Author: Estelle Laure
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 14, 2020
A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.
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.
In 1987, Mayhem and her mother, Roxy, move back to Roxy’s hometown of Santa Maria. They are escaping Roxy’s abusive husband. Roxy has kept Mayhem away from her family for most of her life. She left her family after Mayhem’s father died tragically. Mayhem learns their family secrets while investigating a string of kidnappings.
There was a layer of magic to this story. Mayhem’s family, the Brayburns, have a mystical history involving the water in a special cave. The magical elements weren’t the main part of the story, but they enhanced the way that the kidnappings were investigated, and they gave the Brayburns a long family history.
There were some tough issues in this book. Mayhem and her mom were abused by her stepfather, causing them to return to Roxy’s family home. There was also a suicide and drug abuse. The addition of magic made these serious problems a little less catastrophic because it wasn’t happening in our reality.
This is a great story!
Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford
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.
Have you read Mayhem? What did you think of it?