Overall Score: 7/10
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Book Summary (From NetGalley)
When a glamorous family of teenage witches brings a mysterious new girl into their fold, they unwittingly nurture a powerful black magic that could destroy them all. This paranormal YA fantasy features intrigue, spells, and a devastating twist. 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. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.
When I put this book down after finishing it, I had no idea how I felt about it. I couldn’t even decide if I liked it or not. I’ve been thinking about it for two weeks now and I think that is itself a testament to this novel. Very few books I’ve read lately have made me think as much as this one did. Parts of it read a little like Mean Girls, parts like a thriller, and then the ending made me reevaluate everything I thought I knew about every single character.
The Graces are the three most popular high schoolers and River, whose family just moved to the area after losing her father, wants desperately to fit in with them. The high school dynamics were spot-on (from the inner thoughts about fitting in to the “oh my god, did I mess something up?”) and really made the story come alive. Most of the parts of the book set in the high school itself felt like Mean Girls but with a magical twist.
Having the characters themselves question the existence of magic even as they are performing was a unique aspect to the novel. Each character had their own view on the magic of the family and seeing how those interacted made this novel unique to me. Additionally, the family dynamics added another layer to the novel as the Graces definitely had more going on than they would ever show outsiders, including River.
The ending was absolutely superb. I don’t want to ruin it for anybody but I can’t wait for the second book to see how everything develops and what happens next. Some things did seem to come out of nowhere but the concept of secrets was so embedded in the novel that it wasn’t surprising that there were important things the reader was unaware of. While there were aspects to this book that I wasn’t a huge fan of, I am hooked.