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3 stars

This is a fun YA fantasy book that is marketed as being “inspired” by the movie The Lost Boys. It’s a quick and easy read, however the book follows much too closely the the movie and doesn’t contain many original concepts. (It is also mentioned that the book is inspired by the movie The Craft, but I don’t really see it).

The story is set in 1987 and revolves around sixteen-year-old Mayhem Brayburn. Her mother Roxy is addicted to drugs and alcohol. Mayhem lives with Roxy in a small town in Texas with her abusive step-dad. Mayhem and Roxy eventually flee Texas and return to Roxy’s hometown in California. They move in with Roxy’s twin sister Elle, and three kids that Elle is fostering. Right away, Mayhem notices that something is “off” about Elle and the children.

Santa Maria is a small coastal town that has an unexpectedly high crime rate and is currently being stalked by a serial kidnapper that is taking young teenage girls from the beach at night. So far, none of the girls have been found and no one knows if they are alive or dead.

It turns out that Roxy fled Santa Maria to escape the magic that runs through the female lineage of her family and to save Mayhem from it, however Mayhem discovers it anyway and embraces the power. Her family is considered the caretakers of Santa Maria and exact a form of vigilante justice when someone from the town has been harmed. With this new power, Mayhem starts to look for the serial kidnapper to bring him to justice.

As I said before, the book is a fun, easy read and if it didn’t copy the movie quite so much, I would have enjoyed it more. That said, if you don’t know the plot of The Lost Boys movie, you will enjoy the book and it probably won’t bug you. There was only one aspect that I thought was similar to the movie The Craft, so that isn’t a problem.

Other than Mayhem, there is very little character development. A couple character’s story lines are begun, but are just left hanging and never developed or resolved. This is annoying. The book is unevenly paced and dragged until roughly the middle. It improved after that and the story moved along nicely. The book is pretty grim, but there are moments of humor here and there.

Overall, the book is a fun, enjoyable read.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

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AP Estelle Laure_Credit Zoe Zimmerman A Letter from the Author:

Dear Reader,

 Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and

I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure

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Buy it:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Mysterious Galaxy (Independent Book Store)