Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Caraval (Caraval, #1)” as Want to Read:
Caraval (Caraval, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Caraval #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  85,230 ratings  ·  15,711 reviews
Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s lon
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Caraval, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Daena yes, the second book will be out in 2018.
Tricia (TellHerAStory) I believe most people have gotten an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I received my ARC because I work…more
I believe most people have gotten an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I received my ARC because I work for a bookstore. (less)
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra ClareKing's Cage by Victoria AveyardCarve the Mark by Veronica RothCaraval by Stephanie GarberFlame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
YA Novels of 2017
1,085 books — 8,351 voters
Caraval by Stephanie GarberThe Hate U Give by Angie ThomasWintersong by S. Jae-JonesGilded Cage by Vic JamesBlood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
YA Debuts 2017
207 books — 1,549 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
*record scratch*

*freeze frame*

Yup, that’s me. Scarlett Dragna, main character of the YA hit Caraval. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. If everysinglethingthathappenedinthiswholebook was anything to go by, it was through a combination of pointless lying, constant embarrassment, obsession with Some Guy, a big act of caring about a younger sister despite very little indication of that being true, unrelenting drama about a dumb wedding, repetitive interactions, weird descri
Emily May
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel the same way about Caraval as I did about The Star-Touched Queen last year. In fact, many of my comments are the same, so if you enjoyed that book then it's probable you will like this one also.

Caraval is a fantasy without world-building or significant character development. It relies on its dreamy descriptions, purple prose, and a heavy helping of romance to make it dazzle. To take a quote from my review of The Star-Touched Queen, "if you buy into these metaphors, put on your prose-tinte
Chelsea Humphrey
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-publisher
How can I write a review for this giant ball of awesome and do it justice? I was intrigued by the summary from the second I found this was coming out, but had no clue if it would live up to the hype. The back cover boasts of “The spell-casting fantasy destined to become a sensation” and Fox 2000 has already purchased the rights to turn this into a major motion film, which claims some pretty mind-blowing story is within the covers. This book was even better than I could have imagined and then som ...more
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, family, magic, action
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

4.5 stars. I’m very impressed with this book. The most important thing you need to know is that, although it’s marketed as such, it really isn’t a competition per se. I mean, it’s as much a competition as THE NIGHT CIRCUS is.

Sure, it’s a game indeed, a treacherous game that you can lose yourself in at any moment, but it’s not a competition. I’m not going to elaborate, because I’d have to reveal some things that w
Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, fantasy
This freaking book HOLY CRAP.
I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit when it comes out, and rightfully so. This is the kind of story that you just want to devour because you can't get enough. It's a beautiful story about sisterhood and adventure, full of amazing characters and a delightfully dark world. It's this grotesque Wonderland like world where the Mad Hatter is calling the shots.
Honestly cannot wait for you guys to get your hands on this. Keep an eye out for it because wow.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Well that was disappointing.
Mikee Andrea (ReadWithMikee)
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it

❝Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world.❞

Thank you to Flatiron Books for sending me an advance reading copy of Caraval for review purposes.


This book was just absolutely ENCHANTING! I didn't know how high or how low to set my expectations before going into Caraval but one thing is for sure by the time I closed this book: Caraval surpassed all my expec
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
*Full Review Update!!* (Spoiler free)
I cannot rave enough guys... this book wins everything.

This has made it in to my absolute all time favorites. I can't even function normally to describe it... I am absolutely floored. Zero complaints. I enjoyed every sentence.. every page.

I couldn't get enough. It was whimsical, off the charts electric, romantic, mysterious, enchanting, enthralling... full of twists and turns. So many that I thought the ending couldn't possibly live up to the mystery this c
Cait • A Page with a View
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fantasy, 2017-arcs
I'm not sure if I should call this one of my favorite books of 2016 or 2017, but it's definitely at the top of both lists!

The setting kind of feels like The Night Circus meets the first Pirates of the Caribbean with a bit of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus thrown in? The story is completely unique, though, and TOTALLY pulled me in.

Every single element was so well done. The way the whole story unfolds as a sort of mystery + quest with a deadline makes it a million times more addicting, but t
C.G. Drews
Okay why didn't I read this sooner??! IT'S SO MAGICAL. I totally preordered it and then immediately decided to wait 9 months to read it. I don't know either, mate. This is the life of the Procrastination Queen. Also I saw a lot of disappointed reviews, so I was prepared for teeth gnashing and refurbishing it as a hat if I didn't like it. But I kind of accidentally loved it?? Except for the narrator. I would be like 500% okay if Scarlett fell into a bucket of soup and never got out. BUT NARRATOR ...more
Lowering my rating to 1 star.

I am genuinely trying to find out who started advertising this book and why? It's been blowing up GR for quite a while now. People with ARC were selling it on eBay at ridiculously high prices. That's how it caught my attention in the first place. Was that a publicity stunt? If it was, it's not going to help much because the book is shitty. There is nothing new or exhilarating here. If anything, it's ideas stolen from a bunch of other books, The Lunar Chronicles, Hun
Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
This is my second time reading this as I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the audiobook from Macmillan audio (thank you so much to them!) Honestly I loved it even more the second time. The audiobook was so atmospheric and beautiful and I just adore this story so much!!!
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
My February Owlcrate Box!



I guess I should put up the big ole spoiler label just in case I get spoilery!


First off let me just get this off my chest. I wanted to smack Scarlett about 15 times during the book because she said this one thing about 50 billion times.

I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. <-- Okay those are not t
What a surprisingly captivating world Stephanie Garber has created in 'Caraval'! I listened to the Audible version of this book and I was mesmerized by the beautiful and vivid imagery that 'Caraval' contained. I was drawn in by the world that Ms. Garber created and it held my attention right to the very end.

Every once in a while, I love a great paranormal romance. I love to leave reality behind and take off on a journey to a place where magic and fairytales exist. This was the perfect story to d
Andreea Pop
I had really high hopes for Caraval. The blurb, the cover, and the excellent reviews promised a magical whirlwind of a story. And this novel delivered that, but its relatively achieved grandeur was overshadowed bit by bit till the end. The last 50 pages or so of the book took its soul out, leaving me with a bittersweet aftertaste, a headache and lots of confusion.

Since I cannot even reflect upon the messy thoughts inside my brain, I'll analyze punctually.

1. The world-building. Sadly, in its tr
Emma Giordano
2.5 stars. I unfortunately was not a big fan of Caraval, which is very disappointing to me considering I was really excited for it!

Pretty much, everything about this book fell short for me. Every character was bland and annoying with no personality. The romance had absolutely no substance in my opinion, I never felt any chemistry or understood why they got together other than the fact that they were basically one of the only people available to the other. The setting of Caraval was so much less
Lia  (a paper pigeon)
Our futures are only predictable because as creatures of this world we are predictable.

I really did want to like this book.
I really did want to dive into a magical and dark adventure with Scarlett and Tella.

Sadly for me, I didn’t enjoy it the way I thought I would, and this adventure turned out to be a little school trip to Boredom Land, with one heck of a frustrating main character.
And don’t even let me start on her sister.

The premise is good, though it has its little flaws right from the
Jul 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: d-n-f
I've read 62 pages and I've had enough of this shitty cringefest. I dnfed this weeks ago and can't stand any of the one dimensional characters, especially the muscular, hot and swoon worthy dude who KIDNAPS the MAIN CHARACTER!!! *swoons* wow so hot!!!

fuck this abomination of a book.

br with my girl Alyssa who also dnfed lmao.
Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)
4.5/5 - This review can also be found on my blog, Dana and the Books

I had high expectations and low expectations stepping into Caraval. Everyone who's read it has been gushing over what a masterpiece it is. But then it was also endlessly compared to The Night Circus. Confession: I didn't like The Night Circus, so I was concerned that I just wouldn't be the target reader for Caraval.  Within the first few pages, it was clear that I was going to fawn over it.

"Remember, it's only a game..."

Is i
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it

This story was so magical, so whimsical, and so perfect. I was skeptical, because I'm pretty much the only person on Goodreads that did not like The Night Circus, but this didn't remind me of The Night Circus at all. Well, at least the 15% I read before I couldn't force myself to read more. I mean, I can see where people would draw the parallels because of the plot, but the writing in this is much more reminiscent of The Raven Boys or Heartless. The prose is the epitome of lyrical, with descript
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2019-reads
It felt like stepping into a world made of dreams and nightmares, laced with the spicy essence of desire and the cloying smell of fear.
❝ Remember, it's only a game. ❞

Oh, Stephanie Garber appears to be an expert at playing games, a master of manipulation and misdirection. My mind is still clouded, drunk in cider, unable to grasp the boundaries between sweet fiction and reality; I was her puppet numerous times, suspicious, disappointed, frustrated when she wanted me to, enamored yet terrified,
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
one of the coolest things i have ever experienced was an interactive play. you walked around from room to room in this large house where actors portrayed characters, acted out scenes, but also involved you. this book was like that, but only 1000x more magical. i mean, not to be dramatic, but i would bargain my soul to every one of the fates to be able to live in a world where i could participate in a caraval game. i am OBSESSED.

there is nothing quite like the amazement and sensational wonder of
Stephanie Garber
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi all!!

Thank you all so much for being interested in my book!

For those of you who are curious, you can now get a sneak peek inside at the first two chapters on Entertainment Weekly! Happy reading!
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Did anyone else see this while they were reading?


So how do you pronounce this, exactly?
In my head, I was saying it like Carnival without the n sound. Well, actually, I ended up trying out a few different pronunciations in my head (see example above), and eventually settled on that one...ish. Because, and I don't know if I'm the only one who does this or what, I've noticed that I kind of mumble stuff that I'm not 100% sure how to say.
Yes. In my head. I'll mumble shit in my head.
And you know what
4.5/5 stars



I have been seeing this book being praised for months now and finally, I understand where the hype is coming from. Magical and whimsical. This story just flies by and I loved getting deeper into it as the storyline progressed. I'm shocked at the fact Stephanie Garber is a debut author and this is only her first book because it was everything I wanted and more. I CANNOT wait for more from this author because my goodness this is
Pouting Always
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Scarlett has been writing letters to Legend for years, hoping to see Caraval, a show whose magic she can't even begin to imagine. Scarlett's grandmother told her stories about Legend coming to their island and the life changing show he put on, but Legend doesn't go anywhere twice, and after an accident at one of his shows he stops doing shows for the public. Scarlett and her sister Tella have never left their home island and so seeing Caraval is just a dream for Scarlett. Her last letter to Lege ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Remember, it’s only a game…

I wish you had told me it’s a boring one though, that is.

If you were to tell me that I would end up reading Caraval after having it on my tbr for 2 years, I would not have believed you. I remember being suuuuuuper excited for this but never got around to reading it because I simply, truthfully, did not want to spend my money on it after seeing so many mixed reviews, so I waited until my library had it. Now, Legendary is out and my library also has that one but here
TRIGGER WARNING: this one slipped my attention while reading, purely because I was bored, but I feel it is important to add that this book features parent x child abuse which isn't dealt with.

WARNING: this review will be a rant, there may be unmarked spoilers. This is also a highly unpopular opinion so if you want to come at me telling me I'm wrong or didn't understand the book I will punch you in the nose from how mad this book made me. Also, there is a high amount of swearing, which I usually
Ben Alderson
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it


Some parts where a bit whishy washy in the sense of to many descriptions and the pacing for me, in some places where a tad off.

BUT the twists and turns have left me jarred. I LOVED THE ENDING..
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Caraval might just be the most interesting and twisted book Ive read in a long while.


Update 19.10.17

The story follows two sisters voyage to Isla de los Sueños, after being invited to attend this years Caraval. Here, a mystery must be solved, but as every participant has been told repeatedly- Its only a game!

The story is captivating, drawing the reader in from the very first page. Stephanie Garber has created a lot of fascinating secondary characters and a magical setting, adding her attention
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
YA Buddy Readers'...: Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber - Starting February 3rd 2019 5 6 7 hours, 29 min ago  
Worth reading? 20 195 11 hours, 39 min ago  
UCAS English 11 R...: November Reading Assignment 1 2 Nov 30, 2018 05:46PM  
Of Wonderland Boo...: Buddy Read: Caraval 8 21 Nov 04, 2018 11:40PM  
Coffee Break: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber 1 4 Oct 22, 2018 04:46PM  
  • Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)
  • Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)
  • Poison's Kiss (Poison's Kiss, #1)
  • Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles, #1)
  • Long May She Reign
  • Blood Rose Rebellion (Blood Rose Rebellion, #1)
  • Given to the Sea (Given Duet, #1)
  • Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)
  • Reign the Earth (The Elementae, #1)
  • Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, #1)
  • The Forgetting (The Forgetting, #1)
  • A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)
  • Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1)
  • Bound by Blood and Sand (Bound by Blood and Sand #1)
  • The Dragon's Price (Transference, #1)
  • Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)
  • Unearthed (Unearthed, #1)
  • The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare, #1)
Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by this page. I’m only on this site occasionally, so if you’d like to send me a message, please use the contact form on my website:

I can also be found on Twitter, and I love connecting with readers. If you're looking for more information about my books, I try to update my website on a regular basis.

Other books in the series

Caraval (3 books)
  • Legendary (Caraval, #2)
  • Finale (Caraval, #3)
“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.” 420 likes
“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.” 260 likes
More quotes…