I was pleased to be invited to participate in the blog tour for this book. Please see banner at the bottom of the post for release date. I thank Netgalley, St. Martin's, and Wednesday Books for the invite and the ARC.
It's 1987, and Mayhem Brayburn and her mother Roxy are returning to their ancestral home in Santa Maria, California--after 13 years in Taylor, Texas and finally escaping Lyle, Roxy's abusive second husband. Mayburn was only three when Roxy took her away from their hometown after the death of her first husband/Roxy's father.
Waiting for them in Santa Maria is Roxy's twin sister Elle, who introduces them to the three foster children she has taken in: Neve, Jason, and Kidd. Santa Maria is a beach community, but all is not lazy days on the beach and boardwalk. Young women have been disappearing, and there might be a serial killer behind their disappearances.
Also, Brayburns are kind of a big deal in that town. People leave gift baskets as offerings. The family has apparently performed a service to the community for generations. But what exactly does that mean?
It is not long before Mayhem learns that being in the town awakes abilities in her, and that it's no coincidence that she has always been drawn to water. Her aunt's wards are tapped into the Brayburn lore and serve as guides for Mayhem.
The author, Estelle Laure, has written that she drew inspiration from sources like The Lost Boys and The Craft, which is part of why I was ready to "Yes, please" the invite. But I would say there is also a touch of the girl finding out she is "the chosen one," a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I anticipate that some readers might feel they want "more conflict" in the book, but I would counter that much of the conflict is inner (though characters also confront outside forces). There are some interesting struggles around "destiny" and what a parent can (and should) attempt to protect a child from.
Having the book set in 1987 was also fun for me. I was 20 in 1987, so four years older than Mayhem.