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Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: September 6th, 2016

352 pages

Synopsis: Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town– and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

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The Graces is being hyped as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Craft, so what could possibly go wrong? Um, plenty. First, the pacing is so agonizingly slow that I felt as though I was drowning in quicksand. For the majority of the book there is really no cohesive plot. It just goes round and round about River’s and most of the town’s fascination with the Graces. Are they witches or aren’t they?

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Honestly, by the time I reached the halfway point I couldn’t have cared less. I disliked all of them, as well as River, whose motivations are murky and in the end, just not believable. Adding to the unpleasantness is the dialogue which tries to be all deep and emo, but instead is utterly cringeworthy. Here’s a sample:

Every girl with eyes loved Fenrin. But I was not like those prattling, chattering things with their careful head tosses and thick cloying lip gloss. Inside, buried down deep where no one could see it, was the core of me, burning endlessly, coal black and coal bright.

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What the heck does that even mean? The last few chapters perk up slightly where the big reveal comes and loose ends come together to set things up for the next book. The problem is the mystery involving River isn’t a big surprise and the author throws in too many things too quickly which basically makes it a muddled mess. What is truly disappointing is the potential that was wasted. This could have been a thrilling YA horror novel, but instead is just a typical and rather boring high school soap opera. 

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I’m sorry to say that I just can’t find anything to recommend about The Graces. It’s receiving mixed reviews on Goodreads, and Kirkus actually gave it a positive write up, so if you’re intrigued, please don’t let my experience deter you from trying it.