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To Best the Boys

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  33 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens i ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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Mary Weber
Sep 18, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I clicked "Read" on my Goodreads bar and it promptly nudged me to (1) rate my own book, and (2) answer the question, "What did you think?"

Well... to the first part - I won't rate it other than to know, my mom and I kind of like it.

To the second -
What I think is that I wrote To Best the Boys for the girl I've been and still often am. I wrote it for the daughters I have who've lived so much of this book, and for my sister who recently returned to school and earned a bio-chem degree. I w
Nadine Brandes
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Got to say that I'm pleasantly surprised by this book. It was quite good actually and I really liked the heroine, Rhen and the whole concept of the story. When I first read the blurb my first though was that the story was going to be something similar to The Hunger Games and there was some resemblance to it, with the game and the oppression, but not as much a
Ivana - Diary of Difference
I have just been approved for the ARC from Netgalley! So excited!!!
Nicki Chapelway
Sep 25, 2018 marked it as to-read
Galaxy Adventurer
Before reading:
*grabby hands*
I needs the precious


I've been a Mary Weber fan since Storm Siren.
I remember putting it on hold at the library, and getting excited once I was finally able to read it.
I instantly fell in love with the characters, the world, the story, and the writing.
And I remember feeling crushed after I experienced my first cliffhanger ending.
No cliffhanger I will ever read will crush me as much as that one did(*bows to Mary the Queen of Cliffhangers*)
And since Storm Siren, I
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s no secret how much I love Mary’s books, but this one just blew them all out of the water (yes, all of them, even Reclaiming Shilo Snow). It may actually be my favorite book, OF. ALL. TIME.
To Best The Boys is a story set in a (delightfully creepy at times) world where girls are denied higher education, the poor are denied proper healthcare, and the wealthy live in blissful (or willful) ignorance of the issues of those they consider beneath them. A young woman named Rhen Tellur disguises her
Katie Clark
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Where do I even start?! I loved this book. I love Rhen, and the entire cast of characters right down to the bad guys.

I loved their quaint little port, the science, the spookies, and the romance. It had a vibe that reminded me of Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp. Very cool!

So, now I have to make some time to read it again. ;)
Cassia Schaar
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as to-read
Another Mary Weber book? YES PLEASE!!!
Jodi Meadows
Delightful. More words coming soon.
Christine Manzari
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was the perfect mix of Escape the Room, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Goblet of Fire, and girl power.
Jun 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
That cover though!

Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, romance
ARC received courtesy of Thomas Nelson through NetGalley.

Talented scientist Rhen enters Holm's Labyrinth in a last chance bid to gain the repute denied women in her society and convince the Caldon politicians to find a cure for the deadly disease preying on her port town.

Official rating: 3.5

Final review coming February 21 2019.
Jun 20, 2018 marked it as to-read
Ooo... *heart-eyes*
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, 2018-reads, fantasy
It’s very rare to find a story that makes me smile while my very being swells with pride from the first page to the last and I couldn’t be happier to have found that within this book.

“To Best the Boys” sees a world not that different from our own in that the rich sit as high as they can and make decisions that further their own interests without any regard for those considered beneath them, but when Rhen sees an opportunity to get a better education by joining the men’s only test through the La
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I first heard about Mary Weber's To Best the Boys, my first thought was I have to read this book! It's exactly the kind of book I want to read. A strong, scientifically-minded heroine setting off to prove she's as worthy as the boys and to find cure for her dying mother. At the same time, the premise had so many potential landmines I feared it as much as a contestant entering the labyrinth. But the book passes each obstacle with skill and ingenuity. You have to read the book to find out how ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Where do I start? This book was a feast for the senses. From the coastal town setting to the warm labyrinth cakes, to the salty air, to the blood and microscopes, contrasts of elite and dirty fishermen, to the surprise villain, this book wraps you up in a beautiful, not-too-strong fantasy world, and holds you to the very end. The characters were strong and vi
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book had everything I'd want from a book. The world building was complete in the context of the story, the characters were well rounded, and I enjoyed the writing. The writing was descriptive but not overly flowery, it was a great balance.
"My gloved left hand grips the sealed vial while my right hand tugs my flimsy cloak closer against the specter of cold that haunts every recess and shadow of our chilly coastal town."
Each chapter keep the story moving to where I didn't want to put the b
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars - Incredible YA fantasy stand-alone.

While ‘To Best the Boys’ is set in a fictional fantasy world, it would be entirely believable as YA historical fiction if not for the touch of magic and supernatural elements.

Rhen Tellur and her cousin Seleni are strong, fearless ladies and the best of friends despite their different upbringings. Rhen’s mother was outcast from the posh ‘Upper’ lifestyle she was born into when she married a ‘Lower’ for love. As such, Rhen has grown up with the love and
Corinne Sparks
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This has allllll the YA tropes of recent bestsellers like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games - but adds some lovely touches that I think make it more appealing.
It's set in a Regency style era, where flashing your ankles is scandalous, and women are very much under men in terms of power and opportunities. This makes the conversations joyful to read, almost a hint of Jeeves and Wooster style camaraderie and banter.
It takes the death-trap maze or labyrinth, and makes it a test for a coveted Univ
Paula Roussel (She Sniffs Books)
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review

I'm too damn excited to read this! One girl against the boys; in a world where only the men can be educated while the women are left at home to do "wifely" duties. Time for kickass-girls!
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as 2019-tbr
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

What if I don’t fully belong anywhere...because I belong to myself?

I have to admit, this book had me at the title. When I proceeded to read the description, I knew I had to check it out, and I am so very glad I was given the opportunity to do so. This novel was fun, well-written, and an excellent path for examining women’s place in society as well as the
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review also available on my blog

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

First of all I’d just like to say that To Best the Boys was no less than a magnificent book. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

The story takes place in a magic world where ghouls, basilisks and sirens exist. Gender equality however, does not. Women are expected to take care of the home, while men can pursue educati
AJ Henn
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer H.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

A story as mysterious and unique as the Labyrinth maze that lurks within its pages!

Our MC Rhen Tellur is stretched pretty thin. By day she's being courted by the prominent Vincent King who is considered an "Upper" to her "Lower" social status and by night, she along with her cousin Seleni and Seleni's boyfriend Beryll, steals blood from fresh cadavers to use
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
To Best the Boys is a really quick read that gives you all the YA tropes you need. There are elements from other books like The Scorpio Races, The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner.

Rhen is expected to be a homemaker and a simple wife, but she doesn't want it. She's an amazing scientist, and ultimately, she decides to enter a competition for boys to prove her worth. It's essentially TMR but instead of that whole simulation, it's meant for a university scholarship.

I feel like I didn't enjoy it as
Jamie Coudeville
I loved this book. Rhen is such a badass. I love how she and Seleni supported each other, despite being 2 entirely different people. I really loved the message that this book carried, women can do anything men can. Rhen never wanted to prove she was better than the men in the contest, she wanted to show that women can do just as well.

I'm kind of sad that it's a standalone. I would love to see another book set a (few) year(s) later.

I guess it's time I get back to finishing the Storm Siren Trilo
Susana Zemlyakova
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
To Best the Boys is a fun YA read featuring action/adventure that also touches on feminism. Rhen is a scientist from the poor side of town. Although she is smarter than most kids her age, she is also a girl so intelligence is a trait most frown upon. In her patriarchal society, boys compete for the chance to attend the prestigious university on a scholarship from a mysterious benefactor while girls do needlework. A chance encounter with a potential suitor, and a dangerous plot to eliminate oth ...more
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Hi. I write books. I eat things. I kiss things. I believe in mermaids.

I'm also the author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series, and the March 2019 release, To Best the Boys. When not working, I sing 80’s hairband songs to my three muggle children, and ogle my husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. We live in California, which is perfect for stalking aging movie sta