There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding this book, and from what I was hearing, I expected to really enjoy this book. However, after reading this book, I’ve felt a little on the fence about it.
The Graces follows River, a 15 year old girl who has recently moved to a new town and a new school. She like everyone else in her school, becomes obsessed with the Graces. Three siblings who, according to rumor, are witches. River is determined to join them.
It was fast paced, and all in all a quick read for me. I found myself wanting to know where the story was going, and I read the last 200 pages in one sitting. However, those last 200 pages felt different in tone from the first 200 pages. The first half is mostly high school drama and getting to know the characters, the themes of witchcraft take a back seat. The second half felt much darker to me, secrets start to come out, at some point my anxiety was triggered – I’m going to try and separate those feelings from this review as much as is possible.
One thing I thought about quite a bit whilst reading this, was how much this book might have meant to my 15 year old self. I think there are some aspects of the main character that I would have really related to at that point in my life. Specifically how alone the main character feels and the way she reads to escape and another character uses music in much the same way. This theme of feeling like an outsider and wanting to belong runs throughout this book and is one of our main characters motivators. Since this is some thing so many people can relate to (myself included), it brings the reader closer to the characters.
The characters are a strength o
f this book, however perfect they may at first seem, are all flawed in there own ways. They all have distinct personalities, motivations and issues, which we learn about over the course of the book. This leads to some plot twists that took me by surprise.
I can’t talk too much about the things that I wasn’t a fan of in this book with out spoiling some things. I think some of my issues are due to me being older than the characters, there were some aspects I struggled to relate to. Additionally while I found myself not wanting to put the book down, I wasn’t always enjoying myself, but all things considered it was a clever story.
When I picked this up, I was under the impression that it was a standalone, I have since found out that there is at least one sequel. Considering the interesting place the story left off at, I will be interested to pick it up when it is released. Finally, the atmosphere of this book reminded me of The Craft quite a bit, and it did get me in the October/Halloween mood, so if that’s what you are looking for then I do recommend giving this a read. All in all, I eventually decided to rate this book 3.5 stars.