Published on September 6, 2016 by Amulet Books
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
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In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.
Alright, so who decided to bring back Twilight?
Of all the things I hoped for when I started The Graces, that certainly didn’t make the original list. Thankfully, after finishing and reading other reviews I saw I wasn’t the only one to see the similarities, and that’s not even all of it.
Yes, there’s more…and I can’t say it’s all good either.
The Graces is told from the unreliable unnamed protagonist who re-creates herself as River Page (her original name is never given). She’s obsessed with the Graces, three siblings who have an unusual way of captivating not just the school but the entire town. They’re from money, secretive, and have plenty of rumors flying about to keep everyone gossiping. And River is obsessed, like stalker-level, with them as she swoons over the gorgeous Fenrin and befriends his two sisters Thalia and Summer.
First off, I hated River. I don’t often dislike the protagonist to the extent that I didn’t like her. She’s not only unreliable and confusing to follow (which may have been intentional?) but all she does is obsess over the Graces. They’re literally her entire world. If she’s not talking to them or about how great they are, she’s questioning how she might mess up whatever interactions they may have. And her own past is shrouded in so many layers of convoluted half-truths and lies that I couldn’t even find her remotely relatable.
The Graces are slightly more interesting, supposedly witches who’ve cast their spell on the town. But they’re hard to connect with because we see everything through River’s eyes and it puts the Graces at a distance. She aspires to be friends with them, to be them, but it masks their actual personalities. Fenrin is the stock handsome one that all the girls fawn over (but River claims to be unaffected by though we know otherwise despite her narrations). Thalis is cool and comes off as being on a whole other level of maturity. And Summer is the rebel goth girl everyone’s half afraid of, half enthralled by. Beyond that there was little depth to their personalities.
And the plot really doesn’t help because, frankly, there isn’t much of one. River stalks the Graces. One befriends her. She becomes more obsessed, integrating into their lives. Things go south. Big predictable twist. Still questions unanswered to leave room for a sequel.
I didn’t keep reading for the plot or the characters. Neither did much for me. I read for the idea of magic that filled each page. River believed, like the rest of the school, the town, that the Graces were witches. The Graces didn’t necessarily counter the rumors and did their own “spells” to no effect. And there’s something not quite right around River that might be magic or perhaps horrid coincidence. And it’s never explicitly answered. I wanted something concrete to come from it other than speculation but never really got that and instead of leaving me wanting for another installment, I felt unsatisfied with the whole book and far from eager to continue with the series.
The Graces just wasn’t working for me despite the good I’ve heard of it. I wanted to like it but found it difficult with so many different points to counter my enjoyment. Not the book for me.