The Diviners by Libba Bray
When seventeen-year-old Evie lets slip that a young man has made someone other than his girlfriend pregnant, all hell brakes loose. It’s 1926 and that sort of scandal that can ruin names and reputations. So Evie’s parents, presuming she’s lied for the attention, send her away to stay with her Uncle William in Manhattan until all the fuss calms down. If only they had asked her exactly how she knew about the pregnant woman, things may have gone very differently.
So she heads to Manhattan, excited to see the big city and striving to be someone, to see her name in lights. But soon after she arrives, a hideous murder is committed. A young girls body is found with ‘Harlot’ written on her forehead, with a strange marking on her chest and with her eyes removed. Evie insists on accompanying her Uncle Will to visit the crime scene, oblivious to just how gruesome it would be. As a lecturer and owner of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult, Will was the police’s first port of call to help understand the strange marking on her girl body. Shocked by the body, Evie stares and takes in the details. Noticing one of the victim’s shoes had come off, she reaches down to adjust it, when suddenly her ‘gift’ kicks in. By touching the girl’s shoe, Evie gets mental images of her terrible murder and hears an eerie song that sends shivers down her spine. She hadn’t meant to read the girls secrets but Evie has a gift, she’s a ‘Diviner, one of many. Some can see the future, read cards or heal but they’re all out there, trying to blend in. When Evie realises she could help to catch an evil killer, she tries to assist without exposing her gift but when they realise the killer is far eviler than any of them originally thought and she runs the risk of being sent home, she has no choice but to tell her Uncle Will everything.
The Diviners is a novel aimed at older teenagers due to occasionally gruesome details of the murders and it does touch on important matters of the era including racism, workers rights, abortion and sexism. This makes a refreshingly adult change to many YA books that concentrate solely on characters, without including the world that shapes them. Libba Bray makes you fall in love with 1920’s Manhattan, just as much as you fall in love with the headstrong Evie. She’s loud, flirtatious and wrapped up in her own world to the level of selfishness but you can’t help but understand her craving for more and need to break the rules every now and then. This is the perfect novel for teens on the verge of adult books or parents struggling what to get their ‘in-between’ aged child. With the perfect amount of action and gore to keep you gripped, enough glamour to keep you in love with the environment and fabulous characters that you just want to know more about, this novel ticks every box. My personal favourite of all the characters was Theta, a Ziegfeld showgirl with a troubled past and a gift that isn’t fully explained in this first of The Diviners series. Libba’s great descriptions create such great imagery that you will have all the characters crystal clear in your mind and it’s this great mix of people that leaves you wanting more. I really can’t wait for the next in the series!
Buy The Diviners by Libba Bray