
- Publisher: Little Brown & Co
- Publish Date: September 2012
- Page Count: 578
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
- Dimensions: 1.75 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.85 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-07-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Evie O’Neill has a neat-o party trick: she can uncover details about people by holding any object that belongs to them. After one too many tumblers of gin, she uses this skill to out the sexual misadventures of a prominent bachelor in her Ohio hometown, earning her immediate exile to Jazz Age New York City, where her professorial uncle runs a museum devoted to the occult. Naturally, Evie considers this punishment the luckiest break possible, until she realizes she’s arrived just as a demon spirit has been inadvertently released. A spree of grisly murders ensues, eventually necessitating the use of Evie’s special skill. Evie is fighting personal demons, as well, including the ghost of her dead older brother and a penchant for alcohol that gets her into continual trouble. Bray empties a wealth of topics into her complicated narrative—labor reform, a steampunkish robotics experiment, flapper culture, religious zealotry—but her trademark humor is less apparent. The large cast—a pickpocket with a missing mother, a Ziegfeld girl with Hollywood dreams, a Harlem numbers runner who longs to be a poet—ensures there’s plenty to write about in the sequels. Ages 15–up. (Sept.) ■
Flapper girls and phantoms
The lights and sounds of 1926 Manhattan burst to life in Printz Award-winner Libba Bray’s exciting new historical fantasy series.
When 17-year-old Evie O’Neill causes a scandal in her Ohio hometown, her parents banish her to Manhattan to live with her Uncle Will, a paranormal expert and curator at the failing Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. Evie is thrilled to sneak out to illicit nightclubs, drink “hooch” at speakeasies and drag her best friend into trouble every step of the way. When a young girl is sadistically murdered, the lead detective asks Uncle Will for help, but Evie discovers that as a Diviner (a person with supernatural abilities), she is the key to finding the killer.
Interwoven throughout Evie’s story are the lives of other Diviners. Memphis is a Harlem numbers-runner who can heal with his hands. Theta is a Ziegfeld girl with a violent gift. Sam is a hypnotic pickpocket who’s after Evie’s heart. None of them know about each other’s powers, but as the series progresses, these dynamic characters will come together to stop a growing evil.
Incredibly haunting and at times frightening, The Diviners is well researched and ambitious. The glitzy nightlife, the kitschy slang and the flapper-girl fashion all invoke the glamour of the Roaring ’20s. Readers will love Evie, a fearless and charming protagonist who lights up the book with her carefree attitude and sense of humor. This is Heroes meets the Jazz Age, and one could divine it will be the next big series in YA.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE
Read an interview with Libba Bray for The Diviners.