Written by: Libba Bray
Number of Pages: 396
Average Rating: 3.6/5
My Rating: 4/5
Published: May 2011
Read in July 2017
Summary According to Goodreads
When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolic occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.
I have to be honest when writing this review, about 25% of the way through my ebook edition, I was considering giving up reading it. I was not engaged in the story or the characters, but felt an underlying later of potential that convinced me to power through. I ended up switching to the audiobook, and I am so glad I listened to that instinct!
The audiobook is narrated by Libba Bray herself, and it made it so much better. She brought so much life to these characters, and I think it was because she was reading characters that she created. She was engaged and gave each character (and there were many) a very distinct voice. This story is best enjoyed through audiobook because there was so much extra detail put into it - extra sound effects, transitions, and footnote inclusions to name a few.
Speaking of the footnotes, I do think they were a little overdone. When I was reading this on my ereader, I ended up ignoring the footnotes because it was so annoying having to flip through the pages to see what the footnote was. I know that this was probably because of the way the ebook was formatted, but it was something that took away from my overall reading experience.
The plot overlapped quite a bit and was a bit confusing to understand, but thankfully it was a very character-driven novel. I understood all of the Confederation aspects and how it translates to the climax, but I think it was a bit too much. It is just a light read that you don't have to think too much about, and for this reason think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read it a couple of years ago.
This novel touched on so many different themes and social issues, I don't think I'd even be able to name them all here. The most prominent ones were LGBTQIA, feminism and gender stereotypes, racial discrimination, self-love, disabilities, and friendship. Each of these characters were so different, but blended together to form a strong group. None of the characters were perfect, and although they did try to cast that image, they eventually came to terms with who they are and set more realistic expectations for themselves. I also really appreciated the epilogue and closure that it provided for all of the girls - I loved seeing how their future played out in such a fun way!
Overall, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by this novel. It will go down as one of my favourite audiobooks for sure! This was my first time reading this author, and I enjoyed her writing style enough to be interested in wanting to read The Diviners. I am sure she has grown as a writer since the publication of this six years ago, and I am looking forward to seeing her progress.