What I’m Reading Now: The Diviners by Libba Bray (Giveaway + Blogging Tip)


This post was supposed to be a review of The Diviners by Libba Bray, but my migraine over the Thanksgiving holiday cheated me out of 5 days of reading. I did watch a lot of Being Human, Doctor Who, and the back of my eyelids, so not all was lost. I’m about halfway through, though, and so far I really like it. It’s dark, which seems to be what I’m drawn to these days. However, had I played the trailer, which I just watched after inserting the code into this post, I would have run screaming into a pool of holy water.

The book is spooky, but so far it’s not that spooky.

I was offered a copy–no review was necessary for this post–and I took it thinking I could read it and turn around and donate it to the library. To quote Evie, the main character, that is posi-tute-ly not going to happen. The Diviners falls firmly in the 14+ camp, at least for someone who volunteers at a Catholic K-8 school. I’ve seen kids at school read books that are just as mature, but they bring them from home. There is no way I could get my principal to approve a book about a serial killer, the occult, and the 17 year old speakeasy-hopping teens that chase him.

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Libba Bray is an excellent writer, and she so far she hasn’t disappointed with The Diviners. I know some of you disliked Going Bovine, and I’m curious to know if you’ve read The Diviners and enjoyed it. There are so, so, so many young adult paranormal stories out there, and it’s refreshing to read one that I, an adult, find myself enjoying. It’s smart young adult fiction. Libba Bray and her contemporaries prove young adult literature exists and it’s not all candy floss and soda. The trick is to hold out for the good stuff.

Kind of like this giveaway, which is for one book and one tote bag. The book and tote bag aren’t what makes the giveaway great–I mean, yes, they’re great and you should enter and tell all your friends!–but much like young adult books, it pays to hold out for the good stuff. I try to limit the giveaways and sponsored posts on the blog. I turn down quite a bit, even for books, because (1) this isn’t my livelihood and (2) giveaway posts can be really dull, especially when the blogger hasn’t finished the book and doesn’t have a story to share.

Luckily, I have a story to share. Last week I was offered product and payment for a post on something I thought my boys would like because it’s an interest they recently acquired. My discussion with the company was going well until they said they could not proceed unless I agreed I wouldn’t disclose the post was sponsored and that I received free product. Long story short: I said NO.

They didn’t care. They were confident someone else would do it; maybe they’re right. After blogging for 6 years (this blog turned 6 on Saturday!) my only piece of advice to anyone starting out is this: don’t sell out. Blog in a way that aligns with your principles. Don’t let a big company or a fancy publicist manipulate you into thinking that if you don’t take this deal right! now! you will never become a blogging sensation, because giveaway or no giveaway, the odds of you becoming a blogging sensation are very, very slim.

There are very few Evie O’Neils in this world, and there are even fewer successful full time bloggers. If you’re destined to be one of them, it’s better to get there on your own terms. I’m not destined to be a successful full time blogger and knowing that makes blogging a lot more fun.

Wait for the good stuff. Giveaway the good stuff. Read the good stuff. Or be like me and try to do those three things as often as you can, with a little fluffy brain reading tossed in to cleanse the palate. (A lot of fluffy brain reading. Ahem. No one’s perfect.)


One (1) winner receives:
An exclusive The Diviners tote bag & a copy of the book!

Prizing courtesy of Little, Brown
Giveaway open to anyone 18 years of age and older with a current mailing address
One comment per person on this post
Giveaway closes Friday, December 13, 2013
Good luck!

26 Responses to “What I’m Reading Now: The Diviners by Libba Bray (Giveaway + Blogging Tip)”
  1. Kristy says:

    I am not sure how to register for this draw, so I am doing it here?? Was I supposed to do that?
    Also, I wanted to say that I liked what you said about doing what feels right for you and your blog. I just started mine a little while back (most scary and exciting thing!). I decided to give Google ads a go and right away it felt weird and looked out of place. But, I kept it on there. A week ago they contacted me and told me it was being removed – they couldn’t say why. OOOOooo suspicious activity. I didn’t click on my ads or encourage anyone to do so. Anyway, long story short I realized I was glad they removed it. I don’t have any feelings towards anyone who has them. But, I realized it wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t why I put up my blog. So, I appreciate what you said.
    Next, I went to Libba Bray’s website and I enjoy the way she describes her life. Definitely a writer, she is (reached my Yoda talk quota for the day).
    So, thanks for bringing her to my attention, thanks, again, for being real and honest and making me feel good about the fact that I am a Google ad reject :)

  2. Courtney says:

    The book sound…Divine! Thanks for staying true to yourself and your blog.

  3. Oh, I want to try this one! I spent Thanksgiving weekend being creeped out by an alien invasion: Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. Not sure that I’d call it slanty-letters literature, but it was a fun and sometimes thought-provoking read. Here’s the trailer for that one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkEAIs4pJc

    Went to a seminar on upcoming YA lit right before Thanksgiving. My reading list is now ridiculously long.

  4. Melissa says:

    I’m hoping this might be a good one for my almost 14-yr-old niece who isn’t a big reader, but liked The Hunger Games series. Also, maybe I would read it first before giving it to her. You know, just to make sure it’s appropriate. ;)

  5. Susan G says:

    This book sounds good – I too have been drawn to the dark side recently (at least for entertainment purposes!). I’m three seasons into Dexter and loving it. Thinking my 16yo might like this as well.

    Kudos to you for holding onto your principles!

  6. Alex says:

    This book sounds like a good one. If you are looking for good YA, adults have loved The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which is one of my favorites.

  7. Taylor says:

    Oo I haven’t read much of Libba Bray’s recent works but I loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy. I would love to read The Diviners from the sound of this. And I’m proud that you stood your ground with the sponsor; that’s a bit shady of them.

  8. BurbHappy says:

    I’m glad you put the trailer in there after you told us the book was good! Student (high school) recently recommended John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.

  9. Kate B says:

    Ooooh, I am actually partway through Going Bovine right now and I’m enjoying it (though not deep enough in to tell if I LOVE it yet). I actually don’t read a lot of teenage-male-voiced stories (at least not since, like, school books, where all protagonists are obvs male), so it feels fresh to me. I did, however, ADORE her Beauty Queens novel, which uses footnotes to great effect and delight. Recommended!

    (And based on my experiences with Libba thus far, I cannot pin down her style. I’m going to go with “sarcastic and wry” but I wonder how that jibes with this book.)

    Thanks for giving things away. This is obviously not why I’m here (also, soooo happy to see you posting a bit more in December, did Nanowrimo amount to a short story worth sharing?), but they’re always fun. I’ve admired a lot that you believe in your own content.

  10. Dee says:

    I’m always looking for a good book…and no worries, I’m definitely 14+ even though YA is my preferred genre!

  11. Rebe says:

    I loved this book – and had the same thoughts as you that I’m glad I read it before watching the trailer because the trailer had me checking for monsters under my bed (or at least feeling like I should). Great giveaway choice!

  12. Tina says:

    Interesting sounding book! (And the blog sponsoring thing sounds weird, glad you didn’t do it.)

  13. val says:

    As an audiobook The Diviners was so creepy at times!! The voice actress was very good. Over all I enjoyed it & look forward to reading about the characters again. At times the slang was a little heavy handed but maybe more noticable in audio then reading.

  14. Julie says:

    I could use something spooky…and free…about now. Thanks for all the book recommendations. I have enjoyed Rainbow Rowell and The One and Only Ivan and The Day the Crayons Quit the me to you. Sounds like this one will take me in a different direction.

  15. Question, can I use my mother for this since I’m only sixteen?
    Yes I’m very much in love with the author and hoping to win this for the sack of the second book which the first book is four years away from the Great depression. So I can already tell it will and has to go down hill but I’m not worry since Libba Bray has wrote my second favorite Going Bovine.
    P.S On what you said about not becoming a ” blogging sensation” I think your great with how much you have done in your life and no I’m not just saying that. I love the name Pancakes and French Fries and behind it which sound like me and my sister.

  16. Michelle says:

    I am entering for my 14-year-old son who loves dark. And is a new author for us so thank you for introducing.
    Completely agree with your blogging ethics btw.
    Michelle (@mamabook)

  17. Your words about selling out really resonated with me. I am a new blogger and was recently advised that I was doing it wrong. I know that I am writing and blogging about what I want to share, so I know I’m doing it right. The fact that this person had little respect for my passion and creativity was surprising.

    On another note, I am a huge YA fan! Will pick up the book per your recommendation regardless of whether or not I win the giveaway!


  18. Zakary says:

    This might be one Zoe actually hasn’t read!

    And Happy Blogiversary, how did six years go buy so quickly?

  19. chloe says:

    I think I’ve said this before, but dark YA seems to be one of those things I love more and more as I get older. True “adult” books that are dark seem to be so…unnecessarily graphic? Like the CSI-ification of fiction with close up descriptions of violence. It’s too much.

    Unrelated-ish, is it not against regulations to have a compensated post and free produce without specific disclosure? If it’s not then my blog reading self may have to reevaluate all the sites I love!

  20. Stef says:

    I’ve turned out some weird sponsorship offers on my little blog and always wondered who goes for them. EVERY time I see the same offer appear on other blogs. I suppose some will accept anything just because it’s free.
    I’m a knitting factory at the moment, trying to finish all my Christmas gifts, so I’m buried under unread books. When I catch up in the new year this will be on my list whether I win or not.

  21. Erin says:

    I can’t imagine many people value the opinion of a writer with so little integrity–even if that company finds a blog to take them up on their offer, they won’t be accomplishing what they hoped to.

    Personally, I love reading both your opinions and the occasional fluffy brain cleanser, so sign me up!

  22. Christina says:

    My friend Anna and I always share YA novels with each other. I discovered Libba Bray with the Gemma Doyle trilogy. She has a way of keeping you glued and it is nice to read something that is fluff. Beats the hell out of the Twilight books.

  23. frances says:

    I love all of Libba Bray, including Going Bovine. Have you read Beauty Queens? Delightful, and you can enjoy it as brain fluff (what I call bubble gum books) or a bit more deeply. Did you read her World AIDS Day post about her dad and her friend? Absolutely beautiful. She’s good friends with one of my other favorite YA authors, David Levithan (he’s a writer as well as being a VIP at Scholastic). If you haven’t read any of his stuff I’d recommend a couple as YA that’s very palateble by adults. Let me know if you’d like specific titles. These would likely be solely for your pleasure, and maybe for very kid-specific recommendations, not for your library.
    I also wanted to say – I’m no fan of censorship, but I completely agree with your decision to keep The Diviners out of your library. While you may have kids who would enjoy it (and if I win the giveaway the book and the tote will totally go to one of my 8th graders), it’s not approprate for your general population. I think that can be a tough line to walk sometimes, when you love something but can’t pass it on, but it’s an important one. You know your audience – the kids AND the adults involved in keeping your library running.

  24. What a fun giveaway!!! I’ve been dying to read this since last year ~ and I’ve read and re-read her Gemma Doyle trilogy countless times, those are super fun, you should totally read those!

  25. Samantha says:

    I love Libra Bray ever since her Gemma Doyle series. She’s a brilliant author and I’m looking forward to anything next that she is writing. You should try her other books! You might like them!

    I love that tote :P

  26. Cham C. says:

    Crossing fingers here! Actually looking for a “spooky” read these days… :)

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.