Monday 7 March 2022

Book Review | The Revelry by Katherine Webber

Publication Date: 6th January 2022
 by Walker Books
Format: Library eBook
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genre: FantasyMystery 


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Growing up in Ember Grove, Bitsy Clark knows better than to mess with the long-held traditions of her hometown. Until her best friend, Amy, persuades her to sneak into the Revelry - the end of school party in the woods, to which only those leaving are invited.

When she wakes the next day, Bitsy can't remember anything from the night before. Weirder still, whenever she tries to speak about the Revelry, Bitsy chokes on the words. But this is just the beginning, and what starts out as a run of bad luck starts to feel like a curse. As Bitsy's life goes from bad to worse, things only get better and better for her best friend. It's as if there's only so much luck to go round and Amy's getting all of it...



My Thoughts

"But stranger things have happened in Ember Grove." 

The Revelry is a YA mystery with a fantasy undertone that revolves around two best friends living in the peculiar town of Ember Grove where unusual events are the order of the day except no one in town speaks about any of it. In particular is the end of summer party in the woods for graduating students, the titular revelry, Bitsy and Amy are determined to attend it even though it's not their time. They go, obviously, but their attendance has bizarre consequences.     

I think this book had a good base for a slightly darker YA mystery. I love a town with secrets and the fact that no one in the community will talk about past events had me intrigued. Unfortunately, so many elements fell flat for me and instead of a fun delve into this town and it's years of disappearances and deaths we get a boring look into a toxic female friendship. 

I really didn't like Bitsy or Amy - like at all! They are both so self-centred and blind to each other's feelings that I honestly couldn't understand how the two of them were friends in the first place. I get that this behaviour stems from 'the curse' but c'mon, there was only so much arguing I could take after a while. I think that might be where my problems lie. The entire book is just these two fighting about something (often times something incredibly petty) then one of them will apologise but a few pages later we're back to them having a quarrel. It went round and round in circles and although it's meant to highlight how the curse is driving them apart, it was purely infuriating to read.  

I don't feel like the fantasy side of it was developed enough or the mystery come to think of it. It is all explained towards the end but with too much time spent on the girls picking at each other, I don't think we really get much out of it as readers. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the writing, I found it very simplistic at times and lacking in depth. I'd compare it to bubblegum pop in that it's catchy and repetitive and designed to appeal especially to teenagers which is no bad thing as teenagers are the target audience here but for me it was too idle and half-hearted for a mystery to appeal to an older audience as well.     

A few other things I had problems with; 
• That phrase "stranger things have happened in Ember Grove" is mentioned about fifty times and I was on the verge of giving up every. time
• Bitsy saying something bitchy to Amy, regretting it and then continuing to destroy their friendship further.  
• Amy not giving a crap about anyone but herself until she begins to experience the bad luck.   
• Bitsy being a casual thief. 

Ok, so not a book for me but I do seem to be in the minority here. I can definitely see others enjoying this as it's a quick read, has a fun premise and I'm sure a lot of teenagers will be able to relate to the friendship and feeling unappreciated and alone as friends drift apart. I'm not giving up on this author yet though as Wing Jones is described as Jandy Nelson (aka one of my favourite authors) meets Friday Night Lights (aka one of my favourite tv shows) so there's potential there. 

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