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

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  858 ratings  ·  465 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, FairyLoot Exclusive, 321 pages
Published March 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
3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  858 ratings  ·  465 reviews

Sort order
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 w
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 t
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?
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
Nadine Brandes
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

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

| Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Buy this Book
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 al
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
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
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.
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
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
Nicki Chapelway
Sep 25, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
✅ Caraval
✅ Audrey Rose Wadsworth
✅ The Maze Runner.

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

Super enjoyable!
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.
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
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 so
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
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, girl
Jill Williamson
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love anything that Mary Weber writes, so I was giddy about reading To Best the Boys. It’s fabulous, guys. I so enjoyed all her characters Rhen, Lute, Mr. Holm, Seleni, and Beryll. (I loved Seleni and Beryll SO MUCH! ♥💕) The storyworld was wonderful. And I love the depth that the events in the circumstances of the story bring too. This book is releasing next month. You all must read it!. Go. Order it. You’re going to want it on your shelf. ...more
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
"Holm's castle sits on the tallest hill in Pinsbury Port, on an estate gracing the far side of the Upper end that stretches all the way down to touch the sea a full mile from the wharf."

> 3.5 stars

Sooo . . . I have a lot of thoughts about this one. It looked really promising and I love the cover/was really taken with the blurb, but at the end of the day I really liked some bits, but not others.

.:The Good:.

- I love the cover

- Rhen is a really enjoyable heroine. She's smart and opinionated
Jane Maree
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so inspiring. I finished it and I was just so overwhelmed by how encouraged, how uplifted, and how motivated I was. It was beautiful.

The characters were so dynamic. From the first moment they stepped onto the page, they were absolutely bursting with life.

First of all the ladies: Rhen was so untameable and bold, and in the best way possible. Seleni was equally inspiring but in a totally different way. This book really encompassed how women are called to different things. There's no
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Divine Anas
“His full lips still have that pucker the girls liked to swoon over. The same one I wondered more than a few times if the tissue was actually formed that way, or if he was just perpetually in the mood to kiss things. I once imagined dissecting his face to find out.”
I love this excerpt so much.

This may just be a light fantasy novel that skirts over most of the predictable tropes and plot devices, but it’s the message it conveys which makes this book quite a compelling read. The first chapter
Merie Shen
I am so, so sorry that I’ve never picked up a Mary Weber book before this one, and I am going to remedy that soon… because Ms. Weber is an awesome writer and a beautiful human being, and To Best the Boys is seriously one of the best standalone novels I’ve ever read.

This book was an inspired and inspiring piece of fiction. After I put it down, I was left in that state of post-awesome-ending where the only thing I could say was “wow.” I’ve read few novels that accentuate the point of feminism with
Claire Banschbach
Am I supposed to be editing my own book for an impending deadline? Yes.
Did I read this whole book last night? Also yes.

Full review to come! But I looooooved it soooo much!
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

To Best the Boys 
is my first Mary Weber book, but definitely won't be my last! (Seriously guys, how have I not read Sofi Snow yet? This is a fail that needs to be remedied immediately!) Anyway, let's talk about this one, shall we?

The Stuff I Liked:

•I love a competition. Especially when people can legit lose their lives, not just a contest. (Does this make me seem like an awful person
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Kingdom
  • The Beckoning Shadow (The Beckoning Shadow #1)
  • Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
  • The Pioneer (The Pioneer, #1)
  • The Tiger at Midnight (The Tiger at Midnight Trilogy, #1)
  • Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)
  • The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)
  • A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood, #1)
  • The Waking Forest
  • The Beholder
  • Fall Like Thieves
  • The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)
  • Malice
  • Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1)
  • Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)
  • The Deceivers (Vale Hall, #1)
  • The Secrets of Paper and Ink
  • Dark of the West (Glass Alliance, #1)
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
“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?” 5 likes
More quotes…