Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Best the Boys” as Want to Read:
To Best the Boys
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Best the Boys

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  3,436 ratings  ·  1,045 reviews
The task is simple: Don a disguise. Survive the labyrinth . . . Best the boys.

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port have received a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see if their names are on the list. The wealthier
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
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 To Best the Boys, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,436 ratings  ·  1,045 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of To Best the Boys
Mary Weber
Sep 18, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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
Chaima ✨ شيماء
I swear trying to keep up with all these 2019 releases is basically like having a second job. But this sounds so insanely good! girl scientists refusing to fit the small space the world leaves for them and competing for an esteemed scholarship against the boys? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
March Fairyloot Book Of The Month. Click on link below the picture to see the wonderful goodies!


Thank you to Thomas Nelson for a hardback of this book!

Partial quote from the author:

For the girl who’s been told to quiet down, calm down, sit down, or just leave it to the men-this is for you. And to those who told you such things? Watch. Us. Rise.

I feel like this will be an inspiration to young girls. The book will show them they don't need a man to make it in life and to think for
hm. there is a solid foundation present within this story, with really creative ideas, but it isnt developed as well as it could be. in other words, this isnt bad but it could be better.

strong feminist vibes and women empowerment are very present themes in the story, but its a little too overpowering. every word and action by rhen is basically to prove men wrong. i get it, i think it will inspire the target audience of this story, but it was just a bit much for me and took too much attention
C.G. Drews
If you thought getting into university was stressful, w o a h, take a step back and read this book. This is basically a maze competition where the winner gets a scholarship and PTSD. #Kind And I really enjoyed myself with this one! The author is so lovely on instagram and has reached out and said kind things to me during my debut year (writing is hard, folks) so I was super excited to read my first book from her. It definitely didn't disappoint!

it's a very apt discussion of today's world too
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

I love Mary Weber as much as her food recipes she shares with us every single month! I don’t usually decide whether to read a certain book by its cover, but this cover made me want to find out more about it. When I read the synopsis, I had to read it, as it captures women fighting for their rights in a young-adult format, and it simply was something I couldn’t miss.

I will be honest with you and say that this book didn’t deliver. Maybe it was my

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | Reddit | LinkedIn | YouTube |
Nadine Brandes
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
To Best the Boys by Mary Weber is a young adult fantasy that I couldn’t help but think was a bit like taking The Handmaid’s Tale and mixing with The Hunger Games. This is a lighter read than either mentioned but it does take place in a male dominated society which runs an annual competition.

Rhen Tellur is unlike other girls her own age who only train to run a household and please a husband. Rhen instead is out surveying corpses and trying to come up with a cure to her mother’s disease working
Nicki Chapelway
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kind of was expecting a cliffhanger because, well, this is Mary Weber after all. I guess this was a standalone, which is somewhat disappointing because I would have loved to have spent more time in this world.

Rhen, Seleni, Lute, Beryll, Sam and Eric <3 <3 <3 <3 I loved these crazy kids more than I can say.

And I am so appreciative of this portrayal of strong females. They don't all have to kick bums or sass every nearby males. They can take care of their family and have different
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was okay but it didn’t blow me away the way I expected it to. My first big disappointment of 2019.

I did enjoy the characters of Rhen, her Da, Seleni and Lute. And I did the hate the characters I was supposed to, but it just didn’t pack a knockout blow.

It reminded me slightly of Caraval, actually a LOT of Caraval. It just seemed to have a slight feminist twist on it.

I did also enjoy the romance, but it was just so obvious that it didn’t overly affect me either way.

This was good, but with a
m a r y l i z
Well then.

I didn't hate it, but that's the most glowing praise you'll get out of me.

Two stars feels slightly harsh, but three stars feels too generous . . . *scratches head* Times like these make me wish Goodreads had half stars, but c'est la vie.


-The cover. The way the letters loop around the maze and the gorgeous greenery everywhere?? Yeah. I'm digging that cover.

-A YA BOOK WITH SUPPORTIVE PARENTS. Ladies and gentleman, you heard that correctly. This is indeed a rare specimen. It's
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
WOWWWWWW. WHAT?? *mindblown*

Review @ the blog!


I read To Best the Boys in pretty much one sitting and absolutely loved it. It’s about a girl who enters a maze and competes against boys to receive a scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University–doesn’t that give you the Hunger Games vibes?

It certainly did for me, at least for the first one-third of the book (it’s even in present tense!). And then it kind of steered off into its own thing, which I loved! I wasn’t quite expecting the maze to be
Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ❤️
One of my favorites so far this year!

Fascinating tale of feminism in a world where women are not yet able to do anything but get married off In hopes of bettering their position in society. The heroine Rhen has been homeschooled by her father who was of a lower class than her mother’s family. When her mother married him she was disowned from the family.

Rhen wants to be a scientist like her father and wants to cure a plague like disease that is running rampant through the lower classes. Her
Mara YA Mood Reader
2 stars. Did I read the same book as everyone else? I’ve never read anything by this author before so perhaps I don’t have a loyal disposition to her—which I totally get and that’s fine but this felt like it was rushed through editing.

There were a lot of inconsistencies that I am shocked slipped past editing. Things like describing the sweltering heat, but they’re wearing coats and then swimming in the warm sea, but then all the sudden it’s cold and someone’s shivering and standing by the fire
Anja H.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

“You take this world and make it what it should be."

I hate to say this, but I’m feeling incredibly underwhelmed right now.
The premise really spoke to me. You know, girl power and all that. I was pretty sure this was going to be one of my favorite reads this year, as the Labyrinth/maze-type setting reminded me of The Hunger Games or Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I did love Rhen. She was fierce and smart. I also really loved Lute and Seleni and Beryll and pretty
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness, THIS BOOK. I had high expectations for this story and it completely lived up to them. This book is literally amazing and definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read. Yep, it was that good.

To Best the Boys follows a character named Rhen. Wanting to be able to get a higher education, she disguises herself as a boy and enters an all male contest in a maze, hoping that she’ll win the scholarship. If that’s not the coolest story line I don’t know what is. ;)

The first 100+ pages
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
To Best the Boys has one of the most exciting premises I've seen this year - it promises a strong female character who's more than savvy in the science department, a thrilling competition, and perhaps a lesson on two on feminism.

The strong female character? She's totally there. Rhen Tellur is smart, headstrong, and very easy to root for. Her best friend, Seleni, is softer, and the perfect example of how female characters don't need to be able to wield knives to be considered badass.

The thrilling
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
Happy book birthday, To Best the Boys! Go check this one out, guys. It's definitely worth the read!

What do you want?
I want my mum to live.
I want the right to earn an education.
I want to be the first female scientist.
I want to create my own happiness.
I want . . .

Okay this was a really interestingly good book. Like I almost don’t even know how to begin this review???? This is another case of me starting an ARC, being interrupted and reading a million other books, and then finally finishing it.
Mellie Antoinette
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“To Dissenters: No one likes a sore pouter-so stay

I probably would have categorized this as a MG retelling of all your favorite YA fandoms, because this was ADORABLE!! It was cute, approachable and had happier moments reminiscent of:
Alice and Wonderland
The Hunger Games
Audrey Rose Wadsworth
The Maze Runner.

“My Labyrinth was you. Your mind. Your heart.
Your trust.”

Super enjoyable!
Tracey Dyck
AHHHH! I'm so, so glad this book lived up to--and surpassed--all the hype that surged at the time of its release.

Like many of my friends who've read To Best the Boys, I was somewhat concerned that it'd be a heavy-handed feministic sermon. But it turned out to be the best novel dealing with feminism that I've ever read! And that's partially because that wasn't the sole POINT of the story. But let me get back to the beginning.


-I. LOVE. RHEN. She's super relatable, even if I don't
Tana △⃒⃘ ⚯͛ Cozyreadings

O.W.L. Readathon 2019
Herbology: Plant on the cover

First of all: this book takes Nevernight's spot for best opening sentence. So macabre, but I can't help but love it.

The problem with siphoning blood from a bloated cadaver is that sometimes it's belly makes an involuntary twitch just as you're leaning over the discolored skin. The problem with being the girl currently stealing the sticky blood is that while logic says there's an explanation for such phenomena, the rest of me says it
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A solid 4.5 stars!

This book is not a man-shaming feminist manifesto as some (perhaps even myself *cough cough*) feared it would be despite Mary Weber's repeated statements that it in no way tears men down.

Turns out she was /right/ when said that it builds up both genders and is a fun, atmospheric, (at times) weird story. Funny how that works out.


I think it's well worth reading if you're into fantasy, girl power that doesn't come at the expense of guy power, creepy ghouls and sea sirens, fun
Erin O'Connor {If The Review Fits}
Guys, I'm so excited to finally write this review! This was a book that I received from NetGalley, and it got voted to be read as one of my group's (Anyone Else?) buddy reads for May, so I was able to actually make time to read it and I'm not sorry!

I fell in love with this book by chapter 1, I hope to one day be in the medical field and the main character in this book (a female) was! And especially in the time this book hailed in. I really enjoyed reading this book, one because of all the
Raquel Flockhart
“It’s not that I don’t belong. It’s that I belong to me.”

I’ve been interested in To Best the Boys since I read the synopsis. A mysterious labyrinth and a scientist girl wanting to best the boys in a competition? It sounded like my cup of tea. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was expecting.

Rhen Tellur is a teenager who dreams about becoming a scientist in a fantasy setting where only boys get a chance to go to the university. When she receives the annual letter inviting boys to compete for a

Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
This book was absolutely amazing, and I loved every minute of it. This book has come the closest to matching the feel/tone of one of my all-time favorites--The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Fans of that masterpiece and Mary Weber's previous work should adore this book.

Some highlights:
- Girl Power (without being ragingly feminist). While the story did feature platonic and romantic relationships, the heart of the story was the message that it's okay just to be you. Not someone's friend,
R.F. Gammon
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a 3.5 star book, but I'm rounding to 4 stars because I can.

This is actually my first book by Mary Weber (shameful, right? For shame, Faith!), and so I had no expectations whatsoever going in. I have a lot of friends who like this author, and I thought she was--okay? Pretty good? (Please don't kill me for not instantly jumping on the bandwagon! I need time to think! XD)

But anyway...let's review this thing.

-BERYLL. At first when he started screaming I was like "Is it a banshee or
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.75 (I am the Amy Santiago of ratings)
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 solid stars. It is a YA Fantasy, cross between Handmaid's Tale and Ready Player One. Enjoyed it immensely and loved the main character.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1)
  • The Beholder (The Beholder, #1)
  • Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)
  • Circle of Shadows (Circle of Shadows, #1)
  • Sorcery of Thorns
  • Romanov
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1)
  • Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)
  • The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)
  • Fire & Heist
  • The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)
  • Wicked Fox (Gumiho, #1)
  • The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
  • Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
  • House of Salt and Sorrows
  • Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)
  • Eight Will Fall
  • Warrior of the Wild
See similar books…
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
“You take this world and make it what it should be. And don’t let the beliefs of a backward system define you. You are the one who has to live with the future, baby girl. So you live it. You understand?” 20 likes
“I’ve been out with boys, showing them my ankles, Mrs. Mench.” 4 likes
More quotes…