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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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The Diviners

The Diviners - Libba Bray This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: Not quite sure on this one. It certainly didn't attract me upon the release. I only put this one on my list after reading several rave reviews. I like the purple background of the city, but the image in front doesn't quite seem to fit with it.The Gist: On the heels of an incident involving a wealthy playboy and a little too much honesty, Evie O'Neill has been sent to New York to live with her uncle and aid him in the running of his museum. When a murderer starts depositing bodies around the city bearing mysterious markings, The Museum of Creepy Crawlies is thrust into the limelight and Evie embarks on a dangerous investigation that will bring her further into the occult, and into danger, than she ever thought possible.Review: The Diviners is set in the 1920s. The setting plays such a strong role that it begins to behave as another character - a character that hogs spotlight and spouts and endless stream of dialogue. In the beginning, it is a charming and useful means of orientation. However, as the novel continues, and the slang and explanations or 20s customs begin slow the plot, it becomes incredibly tedious. As I got further and further into the book (and begin to note the sheer girth of the novel) I began to question whether 90% of it was necessary. In addition to the wordiness of the author there was an issue with the size of the cast. Evie is a fun character, as were her friends, Mabel and Theta. I think I would have much preferred if the novel has simply followed them through this mystery. Instead, however, it jumps through countless characters and scenes in what soon becomes a dizzying game of "where the heck are we now?" I kept waiting for the characters to find one another and form new superhero group who takes on demons and ghosts but SPOILER ALERT they never do!The mystery was solid and the deaths were scary to read. These scenes were among the most enjoyable for me (at least in a cringeworthy way). I was a little disappointed when the big baddie didn't turn out to have manifested or possessed a real person, but I could easily have gotten over that if there has been a few more answered questions. The Diviners ends, the bad guy is gone (ish), but there are many plot lines left hanging. I am as yet unsure whether or not I will return for the next in this series.Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 15 and upGender: BothSex: Kissing, SexViolence: Gunplay, Murder, DismembermentInappropriate Language: Whore, BitchSubstance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Marijuana UseOther Issues: Abortion, Suicide, Spousal Abuse