Author: Laure Eve
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 1 September 2016
Rating: 1/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
TW: absent parents, character death, lesbophobia, biphobia, racism, slut shaming
Summary: Everyone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.
They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?
River is obsessed with the idea of becoming part of the Graces tightly knit family, as is nearly everybody else at this school. When Summer Grace, the shielded Goth-girl, asks her to come with her, River does. After attempting to put a love spell on Fenrin Grace, the hottest boy at school, she soon becomes friends with Summer. But River is not only obsessed with that family because of their celebrity status. No, she has a more sinister motive.
First of all, the story has a lot of similarities with Twilight. Girl moves to new school, girl fawns over ~mysterious~ celebrity-family, in which everybody is supernaturally good-looking, girl falls in love with mysterious hot boy, girl manages to become friends with said family because she is so special and different from all the other girls. *yawn*
Not only do we have a Mary Sue protagonist, who actually renames herself River Page to sound more mysterious, no, it gets worse:
There’s mean girl Niral (the only non-white character), who is very homophobic (she calls another girl a lesbian and makes fun of her bc of course lesbian is such a terrible word and such a terrible thing to be, this is never addressed) and slut-shames another character. Making your only non-white character a bully whose only goal is to be a complete and utter douche bag is questionable at best.
There’s a lot of racist slurs, f.e. g*psy is often used to describe someones fashion.
Biphobia, oh yes, my friends, it’s there. A character’s sexual orientation is used as a plot device for drama. It was terrible to read.
There’s also ableism against mentally ill people, some character say (non-criticised) that “you can’t be friends with someone with mental problems” and the main characters’ mother wants to force her daughter on pills to help her with the fact that her father disappeared, but of course, only weak people need to take pills or therapy to help with these things.
Oh and of course, she is so much better than all the other girls, she is much more special, she is the one who will get Fenrin to notice her, she is the one, and all other girls are terrible and horrible and ugly:
But I was not like those prattling, chattering things with their careful head tosses and thick, cloying lip gloss. Inside, buried down deep where no one could see it, was the core of me, burning endlessly, coal black and coal bright…
So Special!! And fake-deep. It’s be a while since I disliked a main character as much as I dislike River. Even her dialogue is boring and annoying, as she always overthinks what to say, so she can have witty dialogue with Fenrin. It’s all very pretentious and boring.
All in all I did not enjoy this book. It was boring, it dragged a lot, the main character’s superiority complex was boring and annoying, the bisexual plot twist is definitely not what I’m looking in when I say I want representation.