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The Diviners Hardcover – September 18, 2012


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The Best Books of 2012
Best Books of 2012 This book has been selected by our editors as one of the Best Teen Books of 2012.

Product Details

  • Series: The Diviners
  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316126113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316126113
  • ASIN: 031612611X
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up-Set in 1920s New York City, this literary tour-de-force from Printz Award-winner Bray offers grand themes, complex characters, and suspense. After her secret gift for divining information from objects lands her in trouble, 17-year-old Evangeline O'Neill is sent from Ohio to live with her uncle, who runs a museum specializing in folklore and the occult in Manhattan. Evie is a quintessential flapper: not really bad, but rebellious and yearning to fly free of her Babbitt-like existence. Although she starts out her new life like the party girl she was back home, her pursuits become more serious when her uncle is asked to help solve a series of strange murders. She crosses paths with Memphis Campbell, a black numbers runner in Harlem, whose power to heal by laying on hands failed him when he tried to save his mother. Other characters include a homosexual composer who meets people in dreams, a Ziegfeld girl with a past, a pickpocket searching for his family, and a young research assistant with his own secrets. Bray develops each of these characters and their gifts, gradually bringing them together in a chilling and thrilling battle with Naughty John, a paranormal serial killer. Over the course of the novel, people (mainly good) smoke, drink, and use other illegal substances. These peccadilloes are contrasted with the values of the hellfire-and-brimstone cult that spawned Naughty John. The compelling and dramatic supernatural plot explores self-actualization, predestination, the secrets everyone hides, and, of course, good versus evil. An absolutely terrific read and, thankfully, the first in a planned series.-Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, MEα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

* "1920s New York thrums with giddy life in this gripping first in a new [series] from Printz winner Bray...The intricate plot and magnificently imagined details of character, dialogue and setting take hold and don't let go. Not to be missed."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "The compelling and dramatic supernatural plot explores self-actualization, predestination, the secrets everyone hides, and, of course, good versus evil. An absolutely terrific read and, thankfully, the first in a planned series."
School Library Journal, starred review

"The Diviners delivers an addictive and terrifying story of young New Yorkers investigating a rash of occult-based murders. Bray sustains a breathless energy throughout this ambitious series-starter, deftly evoking the exuberance of 1920s city life and the evil lurking beneath it."—Entertainment Weekly

" [A] lavish supernatural thriller...Wisecracking Evie is a likable heroine, and all signs point to intriguing complications and more malevolent spirits on the rise in succeeding books."
The Horn Book

More About the Author

author spotlight
"I'm one of those people who has to write. If I don't write, I feel itchy and depressed and cranky. So everybody's glad when I write and stop complaining already."-Libba Bray

Libba Bray is the author of the acclaimed A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What is it about writing an author bio that gives me that deer-in-headlights feeling? It's not exactly like I'm going to say "I was born in Alabama..." and somebody's going to jump up and snarl, "Oh yeah? Prove it!" At least I hope not.

I think what gets me feeling itchy is all that emphasis on the facts of a life, while all the juicy, relevant, human oddity stuff gets left on the cutting room floor. I could tell you the facts-I lived in Texas for most of my life; I live in New York City with my husband and five-year-old son now; I have freckles and a lopsided smile; I'm allergic to penicillin.

But that doesn't really give you much insight into me. That doesn't tell you that I stuck a bead up my nose while watching TV when I was four and thought I'd have to go to the ER and have it cut out. Or that I once sang a punk version of "Que Sera Sera" onstage in New York City. Or that I made everyone call me "Bert" in ninth grade for no reason that I can think of. See what I mean?

God is in the details. So with that in mind, here is my bio. Sort of.

TWENTY-ONE THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME
by Libba Bray

1. I lived in Texas until I was 26 years old, then I moved to New York City with $600.00 in my shoe ('cause muggers won't take it out of your shoe, y'know . . . riiiiight . . .) and a punchbowl (my grandmother's gift) under my arm. I ended up using the punchbowl box as an end table for two years.

2. My dad was a Presbyterian minister. Yes, I am one of those dreaded P.K.s-Preacher's Kids. Be afraid. Be very afraid . . .

3. The first story I ever wrote, in Mrs. McBee's 6th grade English class, was about a girl whose family is kidnapped and held hostage by a murderous lot of bank robbers who intend to kill the whole family-including the dog-until the 12-year-old heroine foils the plot and saves the day. It included colored pencil illustrations of manly-looking, bearded criminals smoking, and, oblivious to the fact that The Beatles had already sort of laid claim to the title, I called my novel, HELP. My mom still has a copy. And when I do something she doesn't like, she threatens to find it.

4. My favorite word is "redemption." I like both its meaning and the sound. My least favorite word is "maybe." "Maybe" is almost always a "no" drawn out in cruel fashion.

5. My three worst habits are overeating, self-doubt, and the frequent use of the "f" word.

6. The three things I like best about myself are my sense of humor, my ability to listen, and my imagination.

7. I have an artificial left eye. I lost my real eye in a car accident when I was eighteen. In fact, I had to have my entire face rebuilt because I smashed it up pretty good. It took six years and thirteen surgeries. However, I did have the pleasure of freezing a plastic eyeball in an ice cube, putting it in a friend's drink, ("Eyeball in your highball?") and watching him freak completely. Okay, so maybe that's not going down on my good karma record. But it sure was fun.

8. In 7th grade, my three best friends and I dressed up as KISS and walked around our neighborhood on Halloween. Man, we were such dorks.

9. I once spent New Year's Eve in a wetsuit. I'd gone to the party in a black dress that was a little too tight (too many holiday cookies) and when I went to sit down, the dress ripped up the back completely. Can we all say, mortified? The problem was, my friends were moving out of their house-everything was packed and on a truck-and there was nothing I could put on . . . but a wetsuit that they still had tacked to the wall. I spent the rest of the party maneuvering through throngs of people feeling like a giant squid.

10. I got married in Florence, Italy. My husband and I were in love but totally broke, so we eloped and got married in Italy, where he was going on a business trip. We had to pull a guy off the street to be our witness. It was incredibly romantic. Florence is still one of my favorite cities in the world.

11. I often write in longhand and type it into the computer later, editing as I go. Sitting in my favorite coffeehouse with a new notebook and a hot cup of java is my idea of heaven.

12. I'm related to Davy Crockett on my mom's side. Honest.

13. I grew up doing theatre and spent a long time as a playwright. I still think very visually when I write.

14. Some of my favorite movies of all time (subject to change when I think of other movies I love) are All About Eve, Brazil, Blade Runner, Spinal Tap, Citizen Kane, Harold & Maude, To Kill a Mockingbird, Singin' in the Rain, and probably a million more that I can't think of right now. I have never made it through The Wizard of Oz without crying. Not once.

15. Naming my favorite books feels like naming a favorite child-impossible. But here's my list of some Y.A. books I love as of 4:03pm today. Tithe by Holly Black. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. 33 Snowfish by Adam Rapp. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (not really Y.A. but I read it when I was 16 and it rocked my world). Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Here's what's on my nightstand to read: The First Part Last by Angela Johnson. Acceleration by Graham McNamee. The Literary Opus of Daniel Elam by Daniel Elam. By the Time You Finish this Book You Might Be Dead by Aaron Zimmerman.

16. I love to be scared. Not "hey, I think I smell smoke . . ." scared, but creepy, paranoid, what's-that-out-there-in-the-dark, ghost story scared. It's no surprise that I was the girl who got invited to the slumber parties because I could be counted on to tell a tale to scare the bejesus out of you.

17. In homage to a book I just read entitled, FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, I submit: The first boy who broke my heart (age 6) didn't want to sit next to me because I'd wet my pants in reading circle once and he thought I was gross. Damn my small bladder! The second boy who broke my heart (age 16) was a drummer with a band (the start of a trend, folks...) and he threw me over for a really cool chick I couldn't even bring myself to hate. The third boy who broke my heart (ages 20--24, ay yi yi . . .) was a strapping hunk of bodaciousness with the mind of Einstein. We had the exact same birthday, same year and everything. So the time he forgot to wish me a happy birthday was kind of the beginning of the end, I think. The fourth boy who broke my heart (age 25) was also a drummer. I had to stop with the drummers. The fifth boy . . . well, I married him, and if he breaks my heart, I'm going to burn all his favorite, rare import punk vinyl in the middle of the living room, so he's been warned.

18. I'm one of those people who has to write. If I don't write, I feel itchy and depressed and cranky. So everybody's glad when I write and stop complaining already.

19. My Pennsylvania Dutch great-great-great grandmother was supposedly a psychic who could see and speak to the dead. Sort of a witch, I guess. Her husband was an undertaker, and she would have these visions of someone bringing in a string of a particular size (people were measured for their coffins in this way) and it would come true. Creepy stuff, but fascinating.

20. If I were stuck on a deserted island, the five indispensable CDs I'd take would be London Calling by the Clash, Quadrophenia by The Who, Aretha Franklin's Greatest Hits, To Venus and Back by Tori Amos, and Elvis Costello's Greatest Hits.

21. I hate doughnuts. Weird but true.

Customer Reviews

In the end, I really liked her as the heroine of the book.
J. L. Tow
I've been a Libba Bray fan for years; the Gemma Doyle trilogy remains one of my favorite series so I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Diviners.
Adriana Olivares
Libba Bray does such a wonderful job creating a very dark atmosphere and develops these characters at a perfect pace.
M. Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Intelligent, complex and historically accurate, The Diviners in a riveting tale that plumbs the depths of human wickedness brought about by religious fanaticism and fascination with the occult. The blend of tension, charm, creepiness, atmosphere and characterization come together to ensure this to be an absorbing and intellectually stimulating experience. This is an absolutely phenomenal book and one of the best of the year thus far. An indisputable must-read for anyone who enjoys a thoroughly bone-chilling story set against well researched historical backdrop.

Set in the Roaring Twenties in New York City, The Diviners tells the story of a group of young people investigating a series of gruesome occult-based murders. Something dark and powerful has been unleashed in New York, an evil force determined to bring about an apocalypse. People are being murdered - their body parts missing - and it all seems to follow a very disturbing pattern suggesting that the murderer is trying to finish a dark ritual started many years ago. A ritual that will unleash hell on earth and destroy everything. When Evie is shipped off to New York to live with her Uncle Will, the last thing she expects is to find herself right in the middle of a terrifying murder case. Instead of attending glamorous parties and enjoying vibrant New York life, she now has to deal with a psycho-ghost intent on carrying out his evil plan. Will her special powers help catch the killer? Or will the killer get to her first?

Evie (or as Theta calls her, Evil) is a fascinating character. Bold, attention-loving, dauntless, unpredictable, loud-mouthed and quick-witted, she's an unstoppable force, a real tornado of a girl. She's a troublemaker.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amanda TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
So, I never read Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy (there's many a friend, book blogger and book addict who would tell me that I'm missing out), but I did read her book Beauty Queens, which sent me rolling on the floor with laughter. I just could not get over the sheer wit and utter ridiculous satirical nature of that book. From that moment on I was hooked. I had to devour every future Bray title. Now, I was a little surprised when I saw that her new series, The Diviners, was more of a historical fiction novel mixed with the supernatural -but it sounded like so much fun, so I couldn't say no.

In The Diviners, readers are introduced to young Evie O'Neill, a recent transplant from small-town Ohio to the glamorous world of 1920s New York, who has come to live with her uncle at a rather strange museum known as The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. Soon after settling into her new life, Evie falls in with a rather...unorthodox crowd -an ambitious Ziegfried Follies girl named Theta who is hiding a dark past, a mysterious student known as Jericho, and a young African-American man named Memphis who is battling the prejudices of the time. After a string of occult-based murders sets off a city-wide panic (and media frenzy) Evie and her uncle are brought in to help solve the case, and it is only with the help of Evie's new friends (and her strange abilities) that the mystery can be solved.

Wow. Just wow -I think that's the first thing that comes to mind when I think back on this book. It was freaking amazing. Just completely engrossing, incredibly well-written and offered an elaborate maze of twists and turns that kept me glued to every single page!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By thehydrogenpoptart on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan's Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.

A Quick Synopsis: Evangeline O'Neill has been exiled from her idyllic hometown of Zenith, Ohio and shipped off to New York City. The time is 1926, a time filled with new theater breakthroughs and secret speakeasies, set against a hustling and bustling background. Living with her Uncle Will, who has an obsession with the occult, Evie worries he'll discover her secret power that got her banished from Ohio in the first place. But it just so happens that her power could help catch a serial killer that's just begun terrorizing New York City recently. As Evie takes on the challenge of defeating the killer, can her New York friends help her complete the task?

The Review: I've always known Libba Bray as an extremely original and adaptable author. What other author can you name that follows up a Victorian historical trilogy with a book about mad cow disease with a trashy role model? And then, don't even mention the fact that she followed THAT up with a satirical novel about "beauty queens"...Unfortunately, though, I've also always known Ms. Bray as an author who takes a relatively long time to release novels. So as I combed through the pages of Amazon, not expecting another Libba Bray book until 2013, The Diviners smacked me in the face, and I could not have been more delighted to know that I would not have to wait so long.

Libba Bray returns to the genre she debuted in, historical fiction with a flair of the supernatural, with The Diviners.
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