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The Graces #1

The Graces

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Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.


Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

415 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 2016

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About the author

Laure Eve

6 books505 followers
Laure Eve is the author of critically acclaimed duologies The Graces and The Curses,
Fearsome Dreamer and The Illusionists,
and the forthcoming duology Blackheart Knights (spring 2021).

She has been published in 10 languages and has regularly appeared at festivals, conventions and conferences in countries around the world.

She speaks English and French, and can hold a vague conversation, usually about food, in Greek.

The name is pronounced lore eev. (in English. In French there's a whole back of the throat deal).

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5 stars
1,211 (15%)
4 stars
2,290 (28%)
3 stars
2,603 (32%)
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1 star
574 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,489 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,963 reviews294k followers
September 7, 2016
Every girl with eyes loved Fenrin. But I was not like those prattling, chattering things with their careful head tosses and thick, cloying lip gloss. Inside, buried down deep where no one could see it, was the core of me, burning endlessly, coal black and coal bright.

Oh sweet Jesus, get over yourself. Did that quote really come from a narrator we're supposed to take seriously? Of all the things I expected from this book, a super emo, extremely slow, Twilight-esque story was not one of them.

I'm not just throwing the word "Twilight" around. For most of this novel, the obsession with the ethereal Graces reminded me of the obsession with the Cullens. The story is about the female narrator being the new kid in town and attending a school where everyone is obsessed with the gorgeous, weird Graces - Rosalie, Edward and Alice Thalia, Fenrin and Summer. For some reason, they allow River into their tight-knit little circle and invite her to meet their equally stunning and strange parents. Turns out they might be witches.

Okay, well firstly, it's boring. There is literally no plot for the vast majority of the novel and it all builds toward what I guess was supposed to be a twist... um, well, I saw that coming a mile away. The first 250-ish pages are made up of River going on and on about the Graces, especially her love for Fenrin and shallow friendship with Summer. There's also some chanting and "spellwork" that may or may not be real. Oooh.

You see, that's the real problem with this book and Anna already said it: there's no atmosphere. It tries to be so deep and meaningful with all the emo dialogue like:
“I can stop pretending when I’m alone.”

"The thing is, " he said softly, "we're all going to die."
"Yes."
"But the first time you really realize it... how do you get over that?"

But I just can't take it seriously. None of these characters, none of the plot, is deep and mysterious enough to warrant those conversations. It just made me roll my eyes. The author clearly wanted to write a dark, deep novel about three mysterious teenagers, but we've been left with a silly, predictable high school drama about a goth, a hippie and a hipster.

I neither liked nor was interested in River. Her disdain for other girls in the novel - she even refers to them as "things" - made my blood boil at times. It's all part of the package that is her character - someone who believes they're just so much deeper than everyone else. This is how she describes another girl:
She wore big, fake, gold hoop earrings and tiny skirts, and her voice had a rattling screech to it, like a magpie’s.

I foresee the "twist" being used to explain away a lot of things, but I'm not playing. Even forgetting how obvious it was, it didn't make up for the slowness and the annoying cast of characters. The novel gives very little up in an attempt to be mysterious so that the author can pull back the curtain to reveal... Muahaha. But the "suspense" is so forced that I was cringing.

Personally, this kind of book with flat, cliched characters, "oh, what is this universe?" dialogue and little-to-no plot does not work for me. But according to my arc, I'm in the minority, because this emo mush has already been translated into at least five other languages. Maybe girl-on-girl hate sounds classier in French?

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Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
July 9, 2018
i'm just realizing this about myself, but i am a person who tends to round two-star books up into three-star territory. my name is karen, and i'm an uprounder.

part of it is a readers' advisory training that unconsciously steers me towards back-seating (NLGM) my personal reactions, part of it is residual catholic guilt, and part of it is just always wanting to like a book i have chosen to read - to identify at least one thing that made reading it not a waste of my time.

this book is a fast read, so it didn't waste much of my time, and there's at least one thing i liked about it, but let's be perfectly clear, this is a very low three-star book.

i think it's more enjoyable if you realize right from the get-go that the narrator is problematic a dick.

and that this book is Twilight with witches.

the Twilight comment isn't just me being problematic a dick. i thought Twilight was a fine book, but i don't need to read it again. and yeah, there are plenty of books in which an everyman is absorbed into a glamorous or mysterious family or lifestyle and is swept away by the romance of it all - Twilight didn't invent that - and this one does differ from Twilight in that the protagonist goes in clear-eyed and calculating, knowing the family's reputation and single-mindedly ingratiating herself into their lives because she covets their magic, but the setup is pretty similar: river moves to a new town with her mother after her father takes off (so, single-parented and barely monitored, like whazzername), and finds herself in a small town where one wealthy and powerful family - the graces - are the center of everyone's admiration/fear/fascination, around whom rumors and lore about witchy powers swirl. and the parents are oh-so-elegant and cultured and mysterious and the children are so beautiful and sophisticated and charismatic: minor celebrities with mystery wrapped around them like fur stoles, an ethereal air to their presence that whispered tantalizingly of magic. the siblings are very close to each other and somewhat set apart from the "ordinary" kids because they are all "family first"



and of course our heroine, this self-proclaimed "not exceptionally pretty" girl goes and falls for super-handsome and casual-lothario fenrin grace, becoming besties with his sister summer, and barreling into the ranks of the grace family intent on smooching fenrin and becoming an honorary grace with all the magical powers that come with that role. for reasons.

but river isn't an endearingly clumsy and likable character (plus, she names herself "river page," which is as cheesy as it gets). the story is told entirely through her perspective, and her unreliable narrator status is twofold: a combination of her having limited information and her being deliberately misleading. for reasons. she spends a great deal of time emphasizing the importance of truth and honesty in the presence of the graces, with a pseudo-intellectual profundity that's irritating to read (but is not inaccurate to the teenage bombast i recall from the wayback), while lying and hiding her motives and other seeecrets, frequently alluding to this suppression to the reader, if not to the graces:

- It was a compliment, of sorts. A testament to how good I was at hiding my true self.

-His face was open. It bothered him, but he didn't try to hide it. That was brave. I hid everything I could.

it's also emo as hell.

"…why do you enjoy being alone?"

…"I can stop pretending when I'm alone."


apart from all that eyerollery stuff (and it is gratifying when another character calls her a "pretentious bitch"), she's just … unpleasant, so you're not really invested in seeing her succeed in her goals.

she's jealous and petty - talking shit about other girls who are interested in fenrin simply because they want what she wants, and she's an uneven mixture of timid; where she never says anything without planning and examining it in her head first, and delusionally confident that she's the most special gal ever, deserving of holding fenrin's interest:

Every girl with eyes loved Fenrin. But I was not like those prattling, chattering things with their careful head tosses and thick, cloying lip gloss. Inside, buried down deep where no one could see it, was the core of me, burning endlessly, coal black and coal bright…

No one had real details of their personal lives - except for whoever Fenrin was sleeping with in any given week, as he never hid it. He'd tour the girl around school for however long it lasted, one arm slung over her shoulders in a lazy fashion, and she would drip off him, giggling madly. They were nothing, just distractions. He was waiting for someone special, someone different who would catch his attention so suddenly and so completely, he'd wonder how he had survived all this time without them.


because none of the other girls he kisses for a week have ever thought they would be the one to tame him.



river spends so much time weighing what she's going to say and how she's going to present herself to win over the graces, but she's inconsistent in what actually comes out, and when she's not spouting oh-so-heavy things like: That doesn't mean we shouldn't want to see the truth. It's just that maybe we have to see it in stages to be able to understand it," it looks more like this:

"I was kind of seeing him," Summer said, as if we had been talking about it already. "Jase. He may be hot, but my god he's dull. It's a 'smoke weed and surf a lot' kind of life. I mean, there is literally nothing else that interests him. Plus, he's bad in bed. He's all loud groaning, like a crap zombie."

I disliked these kinds of conversations. There wasn't an obvious response. I didn't know him, so I couldn't exactly agree.

"Oh right," I tried.


yeah, not super-impressive. there's so much of that monosyllabic grunting from her, one wonders why the graces want anything to do with her.

more reasons to dislike her - she claims to not like bullies, after stepping up (in view of fenrin) to defend a girl from being picked on, but she does a fair bit of bullying herself, and she's quick to judge people by reputation, especially people the graces have problems with. so - lame philosophy, manipulation of truth to get what she wants, using magic to punish other girls, obsessing over some dude who smells like "manly vanilla," bald desire to be special and included, and although she denies it, using summer to get closer to fenrin and to get closer to magic of her own.

all dick moves.

not that one needs to relate to or like a book's narrator, but you gotta like at least one of the characters, and they're all kind of clichéd.

the only character i "liked" was summer, and only when her vulnerability came to the surface. i thought that dimension of her character was well-written, once her cookie-cutter 'tough-as-nails goth chick' stuff was dispensed with.

i think this book would have been stronger if there had been 20% less cullen grace infatuation weighing down the front half, and if the reveal had been shifted to the 3/4 mark, so there could have been a bit more time spent exploring (and defining) what it means.

and the names: fenrin, thalia, summer, gwydion - ugh. there's also a character named "wolf," just to add another layer to the Twilight cake, even though he's not a working-class werewolf or anything.

moral of the story - sometimes netgalley knows best.

many thanks to anmiryam for sending it to me, though!

************************************
damn you, netgalley!!! why you so mean??



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Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
840 reviews3,767 followers
February 15, 2021


I can see how The Graces could be appealing for some readers (Kirkus, for one). The patient kind, who can get past a ridiculous, unbelievable plot and flat characters for the sake of a twist. I am not that reader. I believe that there's such a thing as too little, too late, too bad. Also, I totally saw it coming.

Honestly, I don't even have it in me to write an organized or ranty review, but I only want to forget the hours I spent reading it. Can I have my time back, please?

I just need a Forgetfulness Potion is all. What? Everyone can be a wiiiiitch, right?



Daaaaark. Oh, how The Graces tries to be dark.



Too bad The Graces lacks an atmosphere.

Therefore it isn't dark, but on the contrary the plot was ridiculous and made it hard to suspend my disbelief from the get-go. Not to mention the confusion - not the good kind of confusion, but the annoying, aggravating one, when I repeat endlessly little beauties like, "but what the HELL is going on?!". Oh, sure, the story became interesting started making sense. Sort of. At 75%.



I don't know about you, but it's waaay too late for me, especially because the twist was so obvious that the only reaction it created was making me roll my eyes. Because, you know, it couldn't have been ANYTHING ELSE.

Finally, I would usually complain about the random time jumps and the awkward way the scenes were cut off, but honestly, I cared so little that I was glad for the story to get somewhere (except, not really). This is not good.



Where do I even start? Oh, there :

Nonsensical and cliché sentences : "He smelled like a thicker, manlier kind of vanilla."

Boring and oh so deep conversations : "The thing is, " he said softly, "we're all going to die." "Yes." "But the first time you really realize it... how do you get over that?"

Oh, please protect me from teenager philosophy.

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER ← Why do I get the impression that these words are going to hunt me? Oh, yes. Because I read them way too many times - more than once was already too much.



I didn't care about any of them, whether they be main characters or merely useless puppets. I was so ready to be engrossed and fascinated by the Graces and their secrets that you can't imagine my disappointment when I realized how fake and unrealistic they sounded.

And god, how I'm tired of omniscient first POV. No, you cannot. Yes, you actually have to choose. Indeed River spends the whole book explaining to the reader what other people think, and I'm sorry, but is it supposed to make me think that she's so clever? Because it doesn't work. She appears delusional and instable (also hateful) .

Oh, and the mum. Oh please this is ridiculous. I've read my fair share of absent mothers in YA, but never before did I read such out of the world conversations :

"I just want to talk to him [her dad]. I just want to know he's still... he's still around."
She raised her arms and her voice. "Well, he's not! He's not hiding under the stairs, is he?! I just... look. If it's going to be like this again, maybe we need to have a talk about that medication you were on before we moved. Maybe it was too soon to stop taking it."


Of course. How dares she, missing her dad like this?! Of course she needs medication! ARGG I can't even.

"She shrugged. Her hair crinkled as it met her shoulders. "I thought you said you were at a friend's house. Why, are you going to tell me you were out all night clubbing?" Her grin was hopeful."

HOPEFUL. Right. I'm hopeful too. I hope I will never meet characters who are so judgmental, intolerant and frankly insufferable.



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April 6, 2019
Another school story, complete with teen angst and 'a family of secret keepers' with beautiful and archetypal (and somewhat ludicrous!) names:
- Gwydion,
- Thalia ('She would forever dance out of your reach'),
- Wolf ('his body cocked forward like an eager puppy'),
- Esther (Esme, anyone?)…
There's even a guy with 'antique gold hair', whose 'bad mood' at a certain point 'hung off him in ribbons'.
And a gal referred to as a 'sun goddess' - yes, Thalia.
And an absentee mother and father.
And the sad daughter of the absentee parents, the person most obsessed with witches, magic and Graces, who renames herself a River. A River Page.
She's a reader, a magic buff, a sad gal, a manipulator.
And she has a 'coal-black and coal-bright voice' of her own, as well as 'butterflies, an army of ants, a bucket of feathers tickling' her 'insides'. Imagine that!
Whatever she does, she does it for a purpose, as a means to the end. And she's good at it, even if naïve.

What I loved most is the fluidity of the dynamics and the natural allure of the Graces. Of course, at this point I felt Twilight approaching. Or having approached this plot. Pretty much. So… it's a good thing I'm not obsessed with Twilight and am not obsessed with plagiarism hunting.

As I said, I loved most imagery in here and it's a good read, even if a bit formulaic.

Rating:
We start at 5 stars:
- 1 star: Twilight parallels (conscious or subconscious),
+1 star: witchcraft and self-study of the witching ways by the protagonist, all kinds of wise-ish insights about the world,
-1 star: obsessions,
-1 star: cheesy Graces,
+1 star: Graces are not half-bad written (except for Fenrir, see below),
-1 star: Well, Fenrir is something weird and misshaped,
+1 star: a magic system (quite developed),
+1 star: thoughtful musings, freshness of the protagonist's character: she's so obsessive and manipulative and planned out that I can't help feeling sorry for her.
Resulting: we end at 5 stars, precisely where we started off!

Q:
My name changed the next week. …
It had always been River, my secret name, as long as I could remember. That was how I knew it was the right one. It had unfurled itself in my mind, grown its roots right down into my spine. I couldn’t be anything else, ever. Page because turning over to a blank page always gave me a sickly sweet feeling in my guts. Blank pages could be transformed. They were new lives, over and over. …
What if I really became River? (c)
Q:
Everyone said they were witches.
I desperately wanted to believe it. (c)
Q:
Inside, buried down deep where no one could see it, was the core of me, burning endlessly, coal black and coal bright. (c)
Q:
Here, it was hard to forget what really birthed you. Nature was the thing you walked on and breathed in. (c)
Q:
… I got tired of the way they all talked about things I couldn’t even muster up fake enthusiasm for, like getting laid and partying and TV shows about people getting laid and partying. (c)
Q:
My problem was that I tended to really think things through. Sometimes they’d paralyse me, the ‘what ifs’ of action, and I didn’t do anything at all because it was safer. I was afraid of what could happen if I let it. (c)
Q:
See, real witches would be tuned in to the secret rhythm of the universe. They wouldn’t mathematically weigh and counterweigh every possible option because creatures of magic don’t do that. They weren’t afraid of surrendering themselves. They had the courage to be different, and they never cared what people thought. It just wasn’t important to them. (c)
Q:
I was at least as awkward as she was, and both of us awkwarding at each other would have been too much for me. (с)
Q:
They didn’t know me here – I could be a new me, the 2.0 version, now with improved social skills. (c)
Q:
It was my favourite thing to do – eat and read. The world just shut up for a while. (c)
Q:
He had the kind of presence that folded inward, as if he couldn’t bear to be noticed. (c)
Q:
Some of them looked like rock stars and some of them like American Psycho, a few were as coolly bohemian as the Graces, and all of them were striking, in one way or another. (c)
Q:
It’s surprising what you can get yourself to do when you want something badly enough. (c)
Q:
My parents had always acted overly twitchy towards anything remotely abnormal, so it was ironic that they had birthed a kid who craved the strange like other people craved drugs. (c)
Q:
Instead we talked about dreams we’d had, the ones that felt more real than being awake; we talked about reincarnation and ghosts and whether we’d try to kill Hitler if time travel was real; about how intoxicating it was to lose yourself in another world so completely that you forgot your own reality. It was books for me. Music for her.
I’d never met anyone who wound her way through conversations like this, as naturally as dancing, as if there were no other way to talk. She told me that for her music was the closest to the concept of the divine as she’d ever get. I told her that the music she liked sounded more like demons mating in hell, and she roared with laughter, obviously pleased.
I was sitting next to a wild creature…
My coal-black insides flared in recognition of a soul like mine. (c)
Q:
‘People’s real names... ‘Sometimes, you know, you get given the wrong one.’ (c)
Q:
Maybe if I knew their formula, the combination of elements that made them what they were, I could understand them. Understanding something was one step closer to becoming it. (c)
Q:
Just because it sounded unbelievable didn’t mean it couldn’t also be true. (c)
Q:
I was starting to notice – when you were in their crowd, they assumed you’d always been there and you knew everything they did. It was somehow isolating and comforting at the same time. (c)
Q:
‘Books are knowledge. Knowledge is power,’ I said archly.
‘And power is your goal? Curiouser and curiouser, Alice.’
‘Power is everyone’s goal, isn’t it? It’s just not something most people are brave enough to admit to.’
‘I’ll admit to it.’ He spread his hands grandly. ‘I love power.’ … ‘We’re the brave ones,’...(c)
Q:
I felt a warm glow I’d been missing start to spread its wings inside my chest. (c)
Q:
She looked at me for a moment, and the moment stretched out, growing a little too long, and then longer, and I couldn’t look away. (c)
Q:
‘You gonna come?’ said the girl I’d apparently been talking to.
‘It’s freezing.’
‘So?’ She laughed. ‘We’re young and fucked up.’ (c)
Q:
‘You don’t care about impressing people, do you?’ (c)
Q:
This was the kind of knowledge I needed. How it worked. How to control it. How to actually do it. She spoke the language of the possible and it gave me hope. (c)
Q:
I saw everything; all the little details they’d probably been taking for granted their entire lives… Every minute I spent in their company was loaded with my concentration, my constant study in how to make them like me… I watched them all and felt an ache for something I couldn’t name. (с) Such deliciously jarring soul.
Q:
There’s always a little part of your mind, right at the back there, the bit you keep locked up, that wonders what if?’ (c)
Q:
‘Because that’s the Grace way. Image is everything.’ (c)
Q:
‘The Graces. We want to be them, and love them, and for them to love us. It’s a curse. Don’t you see? The Grace curse.’ (c)
Q:
I’d have given anything to have a study desk like hers. Or at all. The wood had been painted the palest of greens. The top was covered in clay pots filled with various plants, interspersed with fat candlesticks and wooden tea-light holders. I could imagine sitting at it and feeling like I had access to the secrets of nature. Like I was a witch through pure atmospheric osmosis. (c) I totally love how River speaks of that desk.
Q:
Fire – Protectors. Confident. Powerful.
Water – Charmers. Restless. Persuasive.
Air – Seers. Truth tellers. Sensitive.
Earth – Leaders. Grounded. Calm. (c)
Q:
They used truths to tell lies, and they were very good at it. (c)
Q:
This rock might have ancient blood on its hands. (c) Well, yeah. But first this rock would have to have hands at all. Only then blood сould do just that.
Q:
A moment was all it took. ... It was such a tiny thing, a moment. But it was the most powerful reality shaper there was. (c)
Q:
I’d been so afraid of what I could do for so long that I could no longer tell the truth to anyone, about anything. (c)
Q:
They were the only ones in the world who could understand. In fact, they were supposed to hug me, reassure me, delight all over their faces, because they knew how to harness it. ... They were supposed to think it was wonderful, what I could do, and embrace me as one of them. (c)
Q:
I stayed where I was, chasing that nothingness I had felt during the spell in the woods. Chasing the life of a star. (c)
Q:
That night I think we were trying to fight against death, against boredom and banality, against everything that made us cry and stare at our futures full in the face with dread. We drank and played games to be in the now, to be in each moment as hard as we could, because the moment was all that mattered, at the end of it all. I remember I felt intoxicated on life and darkness. I felt powerful. It was the most natural thing in the world. This was why we were alive – to be powerful and free. (c)
Q:
I’m not one of you.
I’m one of me. (c)
Profile Image for Kiki.
193 reviews8,458 followers
February 7, 2017
Maaaaan, guys. That was

fucked?

This is a book about a sad, strange, loathsome asshole who makes terrible decisions, and it's all so bloody entertaining. I'm not surprised that this book got middling reviews; it's a Marmite thing, probably a very, very acquired taste that not everyone will enjoy. But I loved it.

I would have given it five stars, but there was an unnerving air of internalized misogyny that really bothered me, and was completely unnecessary. River is an asshole, but she didn't need to be problematic. There was also some really thinly veiled racism, and I am never, ever here for that garbage, so keep it 2763473537 feet away from me.

In terms of plot, this book is gripping. In terms of writing, it's stellar. The writing was, for me at least, exquisite: it beautifully captures the eternal cringe of emo teen philosophy, dragging me right through a time warp and back to my high school goth days. "We're all gonna die". Yes we are, and teens think they're the only ones who realize this. This book knows that, and it's willing to play with it.

At the same time, it feels appropriately teen. It's not shying from stuff that teens do, like swear and drink and take recreational drugs and have sex. It's also refreshingly frank, and takes the monumental risk of a protagonist who is a garbage human being: River is dreadful, self-obsessed and pedantic and selfish and cruel. She is a hypocrite, a bully who frowns on bullies, but she is also a girl with nobody to turn to, a frightened cornered animal lashing out at any outstretched hand. She takes her jealousy and twists it into hatred and obsession; she sees people with things that she doesn't have, and she lusts for them. She idealizes an unobtainable life, and the Graces represent everything that she wants to be. She wants to be powerful, because she is powerless. She wants to be cool, and effortless, and so she very effortfully creates a character, like an actor reading from a script.

I love the way River's character has been crafted. She is a girl filled with rage and loneliness, crippled by low self-esteem. And her inner hatred turns to outer hatred. She is desperate to be loved, and so she creates a disguise, and so the Graces love her not for who she is, but for the part she is playing. It is agonizing and thrilling to watch.

This book is just seeping with atmosphere, tense and tight but not sparse. It's paced brilliantly, and I just could not put it down. It was like a slow fall off a cliff, something everyone knows is going to end brutally, but that's impossible to look away from.

I wish the ending had been fleshed out a little further. I liked the mystery of it, but it didn't feel quite full enough. It was slightly abrupt, but during that last scene on the beach, I was sitting up on the edge of my bed, literally talking to the book. It enraged me, like the whole book enraged me, but in the best way.

The Graces is a story about obsession, loneliness, desperation, and the agony of navigating the dreaded mid-teens. It's about low self-esteem, and how it can literally rip away personhood. It's about envy, and jealousy, and bitterness, and how a villain is really made. Because River is our protagonist, but she is not our good guy. She is the villain of this story, and it's excellent.
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 18 books13.3k followers
September 8, 2016
3.5 stars!

Interesting read, but not what was pitched.
Wanted more magic!

Really loved the first 20 % and last 20% it was brilliant!

Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
September 28, 2016
The most disappointing thing about The Graces was that it had such huge potential. When I read the summary I was immediately hooked: An entire town worships a rich, secretive family and rumors circulate that they are magical - a family of witches. The plot sounded so cool and I couldn't wait to pick it up.

I was expecting a mysterious look at a closely entwined family, but you know what I got instead? Beautiful Creatures 2.0.

Meet River, our lonely "normal" main character who is obsessed with the Grace family (much like Ethan was obsessed with Lena). River claims that she's different from other girls: “I was not like those prattling, chattering things with their careful head tosses and thick, cloying lip gloss.”

Besides the fact that she put down other females, the most annoying thing about River was her obsession with Fenrin. Fenrin Grace was the embodiment of a stereotypical hot guy. Blond, muscular, with a "lazy smile" that made all the girls swoon.

“A long wave of his sungold-tipped hair had slipped from behind his ear and hung by his cheekbone. I actually caught a waft of him. He smelled like a thicker, manlier kind of vanilla.”

The plot follows River as she becomes close with the Grace family, but she can never quite be sure if the rumors about them are true. Thalia believes her family is cursed, but Fenrin brushes off the "accidents" that happen every year on his and Thalia's birthday.

“The Graces. We want to be them, and love them, and for them to love us. It’s a curse. Don’t you see? The Grace curse.”

I didn't like how each of the Graces were hugely stereotyped. Thalia was the cool, calm hippie who ran an organic store, Summer was the goth who listened to heavy metal music, wore all black, and loved blood, and Fenrin was the perfect hot guy who had a ton of girlfriends. They felt like cardboard cutouts instead of actual people.

The dialogue was stunted, cheesy, and unrealistic, and the showdown at the end was laughably bad. There was a plot twist that caught me by surprise, but it felt like the author added it for the sake of shocking the reader and it didn't fit the story.

This intriguing idea was wasted on a high school drama and an obsessive main character. I have to give props to the author, though - I was completely shocked when Fenrin didn't return River's lustful feelings. In fact, there was no romance between them at all, which was great in a genre that promotes way too much insta love.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
512 reviews298 followers
December 17, 2016
Mini review:

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids in exchange for an honest review.

DNF

I heard about this book through Twitter. After I read the synopsis I was sold! I love reading about witches! Unfortunately this book was a disappointment.

River was so obsessed with the Graces that it came off as disturbing. She wanted to prove to them that she was the person they were looking for. First of all where did she get this assumption? Yes she's the new girl and the Graces didn't know her. But how and why did she think she could show them they needed her in their lives? If this is elaborated on throughout the book please do explain it to me.

It was odd reading about how the whole school practically worshiped the Graces. If anyone didn't like them they didn't say so. It's almost like the way someone would treat a bully. You're scared of said bully and in order to stay safe you are at their beck and call. And even if you don't like the bully you don't say so due to fear.

I don't even understand what's so great about the Graces that River is obsessed with them. And of course she has this huge crush on Fenrin whose a womanizer. Well if anything it's certainly different from the usual trope in which the girl hates the womanizer and ends up liking him.

I do not recommend this.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,594 followers
August 10, 2016
The Graces is a Twilight cult classic gone wrong.

This book gives the Twilight vibes. I am not saying that to be condescending, or because I have zero knowledge of YA, but simply, because it is true.


A simplistic girl moves into an elusive town where there’s a popular unreachable clan. They are very selective of who they associate themselves with. Somehow, the new girl finds herself bewitched with the mystery clouding around these people. She’ll do anything to entangle herself with them. The plot is not accurately similar, but they both have the same pattern and component. They have the familiar core. I wouldn’t blame any readers arriving with the same conclusion. I personally just prefer Twilight. In terms of writing, The Graces is winning with the non-repetitive wording. However, Twilight actually have enough to go on. The chemistry and character engagement are there. I couldn’t find any of these criteria in this upcoming debut.

I had such high hopes for The Graces, it sounds spectacular and totally my thing. The lyrical premise initially hooked me. It made me expect an otherworldly writing with a plausible plot and character involvement. It didn’t deliver. This book doesn’t have anything new to offer. I’ve seen in all in YA. Sometimes clichés could work if done properly. It wasn’t. If you’re looking for new-fangled story, you’re not going to find it here.

To quickly summarize it, I’ll be listing down all the familiar tropes that I’ve read which is theatrically bad such as the following:

1. We have our standard YA MO. It is set in an elusive town where everything is green and enigmatic. We have an all-white cast with an exception of one passing character. They all have an obscure westernized names. They talk in very vague, deep manner as well.

2. We have the resident charmer Fenrin, who is quite popular, everyone is in love with him. The main protagonist, River isn’t an exception. She has this fixation with him and the rest of his family – to the point there isn’t a chemistry between them, because it lacks development.

3. As I was talking about in numbers 1 and 2. The characters and writing could come off as pretentious. It is trying, but couldn’t reach it. Here’s an example:

“Yeah. I think sometimes you must get bored of how much everyone worships you, when maybe they don’t know the real you. Maybe the real you are darker than the one you show the world.”


I am not in the loop at the recent teen slang, but these characters just met and they are already psychoanalyzing each other. There are countless scenes similar to this, throughout the entire novel. It doesn’t mesh well.

4. We have our standard protagonist who is self-proclaimed ordinary, but think she’s still better than everyone. That’s not necessarily a flaw, since I supposed everyone could relate to that. However, it’s a problem when it is being used as a plot device to make all of the supporting female characters look bad just to elevate her presence. It is not feminism if your agenda is to uplift white women, especially at the expense of characters of colors.

5. As I noted, The Graces is overly white. There’s only one poc, I’ve noticed. She’s Niral, who I’ve gathered South Asian. She’s immediately portrayed as this mean, insecure girl who bully everyone especially the main character. She shaved her head, and wear short skirts because she hates where she come from – her mother’s beautiful sari, and long hair in a plait. Bonus: Niral is also homophobic. She’s spreading rumors, some of the girls are lesbian and gay.

6. Lastly, as the conclusion of the book, River discovers she has a great amount of power. She accepted it and would destroy everyone in her wake. I’ve already seen hundreds of YA books with different white heroines proclaiming the same thing. It’s not revolutionary anymore.

I am what you become when you decide that what you are is good enough. I’m tired of trying to be less. I no longer wonder whether something like me should be allowed to exist.

I do exist. I do exist.
They think I’m powerful.
They haven’t seen a fucking thing yet.


The Graces have nothing new to offer as I’ve lamented handful of times. I wouldn’t recommend it readers who are looking for a fresh, mind blowing story. You can do so much better.
Profile Image for Belle.
512 reviews515 followers
March 31, 2019
2.5/5


(s)

edit: I just wanted to put a warning out that this isn't really very witchy, the focus isn't heavy spells or magic, it's more about the promise of some characters maybe being witches.

This book is sitting somewhere between two and three stars, and I can't come to settle on a single rating. It was a book that I floated through without ever feeling particularly entranced or interested in the characters of the plot line, a clinical kind of interest was the most I could muster up. It wasn’t so much a question of the quality, more of how gripping the story and characters were.

I was curious going into this book with all the mixed reviews, and people claiming that it had a similarity to Twilight. There was the obvious similarity that the main character became entranced by a family at her new school, but with this book, I felt there was a much darker undertone. Instead of a love story, this was a story about twisted obsession.

The Graces is about a new student who quickly becomes obsessed with the town’s infamous family, The Graces and the rumours that shroud them. The entire story revolves around the main character and the ‘façade’ she is determined to project in an attempt to attract the three Grace siblings.

The Grace siblings are the golden students of the school, the most popular and beautiful beings that people orbit around. But the three siblings mostly stick to themselves, they may sit with other students at lunch and during lessons, but it’s glaringly obvious that nobody has managed to penetrate their inner sanctum.

But the town whispers that the Grace’s are a family of witches, and the new girl has problems that only a family of witches could fix.

The new girl, who christens herself 'River', slowly manages to attract the Graces and her every waking thought was about calculating the perfect thing to say, way to act and personality to present. River is constantly trying to hide the fact that she's in love with Fenrin, the oldest Grace and that she's obsessed with the thought that they might be capable of magic.

River is not meant to be a self-aware or a very stable character, but reading about every minuscule thought she had, became boring very quickly. The story became cliché roughly around the forty-percent mark, and from then, I picked up on the supposed 'plot twists' and was never really surprised.

The one thing I did enjoy about this book was the atmosphere of the small, costal town. The way the author described the town and Grace's mansion was so aesthetically pleasing without becoming dull. I wish the characters explored more of the little town throughout the book.

This is one of the only books that I'm unsure if I enjoyed or not, the entire time I only felt a clinical kind of curiously about how everything would unfold.
Profile Image for Joanne Harris.
Author 91 books5,665 followers
Read
October 3, 2016
Okay. Confession time. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be in a discussion on Twitter about YA, where Laure Eve's THE GRACES was mentioned. I expressed lively enthusiasm for the title, then realized a little too late that I hadn't actually read it at all, but was thinking of THE GRACEKEEPERS, by Kirsty Logan, instead.
So shoot me. I never could remember names. And so I read THE GRACES - out of guilt, initially - but I am reviewing it out of pleasure. It's a deceptively clever book, full of subtleties that can be easy to miss while you're zipping through the plot. Comparisons with TWILIGHT are shallow and unflattering - this has more in common with BRIDESHEAD or RIPLEY than TWILIGHT or THE CRAFT. The style is clean and nicely restrained: the story well-paced and with a genuinely good whammy at the end. Best of all, River (yes, I know I hate the trend for hippy names in YA, but in this case I'll make an exception) is a truly believable YA heroine; racked with self-doubt, alienation and that peculiar obsession with the transience of things that emerges in adolescence. Also, refreshingly, unlike the heroine of TWILIGHT, she is an active, not a passive character; taking charge, going after what she wants in an almost predatory manner. The author warned me on Twitter that this might not be my cup of tea. It was, though. I love it when that happens.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Piera.
40 reviews2,840 followers
January 2, 2019
I wanted to like this so badly but it fell very flat for me.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
October 17, 2016
This is when I get into trouble..By requesting to read a book solely because of the beautiful cover. And this one had it. It caught my eye and I immediately requested it. I'm sad to report that I didn't enjoy this one. It had the potential to be a good novel, but it just fell flat for me. One, not a whole lot happens. There's literally no plot. I had trouble getting through it because I was bored, but I kept pushing because the writing sucks you in. But that's it. Because the characters, the story and the pacing were just flat.

New girl comes to a small town. Meets the cool popular crowd. There's something off about them, something magical maybe? New girl wants in the crowd and will stop at nothing to do it. It sounded a little familiar to Twilight's beginning.. and well Twilight had at least a romance that would get you from page to page. This didn't even feel like Beautiful Creatures because again that had the paranormal romance down. This one didn't. You're supposed to feel for River and champion for her. But I had no idea why she wanted to be with them. She wanted power and prestige so she had to be with the right people. And the thing is, these people were downright terrible. Even River! It's so hard to like or even focus on a book when the characters are so unlikeable. She is literally attracted them because they're shallow and have no substance. And what's worst is how they believe they are arrogant elitist snobs. I kid you not. These characters would use people for their own means, not caring who they hurt. And they hurt a lot of people. I don't even know what the appeal was about them. Just because of their wealth and good looks? Who cares?! Summer did have her kind moments that is until she _________ her friend. I mean what the heck was that?!

There was a neat little twist at the end, but by that time I just wanted the book to be over. I didn't even guess this would be the ending, because well nothing really happens. Just River being obsessed with this family and trying to impress them. The magical bits were interesting but nothing came from that either. I wanted an explanation as to what happened in the end, but I guess it's open to interpretation.

Beautiful eye-catching cover will not always produce a quality plot-heavy story. But at least I gave it a shot. I hope others will have better luck with this one than I did.

RATING 2/5

QUOTES

"They were one step removed from the rest of the school, minor celebrities with mystery wrapped around them like fur soles, an ethereal air to their presence that whispered tantalizingly of magic."

"I think sometimes you must get bored of how much everyone worships you, when maybe they don't even know the real you. Maybe the real you is darker than the one you show the world."

"Why was it so hard to talk to beautiful people?"

"We always have to find reasons to make order out of chaos, but the worst horror is when the reasons are totally banal, or when there isn't any reason at all."

"We want to be them, and love them, and for them to love us."

"You have to learn to be happy with who you are and what you've got."

"It was a very simple, powerful feeling, to be wanted."
Profile Image for Mizuki.
2,971 reviews1,177 followers
May 26, 2018
Rating: 3.5 stars. I notice this book receives bad rating and a lot of negative reviews (to be fair, these reviewers had brought up fair and reasonable points to back their displease up) but when I finished reading this book, I still thought it does have some good points and the story has maintained itself as a melodramatic fun read so it deserves 3.5 stars from me.

What's what in the story: meets The Graces: the most wealthy, mysterious family in town. The picture-perfect Grace couple has three teenage children, and it is no surprise they are the stars in their high school. The Graces are widely envied, adored...and feared, and they are also being rumored to be witches.

Then, there comes a new girl, River Page, who has a troubled home life, and she is very, very determined to win the three Grace children's acceptance, friendship and...affection.

Well, I'm surprised The Graces holds my interest for an entire book, though I would be the first person to admit many aspects of the story haven't been explored fully and deeply enough and this book really isn't paranormal YA at its finest moment. Still, surprisingly the story manages to work for me and I just can't put this book down.

I thought I'd hate the heroine River Page --she is so eager to please and she is such a poser! Many readers can't stand her self-importance and how she sucks up to The Graces and how she thinks she is 'special' than the other girls in school, but! The more I read the more I came to tolerate River's tone: after all, isn't it quite normal for a sixteen years old girl to be filled with self-pity and self-importance?

Now to think about it more carefully, I think this book works for me because I like how the teenager's witchcraft is added into the story (not the best thing ever but it's okay enough for me) and more importantly As the story progresses, I actually started to find her to be understandable and believable.

I am totally looking forward for the next book and see how River Page will turn out to be.
Profile Image for Martha.
418 reviews12 followers
August 6, 2016
I know this sounds ridiculous, but the only way I can describe the effect this book had on me is to say that, when I finished it, I felt high -- like I had been slightly thrown off my axis, and was a little bit disconnected from the world. The Graces requires patience, yes, but the payoff really is that good.

The story and the relationships depicted therein build slowly and in fits and starts, in a way that feels true to what is being portrayed and made me think of nothing so much as Megan Abbott in its intensity and insolation from what could loosely be described as 'reality.' The slow build also allows the reader to gradually settle into the story, shifting from a natural skepticism (about the characters, about their priorities, about their lives) to total engagement, a journey Eve manages with immense subtlety and skill. In addition, I love her respect for her characters and their voices, and the way she embraces their realistic changeability, humor, and occasional desperation. The story takes a while to come together but, when it does, it's absolutely goddamn breathtaking.

Many thanks to NetGalley and ABRAMS Kids for the ARC!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
November 14, 2018
The mysterious Grace family have captivated an entire town. They are enigmatic, mysterious, and the potential for magic hovers around them. But for town newcomer River, they do not feel like anything new. They feel like coming home.

This had so much potential and the miasma of uncertainty that hung over the entire book kept me consistently intrigued. I loved all the magical elements of this book and was as enraptured by the Grace family as the town inhabitants were. However, the high school setting and the angst that issued from there were where this book failed me. I found it difficult to bond with the protagonist, River, when she exhibited such blatant girl hate when no reason for it seemed forthcoming. She also displayed some other unsavoury character traits. I love me an unreliable or unlikable narrator but could not find it in me to bond with one as aloof and as full of bad decisions as she was and did not fall in love with the book like I thought I would, due to this.
Profile Image for Ellie.
575 reviews2,120 followers
March 17, 2019
↠ 4/4.5 stars

Okay, this is clearly a marmite book. Some people love it and some people really don't. But oh my god. Like actually what the hell. I am DECEASED.

Going into this felt a little like Twilight (girl moves to new town and school, there's a group of *mysterious*, beautiful people there, heroine is fascinated). Then about 35%-ish in, it takes a different turn and the story goes in a very different direction from expected.

A girl (the heroine, whose true name we don't know, which I actually think is very clever as it encourages the sense of mystery/unreliability) is determined to get in with the Graces family. Everyone says they're witches, so of course they're fascinating. Now, I'm likely in the minority here, but I loved the narrator (whereas I think most people disliked the story because they disliked the narrator, lmao). I am such a fan of unreliable narrators as well as calculating characters and narrators who may be a little untrustworthy/potentially unstable and I was delighted. Indeed, she didn't immediately come off as untrustworthy (though undoubtedly some find her unlikeable because she certainly is a bit of a Special Snowflake/asshole at times), but the further into the book you got, the more you started questioning her narration. Honestly it was fascinating, and the book felt very much like a thriller because of it - especially at the end, when readers are urged to question the story and reassess who they think the villain actually is.

Then there are the Graces: Summer (the youngest, and the closest with the heroine), and Thalia and Fenrin. Also their mother Esther and their father Gwydion. There's also Wolf, a close family friend of the Graces.

Now initially the heroine seems to have a fascination with Fenrin (because why not? He's beautiful), but there is actually very little romance in this book - with the sole exception being a m/m relationship that pops out of hiding over halfway through. The most complex relationship is actually the heroine's friendship with Summer (and I read into it a bit as Summer actually liking the heroine a bit more than just a friend, but perhaps that was just me) and it is through Summer she gets "in" with the Graces.

Some may find the narrative annoying because in very thriller-like fashion, it is layer upon layer of mystery, and many of the reveals and truths don't see the light of day until the end, so it requires a little patience. But when those reveals are unearthed - oh boy. You are encouraged to see the whole narrative from a whole new perspective.

One thing I really loved about this book (besides the unreliable narrator and the Graces) was the writing style. Eve has really beautiful, lyrical prose, and I'm so trash for that. It feels so effortless and I genuinely loved it. The building of the magic system is also very interesting - the four types of witch; air, water, earth and fire - and the entire is it real/is it not dilemma of whether magic actually exists, and whether the Graces are actually witches (because I'm still not entirely sure if they are or if they aren't), is fascinating. There was a lot of magical fabulism, with small hints of magic being interwoven throughout the book. The sense of magic lying just out of reach gave me a little bit of Raven Boys vibes (but other than that the books aren't all that similar). Frankly, I really loved The Graces and can't wait for The Curses.

TL;DR: Definitely not one for everyone, but if you like unreliable narrators (who are not easily likeable), groups of enigmatic people (who may be witches) and thriller-y narratives with dramatic last-minute twists, you may just enjoy The Graces.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews703 followers
August 4, 2016
3.5 stars

I love love love witches, so I was super excited to get this gorgeous thing in my hands.

River is an interesting character. She's wants to win the attention of the Graces so much, that she's willing to do anything and change herself for it. Her inner monologue was a little drab here and there, but for the most part I was interested in her journey.

The most dynamic scenes are when River and all 3 of the Graces are together. Those sections shone so brightly, it made the rest of the book seem a little dull. As the story progresses and things start unfolding, I couldn't read fast enough. There are a few surprises throughout and one hell of an ending.

Overall, it did drag in a few places, but I was captivated enough to need to see how it all played out. I'll definitely be reading the next book.

**Huge thanks to Amulet for sending me the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,137 followers
October 16, 2016
I have a lot to say about this one, so look out for a video review going up soon on Heart Full Of Books!

Briefly though, I found the main character, River, quite dislikable and hard to understand, I felt the Graces themselves remained an enigma for the whole book and overall, I'm still confused about whether magic really exists or not in this world.

Marcus (Jonathan Byers in another life) is the most interesting character, so he gets a star on his own.
The sexual tension gets -1 star because it was mounting and mounting and nothing actually happened.

But, knowing that there's going to be a sequel, I'm really excited to have my questions answered and know MORE about the Graces (who have become this decade's version of the Cullens, let's be real. There are a lot of Twilight vibes going on.)
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews421 followers
October 21, 2016
I bought this book based 100% on the cover and I regret paying full price for this book.
Right away this book reminded me of Twilight. Which, to some people, won't be a big deal. But I hate Twilight so that was a deal breaker. I couldn't stop comparing The Graces to Twilight and it killed me. I wanted to look past that but the plot was so similar. New kid discovers strange siblings in school that are more than they seem. New kid befriends said strange siblings. Boring plot ensues.
I didn't like the characters either which is what really killed this book for me. If it had great characters, I could have ignored the overall Twilight-ness. But it didn't and I'm so disappointed.
Profile Image for Ashley DiNorcia.
336 reviews537 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 27, 2016
I contemplated powering through and hate-reading this but at just 5% I can't bring myself to do it.

This has "bad Twilight knock off" (I made it to the Bella River staring longingly at the Cullens Graces lunch table scene and lost all will to go on.) written all over it, and I just don't have time for that.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy for....review.
Profile Image for Gillian.
474 reviews
November 9, 2016
Technically 3 and 1/2 stars. It's been a while since I read a book about witches. Unfortunately, I felt it hit most of the major tropes instead of exploring something new. Also, I disliked River. A lot. But I liked the Graces, especially Summer. I'll probably read the sequel but my hopes aren't high.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,153 reviews18.4k followers
August 31, 2016
“What did she believe in? What made her happy?”

BLURB: “Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?”

Whilst reading, I was pretty sure I was not going to continue on with this series. Thankfully though, halfway through the book the story and plot actually picked up and I found myself really wanting to read it.

The first half of the story was extremely flat. The characters were irritating and there was barely any development to the plot. Magic was just thrown in there for the sake of whatever and it didn't even make sense nor was it properly explained. The protagonists obsession with trying to fit in with The Graces — the witch family — was...bizarre to say the least. It was full of high school cliches and there were so many eye-rolling moments that honestly, the story could've done without. It added nothing.

But once the plot picked up halfway through, albeit late, and the MC became more unreliable as a narrator plus there being more of 'magic', paranormal activity and mystery, I started to enjoy myself a LOT more. Even the writing improved and added much needed depth to the story, whereas at first I felt that it came across as trying too hard to make the story and the characters sound profound.

For now, I'm genuinely interested to see where this story goes. I hope I'm still interested though by next year when the sequel has been set to release.
Profile Image for alittlelifeofmel.
884 reviews343 followers
Shelved as 'not-for-me'
August 13, 2017
I almost bought this recently but because of the price I decided to just check it out at the library and oh boy am I glad I did. I only managed to get through 14 pages before this book nearly killed me. I've never said this before, but the writing was atrocious. I've never read anything so terrible. It was cheesy, horribly cliche, and honestly nausea inducing. By the end of page 14 I felt like I needed a shower.

"I forced myself to look straight into his eyes. "I can stop pretending when I'm alone."

He smiled.

Bingo, as my mother often said."

Bleh that hurt to type. No thanks.
Profile Image for mads.
357 reviews347 followers
September 17, 2022
TW: alcohol, animal death, blood, infidelity, mentions of sexual assault, substance abuse.

This was basically “We Were Liars” but with magic and I hated it. :)
Profile Image for Aimal (The Devils We Find).
509 reviews461 followers
February 24, 2017
Actual rating: 1.5 stars

I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much to the publisher and the website for granting me the opportunity to read an ARC of this.

River has an obsession: to be a part of this strange, fascinating group of people in her school. The Graces are siblings: Summer Grace dresses like a goth and it seems like she has a shield around her. Thalia Grace is the golden girl- beautiful and untouchable. And Fenrin- Fenrin Grace is the most attractive guy in school, and River is certain that she is in love with him. The Graces have a complicated history- everyone in the town says they are witches, and River believes the rumors. But their potential darkness only draws River in rather than push her away. She knows that the Graces change friends like people change their clothes, but River will make sure that she becomes a part of them, a part that will not be so easy to let go of. And she will do anything to get what she wants.

The premise sounded fascinating; stories with themes focusing on obsession, elitism and families shrouded in darkness are some of my favorite stories. Something about the carnal need of people to belong to a group of people seen as elite, no matter how twisted their intentions and beliefs are- it just makes for great storytelling. It shows us how we, as humans, can go to such great lengths to belong, and characters’ struggles to do so is what makes such stories worthwhile. Our protagonist, River, makes it seem like she has a very tough time worming her way into the siblings’ lives, but that’s not the case. A few well-worded sentences here and there, a couple of overly-calculated actions and voila! She’s in. Eve gave her character such an easy in that I didn’t feel invested in this obsession.

Speaking of investment- the characters felt so flat. The protagonist was rather disingenuous. Everything she did was so thought-out, calculated and controlled. She was a liar- but that’s not why she’s a bad character. Unlikable characters are not the same as flat ones; it’s just that we are always reminded that River is putting up a front to get with the Graces, but we never get to see the real her. The result is a ghost who we know too little about to possibly care for. As for the Graces- they had a reputation and this air of being the top of the food-chain, the elite, the mysterious people who everyone was drawn to, but my question – even now – is: why? The only answer I can think of is that the book falls prey to so many clichés, the Graces being one of them.

See, Thalia is dull. There is nothing interesting about her except for the way she dresses. Fenrin is the token hottie: blonde hair, well-built, has a great reputation. He’s unattainable, and there’s little more to him. Summer was perhaps the only interesting character in the book, but even she was let down by how her arc was executed. Considering that the Graces have a “mystery” around them, they weren’t mysterious at all. Summer literally goes around doing spells in school grounds with a circle of her peers. She hides nothing. She lays it all bare when River comes along, and that completely defeats the purpose of the entire intrigue of the premise. The Graces weren’t supposed to be normal teenagers with normal lives with normal personalities- they were supposed to be different. And the fact that they were so far from what the premise promised was off-putting.

Other clichés: absentee parents, token mean girl who is cruel to our protagonist for no reason, protagonist constantly assuring the people around her that she is different and not like other people, inclusion of diverse characters simply to ‘develop’ our protagonist.

The Graces is Twilight, but not as enjoyable. It had many of the same elements, but I had fun while reading Twilight. The characters were all despicable, but at least they felt real. The story was predictable, but at least it made sense. The only thing this book did better than Twilight was the writing. And I hate it when I have to give books low ratings even though the writing was quite good, but alas, the Graces leaves me with no other choice.

Find me elsewhere:
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Profile Image for Claire.
798 reviews91 followers
January 1, 2022

**Huge thanks to the publisher and author for letting me read this book for free in exchange for an honest book review**

It feels like The Craft meets We Were Liars !
While this book had good writing, the pacing is extremely slow.

First we have The Graces. Everyone wants to be them. They treat people like crap, but when you're in their inner circle, they make you feel valued. But here's the thing, there's a rumor spreading around their small town that they're not normal. They're witches. Witches is an understatement because these kids are weak. At least they're good-looking, wealthy, and popular. Am I right?
description
The protagonist knew better to stay away from them. But did she? NO. Hence we have this long story.
description
Our protagonist is obsessed in being a Grace because they're interesting and her life is shitty. She wants in. She even changed her name to River in order to fit in. WTH, am I right?

In fact, the protagonist has this crazy fascination with them witches, specifically Fenrin Grace. SHE'S EFFIN IN LOVE WITH HIM. I FEEL LIKE GOUGING MY EYES OUT BECAUSE I WANT HER TO STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW PERFECT HE IS AND HOW MUCH SHE WANTS HIM. She's got it so bad. To the point that she went bat shit crazy. You'll understand once you get past 25+ chapters. *yawn*
description
*Not the exact gif to represent the story*

After this crazy stunt happen, Fenrin was too stunned to remember. When he eventually did remember, things went a bit crazy between the Graces and our protagonist.
description
then the revelation happened near the end.

So yeah, I've only mentioned the parts worth mentioning, because the author was sort of "dragging out" the story. At least the cover is beautiful.

In short, the book was LONG, TIRESOME, and PSYCHOTIC.
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
Profile Image for Joséphine (Word Revel).
726 reviews279 followers
October 29, 2016
Actual rating: 1.5 stars

Initial thoughts: There’s so much I disliked, I don’t even know where to begin. Can we just say that the Grace siblings were a carbon copy of the Cullens from Twilight? Minus the vampire part, replaced by rumours of them being witches. The protagonist was so obsessed with them, she was maniacal. It was uncomfortable to read.
“Oh, Fenrin, you have no idea the lengths you’d have to go to get me to hate you. I’m not going anywhere.”
She may not have verbalised her thoughts but it made me downright cringe. The phrasing didn’t help.

Speaking of the protagonist, what even was her name? No, technically it wasn't River. River was her “secret name”, the one she wished she had been called because she didn't like her given name. Funny that her “secret name” came to be the one she was called by while her given name remained a mystery.
“It started in dorm room, while the teacher, Miss Franks, called attendance. She said my name.
[…]
Niral's eyebrows rose in surprise. ‘Oh,’ she said. ‘You mean River?’
[.…]
Miss Franks waited for me to say something, then cleared her throat. ‘Her name is not River, Niral.
Okay, so what was her name? So much time was spent on her given name and yet nobody utttered it, instead opting for “new girl” when addressing her. This might not seem like such a big deal but in combination with everything else, I was considerably irritated.

The last few chapters picked up a slight bit, adding plot twists and surprises that led to a cliffhanger. It's those developments that lifted my rating from 1 to 1.5 stars and really, I have zero interest in continuing. When most of the book is that boring and elicits so many eye rolls from me, it's not worth reading the sequel to find out how things continue.
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