Kwentillion YARC Book Spotlight: “The Diviners” by Libba Bray

The 1st Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival is happening this Saturday, July 21st!

As part of the run-up to the event, I was asked to write a book spotlight for an upcoming YA title, and here’s my pick:


Author: Libba Bray
Publication Date: 18 September 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

What’s is it about?

It’s the Roaring Twenties, and seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill just moved from a small town in Ohio to swanky, bustling New York City. In the midst of all the glamour and speakeasies and sparkly headbands, Evie has to live with her strange Uncle Will, who curates the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies…Uhmm, sorry, he curates the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. (Whew.)

Evie eventually settles in to her new life with her new friends—a multi-racial bunch with intriguing histories. There’s poet Memphis, who has to deal with racial prejudice and family issues; chorus girl Theta, who has a dark past; and the mysterious Jericho.

When a string of occult-based murders comes to light and spooks the entire city (and who could blame them when there are stolen body parts and scary cults involved), Evie and her uncle are called in to help with the investigation. Evie and her friends soon discover that they each have strange powers that they can harness to help catch the killer and to defeat an ancient evil that is on the rise.

“The Diviners” is the first book in a four-part series of the same name. It’s already been optioned to be made into a film by producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the brains behind hit television series “The O.C.,” “Chuck,” and “Gossip Girl.”

Why I’m excited about it

Libba Bray is well known among readers as an author who can take the quirkiest story ideas—a young man dying of mad cow disease goes traveling with a talking lawn gnome who has a god-complex, teen beauty queens get stranded on an island and have to fend for themselves—and run away with it. A book like “The Diviners” definitely sounds like something which will showcase Bray’s writing talents. She’s no stranger to teens with powers, mysterious new friends or cults, so if there’s anyone who can churn out a hilarious, witty, snarky, occasionally satirical and over-the-top novel out of the basic premise of a girl trying to solve a strange serial murder case, it’s Libba Bray.

Bray is also particularly skilled at bringing settings to life. Her debut novel, “A Great and Terrible Beauty,” wouldn’t be as good if she didn’t succeed in making readers feel like they’re in Victorian England or its parallel fantasy world; “Going Bovine” wouldn’t be as fun if one didn’t feel like they were going on a cross-country road trip; and where would “Beauty Queens” be without that Evil Corporation-Owned Tropical Island of Crazy? It would be a treat to read her take on 1920s New York and its vibrant culture.

This also marks Bray’s first foray into crime, serial killers, and the overtly paranormal, so it will be interesting to see how she will handle those aspects of the book.

The Diviners will be available in National Book Store outlets come September 2012. In the meantime, join us at the Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival on July 21st! 😉

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