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 family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
“Set in 1987, MAYHEM is a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure. Its original, compelling, and a little bit rock-n-roll, and reading it will leave you feeling deliciously wicked.”
I have no idea what The Lost Boys is all about and I vaguely remember The Craft, and Wilder Girls is on my TBR, this means reading this book was meant to be entirely new for me, but it wasn’t so because it kept giving me Doctor Sleep, the 2019 movie vibes. I didn’t completely read the blurb but I was sold because I knew magic was involved: The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.
The story is told in a style that is letter-like, which gave it a more personal and endearing touch. And as I have come to expect from books published by Wednesday Books, Mayhem comes with a storyline that is heavy…serial killer, suicide, murder, mental and physical abuse.
When Mayhem was a just kid, her mother fleed their home in Santa Maria to escape from all that was haunting her and thirteen years later, they’re ready to go back home and attempt to mend all that has been broken and taken from them.
Bring in her aunt Elle and her three foster kids, Jason, Kidd and Neve who she legally wants to adopt, right on Mayhem can tell there’s something not right about them as they’re cloaked in mystery, but as time passes it starts unravelling until she’s clued into her family history.
Mix in the serial killer in the background, the family drama between Mayhem and her mother Roxy, the drama between her and the foster kids and the terrible things seemingly normal men do to ladies behind closed doors this book was quite lax in the pacing which left me feeling disconnected after a while, which just made me want to finish the book only to see how the story was going to end.
Despite all these and the heavy subjects being highlighted in the book, it’s quite an easy read and a good way to pass through time with beautiful writing.