Pitched as We Were Liars meets 1996’s The Craft, The Graces is the story of a trio of witches, told through the viewpoint of an outsider who wants to be like them. After 15-year-old River’s father disappears, she and her mother move to a small, coastal town. River quickly becomes obsessed with siblings Thalia, Fenrin and Summer Grace, who rule their high school with an unspoken power. Although the Graces don’t often get close to their classmates, they inexplicably welcome River into their inner circle. Soon, she’s being included in spells and invited to parties at the Grace’s exclusive home. River eventually discovers why the family has embraced her so willingly—they understand River in a way no one else does.
While author Laure Eve does a fair job of creating a mysterious air in River’s first-person narration, The Graces is a story that relies heavily on ambiguity and a major plot twist. The surfing town setting isn’t well drawn, and it isn’t until the teens use British slang (“take the piss”) that readers get a sense of place. The characters, as seen through River’s viewpoint, are enigmatic beings that River idolizes—but are they to be feared or worshipped? Readers will sense that River isn’t who she claims to be (River isn’t even her real name), and for that reason, they’ll anxiously flip through pages, trying to pinpoint her angle and motives. The payoff of the twist ending will be determined by the reader.
Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.