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The Divines

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,499 ratings  ·  443 reviews
With the emotional power of Normal People and the reflective haze of The Girls, a magnetic novel that moves between present-day Los Angeles and a British boarding school in the 1990s, exploring the destructive relationships between teenage girls.

Can we ever really escape our past?

The girls of St John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, were notorious for flippin
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 19th 2021 by William Morrow
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Jennifer I’d say 18 and older. There’s one of two descriptive sentences about genitals and brief scenes of sex (one or two I think?) but that’s about it.
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Average rating 3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,499 ratings  ·  443 reviews

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Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 *

This book seems to be a little hard to review and I can see I'm not the only one thinking this. It is a debut book that I think is beautifully written and pretty smart. I listened to the audiobook. The narrator is exceptional.

The story alternates from past to present time. In the past, Josephine attended a boarding school in England during her teenage years. The school was St. John The Divine and the girls called themselves, "Divines." It is a boarding school for the privileged that many of
Jessica | JustReadingJess
I really enjoyed The Divines. It is a coming of age novel where the main character experienced every possible problem imaginable. The story also discusses Jo’s problems in adulthood. The Divines really focuses on what happened in the past and how that affects Jo in the present.

There are so many lies and rules broken in The Divines. The girls all go by nicknames that could be boy’s names. Jo experiments with her sexuality. The girls have their first sexual experiences. Drinking, smoking, sex, and
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-2021, 2021
3.5 Complex Boarding School Stars

This complex story is difficult to categorize, it’s a bit coming-of-age, escaping the past, and with a bit of a mystery thrown in. This debut novel really got me thinking about perception and reality and how we reconcile ourselves with the past.

There are two storylines, one is set at a boarding school in England, St. John the Divine, and features the privileged girls who are students and call themselves The Divines. There is a long history and legacy with mothers
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lit-fic
Like many readers, I'm a sucker for a good campus novel, so when I saw the premise of "The Divines" by Ellie Eaton on NetGalley, I couldn't press request fast enough (thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the review copy).

The book starts off well enough. In her adult years, our main character Josephine returns back to the town where her former boarding school used to stand. The passing of time has brought about a number of changes: the buildings that used to make up the school have eit
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
It's hard to give a rating to The Divines, a book I didn't exactly enjoy reading but found coldly compelling with its woven, tangled psychological drama-mystery of the teenage girls from boarding school St John the Divine. We follow the narrator, Josephine, (Joe while at school, Sephine in her adult life after shedding the Divine from her life) as she uncovers, recalls, processes who she was, who she is, and what happened all those years ago, flipping back and forth between her school days a ...more
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Teenage girls are cruel, and “The Divines” by Ellie Eaton is an almost horror story about a group of privileged boarding school-girls. Eaton writes so well that I got stomach-aches reading this novel. This coming-of-age story garnered a big buzz and lots of press. It’s deserved. The tone, emotions, and cruel shenanigans ring true, uncomfortably true.

The story line is a prior student, Sephine, is drawn back to her now defunct boarding school. Her mother, also an alumnus of the same girls boardin
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
WOW! I don't know what it was about this book, but I could not put it down. An exploration of the choices we make and how they haunt us through adulthood. ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5/5 Stars

I'm always looking for novels with a dark academia feel since I find them very intriguing and enjoy reading them. I must say this one kind of fell flat to me. I would say that the only dark academia part was the setting which is a boarding school in England, but in regards to academics there really wasn't much, which for me was just a shame.
Some of the characters did have some interesting storylines, but in the end it all felt quite inconclusive. The parts set at boarding school were
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I got sucked in by this campus novel and enjoyed some of its unique quirky elements - all girls school, narrator's mother also attended, all girls refer to each other with boys' names, and most intriguing - there is a significant town-gown tension. The chapters are largely at the school when Josephine is a child, but also show her as an adult starting from her honeymoon.

I enjoyed reading this, but ended it feeling some dissatisfaction in how some stories resolved.

Thanks to the publisher for giv
Lilith Black Bee
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Pretty good, but that ending though?! Very disappointing! Besides, am I the only one that wonders what really happened, did Jo imagined some of the things or not?! 🤔
Elizabeth Turnbull
I have so many mixed feelings about this book.

For the first 90% of the novel I was convinced this just wasn’t for me. I was struggling to connect to the story or invest in the characters. I felt frustrated and angry at Jo for her cowardice and pettiness. Her lack of empathy and depth. Until the very end. The ending, while perhaps a bit vague for my taste, was intriguing enough to change my perception of all of the chapters proceeding it.

First of all, I listened to this as an audiobook and the
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-arcs
3.5 stars

This audiobook was off-putting and I honestly have no idea how to feel about this book. After doing some thinking and after reading a couple of reviews about this book, I feel like I have a better understanding as to what the author tried to do here and while for me, this was not a read I would describe as "enjoyable" it was entertaining and kept my attention from beginning to end!

In The Divines, you will follow Josephine's perspective in present and past time. She is very unlikable an
Marta :}
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, adult
“Divines could be cruel, conceited, arcane, but we were faithful to the end. We sobbed and hugged one another. Forever, we promised, always. Nothing could break us apart, proving in the end how much we underestimated Gerry. We swore on our lives. We crossed our hearts.”
Thanks to the publisher for offering me this copy of The Divines, you can also find my review on The Nerd Daily.

Ellie Eaton’s compelling debut is a study into how we constantly reshape our memories in order to make them fit bette
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: release-2021
The Divines (as they’re called) are the girls at St. John the Divine, a private English boarding school. Josephine, who spent five years at the school, has received an invitation to the schools reunion of its students (it was closed in disgrace with her graduating class.) She’s now married with a daughter living in California. She hasn’t spoken to her classmates for fifteen years, and is unsure if she wants to attend. The invite evokes a strong need to reflect upon her time there. This story fol ...more
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC audiobook version of this title!

I'm not going to say any outright spoilers but I might say some spoilerish things, so if you don't want to know anything about this book beyond the summary, please tread lightly with my review!

This is a tough one for me to review. It usually takes me a while to listen to audiobooks and at just over 11 hours, I flew through it in around 4 days. This is in part due to Imogen Church's absolutely phenomenal narrati
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Divines by Ellie Eaton is a coming of age story that is shocking and seductive. The book has a dual timeline and a flawed, dislikable main character that is revisiting her teen years at an elite boarding school for girls. While this debut is beautifully written, the audio version will definitely draw you in and captivate you.

It has been a while since I have read a true bildungsroman and The Divines is one book that explores all of the psychological and moral g
Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-books
4.5 Stars

See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram

“Divines could be cruel, conceited, arcane, but we were faithful to the end..Forever, we promised, always.”- The Divines.

This book follows Josephine who attended St. John the Divine boarding school when she was younger. The girls of this elite English school, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys, and chain-smoking cigarettes. Now in her thirties, Josephine hasn’t spoken to another Divine in f
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
afraid the pretty cover is all this book has going for it
Jan 18, 2021 rated it did not like it
I received an ARC through the Book Club Girls Early Reads program from Harper Collins Publishers.

I’m sorry to say, but this book was absolutely awful. There was not one single likable character in the entire book. They were a bunch of insufferable, entitled, selfish brat bullies who used their perceived status to make life absolutely miserable for everyone around them. I read for enjoyment, but this book made me feel disgusted and angry at their awful behavior. If there was ANYTHING redeemable
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
3.5 stars
The Divines alters between two timelines of our protagonist, Josephine’s, life. Her time as ‘Joe’ while attending St John the Divine, a boarding school in the middle of England and as ‘Sephine’, an adult trying to come to terms with her past.

There were many elements I enjoyed in here, mostly from boarding school chapters, wherein Eaton raises the topics of toxic friendship, the feeling of isolation at a young age and the exploration of sexuality in a time where it wasn’t so openly disc
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My review will appear in Booklist! This is a very complicated book, more complex than I could adequately describe in my review. It starts a little slow but ramps up after the midpoint, and I found myself more invested than I thought I would be. This may be a hard sell to patrons, especially those who are used to boarding school mysteries, because it's less of a mystery than a character study. But it will stick with me for a long time. ...more
Anna Luce
DNF 20%

Now tell me if you have heard of this kind of story before: in the prologue, someone dies, years later our narrator for some reason looks back to the past and this 'death'. I kind of blame TSH for this 'trend'. Eaton's novel reads a lot like an amalgamation The Secret Place, The Lightness, Good Girls Lie, and All Girls. This kind of setup can be great if done right but I am afraid that in Eaton's hands it ends being a bland, and not nearly sapphic enough, affair.
I am so tired of the narra
Feb 08, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 unsatisfactory stars

The Story had potential but the narrative just failed to keep my interest, specially because of the constant back and forth between the past and present. The past was somewhat intriguing but the present timeline put me off, it was quite boring and some topics were unnecessarily and grossly detailed. The protagonist seemed an odd character to me, she kept victimising herself even though she was vain and a bully and she seemed to hate her child. She even seemed quite violen
Liz Barnsley
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Divines is a brilliant in your face novel, encompassing the vivid brutality of youth, the mysterious ways your formative years can echo down throughout adulthood and ultimately how one change of perspective can throw everything you thought you knew into turmoil.

I loved it, it is a story of friends and perceived enemies, of privilege and lack thereof, with an engaging, broken central character whose life you fall headfirst into.

The Divines of the title are an arrogant group and the author ha
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
I received an audio copy of this book from the publisher, Harper Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is not an esoteric academy novel, for sure. It’s a boarding school novel using the school mainly for setting and atmosphere. I was hoping for The Orchard or The Secret History, but at a girl’s boarding school. I got something more akin Pretty Little Liars or Cruel Intentions. I found it very superficial, with appearances mattering more than just about anything else. It’s al
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-fic, 2021-new
kind of wack, but really enjoyed it!
Anita Fajita Pita
The Divines was a creeper - it snuck up on me. I had no idea what to expect, and was even questioning the point of the book in the early pages, but I just kept listening. Tbh, Imogen Church was an outstanding audiobook narrator, and I'm a little sad that I didn't find any of her other works on my tbr.

The story unfolds in the present as past ruminations about Josephine's (or Jo's, since The Divines gave each other male nicknames) days at St. John the Divine boarding school in the 90's. Jo explore
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A captivating novel which drew me in from the start. The characters were beautifully vivid. A striking reminder of how acutely bewildering, gruelling and confusing the teenage years are - the awkward navigation of which can have life long lasting impressions. Highly recommend.
Glenn Stenquist
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A haunting revist to her shut down adolescent boarding school brings back vivid past. keeps you involved till end. Chilling
Alice 🌙
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75/5 ⭐️
This is just about a all girls boarding school and the shit they get up to and the drama and bullying ect. I did like the duo time lines tho
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Challenge Corner: The Divines by Ellie Eaton --> Starting January 27th, 2021 12 14 Jan 28, 2021 12:40PM  
Download PDF/ePub eBook The Divines: A Novel 1 5 Jan 19, 2021 08:24AM  
Ellie Eaton is a freelance writer, whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Observer and Time Out. Former Writer-in-Residence at a men’s prison in the UK, she holds an MA in creative writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and was awarded a Kerouac Project residency. Born and raised in England, she now lives in Los Angeles with her family. The Divines is her first novel.

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