A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.
S Y N O P S I S :
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
Thank you to Wednesday Books, who sent me a copy of ‘Mayhem’ for this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
I received no compensation for this review.
Hiya bookish people!
I’m sorry I haven’t been around a lot. I know I said I was back to normal, but I wasn’t. However, I have a scheduled post for all of next week so I will definitely be back! Now, for the review.
I know that this novel is heavily taken from The Lost Boys ( 1987 ) movie, but how far can inspiration be taken before it is turned into plagiarism? Mayhem worried me a lot since I felt that there were so many parts of the book where direct quotes, mannerisms, and even character ideas were taken straight out of the movie and put into this book. I was tempted to call it fanfiction at the beginning ( and what’s wrong with a little fanfic? Nothing! ) but I can’t say that this aspect completely thrilled me. Estelle Laure probably could’ve been a little bit more freer with some of her characters and their storylines to really make this book her own. Then again, someone who has not seen The Lost Boys ( 1987 ) may be completely fine with these things since they won’t be affected by the prior knowledge.
There were many many dark parts of this book. And I mean many. There were references to drugs and depression and angst and it was honestly quite gloomy. I loved how well this came across, but I definitely needed to stop myself and walk away a few times since I know that if you are not in a good head space originally, letting yourself fall into one of these types of books can be detrimental. Luckily, everytime I put it down, I found it easy to pick up again!
The first half of the book and the second didn’t really seem to match up. Let me explain. Half one : slow, introducing characters, learning about a new town and establishing our plot. After the first third or so, the readers start to get a bit antsy. When are we going to get the action?!
Second half : It’s all a-go. Characters are different ( the same characters but acting different ), all major plots are moving forward at 2.5 x speed, and the readers are rushing to keep up with the plot this book sets. It was a little confusing, if I’m honest.
However. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this book, because I really did. My favourite part you ask? The idealised teenagerism. Mayhem and the other characters bike nearly everywhere in the heat, they go to the beach in the heat and they have parties. There is adventure and angst and romance. Drugs are suddenly there, a part of your life even if you don’t use them. Experimentation. It was written so well and made me realise that being a teenager, however much it can suck, can also be kinda cool. Not the drugs though.
An Interview with Estelle Laure
What made you want to write a YA horror story?
I love horror and find it totally cathartic. While I think this has feet in several different genres, I was attracted to the horror piece of it because as a teen reader that was my favorite thing to read. There seemed to be less rules and restrictions and more room for dark humor and facing the world head on. I also think it’s important to take down monsters whenever possible.
– Estelle Laure
Do you have any great motivations for writing other than a love for it?
I suppose I do, because I have days I’d like to stare at a wall instead of writing or the words won’t come and it’s not a total love fest. Writing is how I function in the world at this point. I filter my experiences and questions and hopes and fears through story. I also do it because without it I’m an extremely confused and rudderless human being.
– Estelle Laure
Do you have a favourite Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tale?
When I was little I was absolutely obsessed with Little Red Riding Hood. The idea of the wolf stalking the girl in the forest when I was the kind of little girl who liked to wander in nature was terrifying and fascinating, especially at a time when I lived with my grandmother. I still love every version of that one.
– Estelle Laure
Favourite piece of advice when it comes to life, writing, relationships, or anything?
My best advice is to realize that life is a series of obstacles to overcome and knowing that makes it less of a struggle. If you wake up every morning and say, “Okay, today the perfect obstacles are going to come into my life to teach me the perfect lesson, in order to get me where I want to go and help me grow as a person,” life is much much easier to deal with and that applies to writing, relationships, and everything else.
– Estelle Laure
How do you best like to interact with your readers?
Pretty much any way. I love to see them and speak with them in person when I can, but I also like Instagram or emails. I so appreciate my readers and know without them I wouldn’t get to do what I do, so it’s one of the great pleasures of the job to interact.
– Estelle Laure
Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world.