What is YA Lit Party? Reviews of YA from an actual, real-life Young Adult. (I mean, who else would you ask? The crusty Gen-Xer who runs this blog?) This series of YA book reviews is for you if you are a parent looking for something quality for your bookish teen, or just, like us, obsessed with finding the next great YA novel.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
We all love to play games, maybe sometimes games with a dash of danger and daring mixed in. If you are a thrill seeker, adrenaline junkie, or just a big YA nerd like me, here are reasons why you should be reading Stephanie Garber’s newest novel and start fangirling.
WARNING: This book is highly addictive, and it is likely that you may suffer from lack of sleep, just like the author of this review, who read this book into the early morning when she had school the next day.
With YA, we’ve heard it all right? Teenager lives normal/repressed life, finds renewed purpose, finds someone who sees their unique qualities, main character falls in love with soul mate, and the end. Nope, that’s not Stephanie Garber. She will mess you up so bad the whole time you are reading this book, you honestly will be lost on where the plot will lead you next. Seriously. I can promise you it does NOT slow down even in the last 50 pages.
Now let’s get started on a basic summary. So there’s Scarlett Dragna (what a cool last name) and her sister Tella Dragna. They live on an island with their abusive father who is the definition of a control freak. You find out in the beginning of the novel that their father enjoys punishing the other sister when one sister misbehaves. Now that is flippin’ messed up. Worse, the girls don’t have a mother figure in their lives, and they mostly rely on each other for guidance. The girls make the best dynamic duo, though I think I’m biased because I have a younger sister, and our friendship reminds me a lot of Scarlett and Tella’s relationship. I digress. Scarlett daydreams a lot about leaving the island, specifically to Caraval, a mysterious island where audience members are encouraged to participate in a game to win a wish. The book opens with a series of letters that Scarlett has written to Legend, the master of Caraval. The letters are mostly cathartic, as Scarlett doesn’t expect to receive an invitation, until she does. (SUPRISE SUPRISE!) Scarlett, being the older sister, is worried about accepting the invitation with her sister. Her sister, rebellious and fiery, “convinces” Scarlett to sail off with a morally ambiguous sailor to Caraval. Only, when Scarlett gets to the island, the game is not as simple as she thought. Her sister Tella has been kidnapped by Legend himself, and the winner has to find her first. (DUN DUN DUN!) All along the way, while Scarlett is desperately trying to find her sister, she is told that the game of Caraval isn’t real. Or is it? The deeper she goes, lines between magic and reality blur where Scarlett is suddenly in very real danger of losing her own heart and her beloved sister.
Whooohooo heavy stuff. I rate this book an 11/10 because this plot, like I said earlier, is the best worst emotional roller coaster ever. If you also have a sister share this book with them and read it together. Sisters will go far for each other. #sistapower. Also, I haven’t mentioned yet how Garber has the most beautiful writing style. The plot can be magical, but it takes a true writer to spin magic with every word. She does that and so much more. I snuggled into the pages like a warm blanket. It feels like home. A scary magical emotional home. I don’t know if that makes sense. It made sense in my head.
Anywho! I hope that you all loved reading my review, and now after reading my rambling, GO READ THE BOOK. #staylit Don’t forget to comment how you liked the book!