Author: Estelle Laure
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: July 14, 2020
The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else.
But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good.
But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
A Letter from the Author
Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.
I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.
I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.
Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and
I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.
Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.
About the Author
Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world.
“People are afraid of teenagers, but I think that’s only because kids can see through bullshit. Every revolution and social movement has started with teenagers, right?”
Much thanks to Sarah from Wednesday Books / St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to be a part of this tour. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own.
📚 Series? No.
📚 Genre? YA Fantasy Thriller
📚 POV? First person.
📚 Cliffhanger? No.
⚠ Content Warnings: Drug addiction. Murder. Assault. Rape. Domestic Violence.
⚠ Book Tags : Magic. Feminist. 80s.
The book is about:
Mayhem is a book set in the late 1980s about its lead character, Mayhem, and her family. At the start of the book, Mayhem and her mom rush to Santa Maria, California to escape her mom’s abusive partner. They live with her mom’s sister and the group of misfit kids that she lived with. Aside from this, Mayhem discovers that magic runs in her blood, and she weaves these skills to understand more about her life and fight against the abuse they endured.
What drew me in:
I was attracted to join the blog tour of this book because of the enticing blurb. Though it was pitched as Lost Boys meets Craft, I have no idea about both and was coming in blind. I loved the first few chapters and the author’s writing style drew me in.
Characters & connections:
I felt deeply connected with Mayhem and her mother. Their pain resonated in the book, especially since they sprung from the abuse they went through. Though it has elements of fantasy, this book can really hit where it hurts.
Everything I liked:
I liked the vibe of the book. All the references to the late 80s were a good addition. I especially love the homage to 80s horror styles and I also adored the diary entries scattered throughout the book that gave me a closer look at the story.
Mayhem delivered a unique meeting of a youthful mind with some really dark themes. The pacing slows at some point but was a great read overall because of the connection you get with the characters, as well as the magical factor of the story.
My Book Rating Breakdown
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Thrill: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
☁ FINAL VERDICT: 3.7/5 ☁
♡ Yna the Mood Reader ♡