Author: Laure EveEdition: eARC courtesy of NetgalleyRelease Date: September 6th, 2016Rating: 5 Stars
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
This book is just WOW. I mean, I was excited to read it once I heard it existed, but I never expected to be completely blown away by this book. If I had to compare it to something tangible, I'd say it's a heady and sweet smelling candle that you can smell even in your dreams.
The Graces is about River, the new girl in town, and the Graces, a rich family that the whole town seems obsessed with. And, according to local legend and the gossip at school, they're witches. Thalia Grace (LOL I know she shares her name with the Percy Jackson character), Fenrin Grace, and Summer Grace are the most popular, most beautiful, and most lusted after kids at their school. They rarely have friends, and when they do they're disposable friends. And then River and Summer connect and suddenly they're best friends. But River has a secret motivation for wanting to get in with the Graces...
My favorite sort of narrator is the unreliable one, and River definitely fits into this category. We know from pretty much the first page that what River is telling the reader probably isn't the whole story. We also know that she's not perfect at telling this story. The whole book revolves around the idea of whether magic is real or not, and what it means if it is or it isn't. River is convinced that it's real and that the Graces are witches, but the reader is only acquainted with coincidences that may or may not be the result of spell casting, so everything is cast in this beautiful shade of doubt and suspect. The story does wrap up with answers, though, so don't worry about being left hanging even though it's only the first book in a duology.
The characters are all wonderfully done. They come off the page with such realism! And I will admit, I wished I was a Grace half the time I was reading it. Every character is painted in shades of black, white, and gray which is delightful. As much as you love them you hate them. Rarely do I read characters that are at once heroes and anti-heroes.
Plot-wise things meander and wander and slowly come to a dramatic and breathtaking climax I never saw coming. All that wandering that the middle takes, the small things that make the book perfect an beautiful, all come back to haunt at the end and it's fantastic. Besides focusing on magic the book places a huge emphasis on friendship, with female friendship being the spotlight. A lot of the questions asked involve what it means to be a good friend and how you find your real friends, especially in high school. There's a little romance but it's handled with care and a very curious twist (that really ties into the gray-area-ness of the characters).
TL;DR? Basically, this is one of those books that's going to haunt me forever and is perfect for fans of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and The Mermaid's Sister.