Happy book nerd all around!!!!!!!
Maria deserves the best, and the Cawdor Kingsley prize would mean the scholarship of her choice. It would be perfect.
The thing standing in their way? Queen bee Delilah Dufrey.
It wasn't meant to go down like this. But after that night with the Ouija board, nothing goes to plan.
They wanted Delilah out of the way, and they just might get it.
The central relationship is between two girlfriends, one of which is Latina, and the other of which is disabled.
The two main supporting characters are boyfriends Mateo (another Latinx character) and Brandon.
None of this feels forced, and none of the characters feel 2-dimensional.
As well as being diverse, it is a damn good horror/ghost story.
With enough nods to the original Macbeth to keep the bard lovers reading, Talley weaves a story full of creepy tension and layers of meaning.
Because there is some deep sh** going on beneath the surface here - themes of ambition, insecurity, and hypocrisy all feature.
And Talley doesn't shy away from the issues either.
Her characters face the sting of homophobia in a variety of forms, and the irritation of being the only people of colour (PoC) in the school and therefore used by the establishment as proof that the school has left its racist roots behind.
The achievements of Lily and Mateo are often put down to 'affirmative action' - despite how hard they work, they can never get full credit for what they've done; and this, understandably, makes Lily in particular pretty damned angry.
The way Talley deals with these issues is truly skilful. She neither belittles them, nor makes them the central point of the book. They are an aspect of a complex plot filled with complex characters.
Honestly, there's so many excellent points that I could make about this book that I couldn't possibly get to them all. You'll have to read it to find out ;)
What is up with minor characters Austin and Felicia, who clearly know a hell of lot more than they should? Why is the dining room such a focal point for the spirits? Is the woman really La Llorona, like Mateo thinks? I NEED MORE!
It would've also been a plus to up the exploration of the Brandon/Mateo and Lily/Maria relationships.
I felt like there was so much more space for development there, and was left slightly unsatisfied when this aspect didn't fulfil its potential.
I also found the ending slightly underwhelming. There was nothing wrong with it - I just felt like it needed more POW!
('POW!' is now officially a technical term. I've decided.)
There're some issues in this book that people may have trouble with, including (but not limited to,) - death, ghosts, homophobia, self-harm, suicide, drugs, and a disturbing lack of interest by the authorities in what is happening at this school.
I didn't notice any swearing, but the odd word might've snuck in there.
There's a lot of violence, blood, gore, and references to the sexy times.
If you don't like ghosts or horror, then maybe try a different book. ;)
Book, will you marry me? ;)
Update 27th Jan 2017 - In the interest of fairness and openness, here is a Goodreads review from a reviewer who had a lot of problems with the representation of various people in this book.
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