The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
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The Diviners (The Diviners #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  23,021 ratings  ·  4,160 reviews
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover he...more
Hardcover, 578 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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57th out of 1,255 books — 9,969 voters
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Community Reviews

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Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*

So yeah, basically this book left me like this:

I've been a die-hard Libba Bray fan ever since the fabulous Gemma Doyle books. I also loved the insane, bizarre adventure of Going Bovine. And Beauty Queens was hilarious––although I thought it was a bit lacking in the usual strong storytelling element that Bray's other books have. However, that element is back again in The Diviners.

I just about died of happiness when I first heard of this book. I adore Libba Bray, and I...more
I don’t know how else to describe The Diviners except to say it’s pretty clear when reading this that Libba Bray set out to write a quintessentially American novel, and - good and bad - she’s succeeded. She may insist no historians were harmed in the writing of her book, but I just don’t see how she’s mastered such command of American history, not just through the facts, but through the way she captures the American experience, that she didn’t torture it out of someone. But just like America, th...more
Emily May
There is love. Oh, there is so much love that I am having for this book and Ms Bray right now. Even taking the length into account, this novel took me longer than usual to read because I had to read everything more than once and swoon for a little bit before I could move on. I am thrilled to hear that there will be a sequel.

If I were to write a novel, I wouldn't want to hear claims like "this is the next Hunger Games (or Twilight or Harry Potter)" but I think one of the greatest compliments must...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
May 16, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I don't.
Recommended to Carol. [All cynic, all the time] by: I don't hate you. Honest.

"Ms. Bray, I have an idea for your next book."
"Well, the researcher who worked on The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York left some notes lying in the library, and someone I know swiped 'em."
"Perfect! What should we make it about?"
"Hmm, not sure. Let's workshop it."
"Okay. Target audience?"
"Well, you have some cred in Young Adult, and the field is on fire. If we make it about a 17 year-old and her friends, we can draw in the pre-teens and the...more
While The Diviners isn’t my first book by Libba Bray, it certainly is the one that impressed me the most. Bray has a distinct talent for vivid storytelling and that much is true in her wonderful portrayal of the bustling, fast-progressing nature of life in New York during the roaring twenties. The flappers, the radio mania, the clubs, the alcohol – it was all beautifully and subtly integrated into the book, creating an easily felt atmosphere. I’m not a linguistic expert, but the twenties-esque w...more
This book irritated the crap out of me.

I gave it 3 stars, but it hovers around the 2.5 mark for me. While I enjoyed the story and it held my interest throughout, the cutesy vernacular made me insane and ruined it for me.

This book is set in the 1920’s when prohibition was in full swing and you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a bobbed haired flapper girl. Evie (said flapper) was sent away from her fake Ohio town of Zenith to New York City, after a party game showing off her divining power a...more
"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones."

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

My initial rating given to The Diviners was a full, glowing five stars, five stars being the knee-jerk rating I give to books I love. However, sometimes, when writing a review for the books I give five stars (or really any other rating), I realize that there were some certain things in the book I'm reviewing that would result in me takin...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
The Diviners is my first book by Libba Bray, but I can tell you right now that it won’t be my last. I’m thrilled to have discovered another YA author of such talent and prominence. I would have given her a chance even before now, especially considering all the raving reviews written by my most trusted friends, but I simply never got around to it. Fortunately, she left me no choice with The Diviners. New York in the 1920s was impossible to resist.

I’ll start with my favorite part – the setting. L...more
The Diviners is, without a doubt, my favorite Libba Bray novel - and I've read all of them except for The Beauty Queens which I didn't get time to finish but which I fully intend to as I loved the few chapters I read of it. I am, truly, a self-proclaimed Libba Bray fan. I know her Gemma Doyle Trilogy had its flaws, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I remember it changed my perspective of literature at that time quite drastically. The Diviners on the other hand, contains no flaws. Well, to be hones...more
Two stars is a shockingly low rating, I know. Sorry bout it.

Here is a list I've composed, honestly expressing why I didn't enjoy this book. I'm guessing not all of my complaints will seem significant to you, so bear that in mind.

1. Right off the bat I have to admit that the biggest negative factor for me is the character of Naughty John. He was effectively creepy, scary, and haunting to read about, so I'm sure many of you will find him to be a positive factor-- but for me Ms. Bray crossed some...more
Phew. Finishing this book feels like an achievement. At a whooping 600 pages, The Diviners is a an exercise in arm strength to simply read it, but it's absolutely worth it. Work those arms people! Historical novels not being my thing, I was a bit concerned that I was getting into a monster of a book that would bore me to death. I had nothing to worry about, however, when only with a few mere pages, Libba had created an intensely creepy and atmospheric setting that promised to disturb, to captiva...more
This is actually my sixth Libba Bray book (although I never quite made it through Going Bovine). It’s also the sixth book of hers that I’ve liked but haven’t loved. I’m not sure why I keep coming back. I think that Libba Bray is a hilarious person, a talented writer, and I agree with pretty much all of the views she writes about (most entertainingly) on her blog. And yet, I never seem to connect with her books.

It’s hard to pinpoint one precise reason why this disconnect keeps cropping up, but on...more
This book was sort of like the TV show Heroes but set in 1920's New York City and instead of super-powers per se the characters have paranormal powers, like clairvoyance and healing.

It's also the first book in a series, which I think I knew when I started to read the book, but about two thirds of the way through it dawned on me that this really is the first book in a series and most of the book is like the first season of Heroes, there is an over arching villainous story-line but most of the na...more
Mohammed Arabey
..Finally released from 'Starbucks' before midnight, I was a prisoner of the last pages of The Diviners, and the heavy rain that hit Alexandria that evening..But as I get off the doors, Everything was different....
I was facing the Alexandria's famous Sea Corniche adorned with the cafes' lights and wet streets no more, even the yellow cabs changed into another old models..There's speakeasy and theater lights instead ,but the wet streets was still the same..and The Storm was yet to come....Well..
These are the difficult reviews to write. When you just can’t connect with a story that most everyone else seems to love. This one has all the right elements.

1926 New York with speakeasies, flappers, glitter and temperance. Seventeen year old Evie O’Neill has just arrived to stay with her Uncle who runs The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. When a body, branded with a cryptic symbol is found her Uncle, who has a well informed obsession with the occult, is called in and Evie tags along. But Evie ha...more
I'll be honest, guys: I was really, really worried about this one. After being disappointed and slightly embarrassed by Beauty Queens, I was worried that Libba Bray had lost it.

But I should have known better. This is the woman who wrote A Great and Terrible Beauty, a historic fiction/supernatural series about teens with magic powers; and Going Bovine, a book about a teenager trying to stop the end of the world. Once I realized that The Diviners was going to be a historic fiction/supernatural thr...more
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers


Ana's Take:

New York City in the roaring twenties is the setting for The Diviners. In it, an extremely diverse cast of characters experience life in NY with its modernity, its speakeasies, its movies palaces and the theatre. They also grapple with the mysterious and the uncanny: quite a few of them have unnatural senses or gifts that stretch the imagination.

Evie O’Neill is the book’s main character, if you will. She’s been exiled from her hometown...more
“There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he's right.”

The Diviners is a very impressive book. It had all my favorite elements! Supernatural beliefs, the story was set in the 1920's and it had brilliant characters.
The story is about superstition, beliefs, religion and hope. In New York everyone is different and everyone is running away from their past.


I took a long time with this book and I read certain pages again and again just to swoon at Libba Bray's writ...more
Tamora Pierce
What a cool ride! Set in New York during the Roaring Twenties, it features Evie, a daring flapper from Ohio who has a talent for learning things from the objects she holds. Then there's Memphis, a Harlem numbers runner who once was able to heal people, his little brother Isaiah, who is a prophet, and Theta, a Ziegfeld showgirl, who can do things with her mind. They and others with powers of divination--diviners all--are caught up in a series of murders that could end in the destruction of all th...more
Khanh (Kittens, Rainbows, and Sunshine)
The heroine was intolerably stupid, annoying, attention-seeking, and inconsiderate. She grated on my nerves so badly, I can barely bring myself to read on. I find Libba Bray's writing style for this book completely unreadable. I have a strong suspicion she read a reference guide to using slang during the Flapper era and made it her personal goal to use as much speakeasy language as possible in every single spoken sentence.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
I have to give it to Libba Bray. She captured the Roaring 20s in full color. I can tell she put some serious research into this book, but also endowed this period with her own spark and brought it to life for this reader.

This was an odyssey in some ways. A long read, and a long listen. Thinking about this book gives me an ambivalent feeling. The subject matter is very dark. The tone quite pessimistic. I realize that this is the authentic feeling of youngsters of this period. How can you believe...more
I really didn’t know what to expect with this story going in, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it.

There are many storylines interwoven in this book, but the main character and heroine is seventeen-year old Evie O’Neill. Evie lives life to the full, something her parents do not appreciate. She stays out late drinking and partying with her friends which is highly frowned upon. Especially because this is during prohibition! She has a carefree attitude, always laughing and sayin...more
I am doing a big project in my house: Reading the ever-increasing stack of ACTUAL books that is piling up next to my bed! The dust on them is just monumental, since I honestly read most of my stuff on my Kindle, sigh. So project; "Chip away at stack" commence!

I've had this book on the stack for a while, and I didn't know anything about it, except the blurb on the back reminded me of one of my favorite iOS games: Elder Signs. 20's, occult, NYC etc. I thought the atmosphere was pretty interesting,...more
Claire Legrand
I have no words. Now one of my favorite books of all time. Holy all the expletives. I'm in love. NEED. BOOK. 2.

There needs to be an "infinity stars" option.

Wendy Darling
Shiny! Review to come.
Tom Bombadil
Libba Bray, I adore you (in a completely platonic way, of course). I remember seeing the description for this book about six months back and thinking, "Libba Bray? The 1920s?! Supernatural elements?!?! Oh my God, I'm buying it." Flash forward to September and my expectations were met and exceeded. I mean, this book was FANTASTIC. Like, instantly-adding-it-to-my-favourites fantastic. I-can't-really-make-coherent-sentences-right-now fantastic. Just. FANTASTIC!

First off, let me say that I really ap...more
Feb 21, 2013 kari rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013, ya
I'm sorry to say how disappointed I am in this book. I've read Libba Bray before and her books are filled with snappy dialogue, interesting characters and bits that make you laugh out loud and others that will bring on tears. None of that is true here. I would think this was not even the same author.
All of the twenties slang was too heavy. Yes, I get it. It's the twenties and boop-boop-de-boop or whatver, but enough with it already. And as I was nearing the end of the book, I had the realization...more
English review (più giù trovate quella in italiano)

“Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough?

It's been a long time since I read such a well written book like The Diviners. The prose is indeed without a doubt the strong point of this novel: incredibly evocative, it makes you feel like you're really walking through the streets of New York City during the Roaring Twenties....more
Eerie and cryptic are the first words that come to my mind, if someone asked me to describe The Diviners. It’s peculiar how The Diviners left me with fragmented feelings; on the one hand it was the enigmatic, dark and you were left with the sense of foreboding, with a killer on the loose in New York no-one is really safe, but despite this dangerous and haunting vibe throughout The Diviners was a book brought to life by its vivid, energetic and bright characters.

Evie just doesn’t know when to sto...more
I have so many things to say about this novel. Okay. Let’s take a deep breath.

First. For the longest time, I didn’t think I would be able to get into this novel. It is like a sprawling southern estate, queenly manor, expansive gardens, it spans ages and miles and miles. It’s vibrant, lush and almost overwhelming. Dizzying and exhilarating. This is the first novel in the trilogy so it spends a lot of time setting up the…er, setting, the characters and the locations in which the novel takes place....more
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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....more
More about Libba Bray...
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) Beauty Queens Going Bovine

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“How do you invent a religion?” Evie asked.

Will looked over the top of his spectacles. “You say, ‘God told me the following,’ and then wait for people to sign up.”
“Some mornings, she’d wake and vow, Today, I will get it right. I won’t be such an awful mess of a girl. I won’t lose my temper or make unkind remarks. I won’t go too far with a joke and feel the room go quiet with disapproval. I’ll be good and kind and sensible and patient. The sort everyone loves. But by evening, her good intentions would have unraveled. She’d say the wrong thing or talk a little too loudly. She’d take a dare she shouldn’t, just to be noticed. Perhaps Mabel was right, and she was selfish. But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all? “Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough?” 137 likes
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