Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Mayhem by Estelle Laure
Release Date - July 14, 2020
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

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.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
Mayhem was basically written as a love letter to the 80s, The Lost Boys, and The Craft. If you love any of those things I expect that you will also love Mayhem. It is a surprise filled read that combined so many of the things I love into something entirely unique and yet deeply familiar.

The world being built and the magic like elements surrounding it were very intriguing. I wish that this had actually been a series because I would have loved more time to deepen that element of the story and expand upon it. It feels like we just scratched the surface while still offering enough details for this story. It made the story feel quick and contained but I would have liked it to have more room to breathe.

This book, while mainly plot driven and focused, does allow for some great character moments. The character growth and exposition are mainly done via the relationship we get to experience. Familial bonds and secrets run like swift currents through this story and those connections are where all of the good character moments reside. Mayhem and her mother, in particular, stood out as an example of this. 

The Lost Boys inspiration is undeniable. Fans of the classic 80s movie are in for a treat due to the sheer number of incredible nods included in the story. The author captures the tone perfectly whole ensuring that those unfamiliar with the movie will still be able to follow the story. Readers are just in for a richer experience if they are familiar with it. I cackled with glee numerous times and had to instantly message my Lost Boys loving friend reactions. It will not disappoint.
The Edgar and Alan Frog cameos are worth the read all on their own. Estelle Laure captures their voices so perfectly that I could easily hear their words in Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander's voices.

The love story worked for me in this largely due to the more mystical/paranormal elements. It just made the accelerated timeline feel a little more plausible. The family lore and history explored with these pages also added to that feeling. 

I found myself easily getting lost in the pages of this one. It blended together so many things that I love in way that was both comforting and exciting. It reminded me of  hot, restless summer days mixed with danger and unlimited possibilities. 

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