Set in New York during the roaring 20’s, Bray’s epic novel weaves together the lives of Evie, a flapper determined to find the “good” life, Memphis, a number’s runner with a powerful gift, Theta, a Ziegfeld girl running from her past, and many more. Evie, foremost in the cast of characters, is sent to live with her bachelor uncle in New York after a public embarrassment, and finds herself helping him with a murder investigation. Evie, who boasts the ability to “read” objects, must use her ability to help find the murderer, though a darker mystery looms in the near future.
This one was not my favorite. I had high hopes, as I know Libba Bray won the Printz for Going Bovine, but this was a real letdown. First of all, it’s incredibly long (578 pages). I don’t mind length if the story is really good, but Bray filled up most of these pages with back-story that wasn’t necessary to plot development, and lengthy descriptive prose. If I want to read a whole two pages about what the wind “feels”, I’ll pick up Dickens. Aside from wordiness, Bray also riddles the text with 1920’s slang. I think she was trying to add legitimacy, but the constant “-ski’s” and “pie face’s” got annoying. I just really expected better.
That said, once Bray finally got down to business, the murder mystery/serial killer hunting was fantastic. There were points that were really exciting, and I definitely wanted to see how the novel ended. The ending was another let-down, though. Oh well. As always, just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean you won’t, so if you’re a fan on the ’20’s, murder mysteries, or ghost stories, give this one a try!
This one has a great book trailer!
*YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013
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