Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1036
riveting YA fantasy/horror/thriller
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS was a riveting and darkly captivating YA fantasy/thriller/horror read. Maeve is a teen girl and not particularly intelligent. She has a really difficult time in school, and she really wants to fit in and do alright academically to better fit in with the rest of her intelligent family. After she throws a shoe at her Italian teacher in an effort to be funny and express her frustration, she is assigned in-school suspension with a task of cleaning out a huge closet.

As she spends time in there cleaning, she finds some treasures - a 1990s mix tape, a cassette player, and a deck of tarot cards. Maeve decides to learn to read them, and she finds that, unlike Italian, she has a knack for understanding them. At school, she begins to give tarot readings, until one day, she gives a reading to her former best friend, Lily, that ends in a fight and a terrible wish.

When Lily disappears, Maeve worries that she was somehow involved, and her search for answers will lead her down a frightening rabbit hole, where history is destined to repeat itself in terrible ways.

What I loved: This was darkly captivating, and I found it impossible to put down. The writing flows so smoothly and with such a great pace that it keeps the pages turning quickly. This was a mystery that needed to be solved, and the book keeps the reader hooked on each small piece of information revealed, all the way to the explosive ending. Unpredictable, the story took twists and turns I didn't expect, but which came together to make sense in retrospect - a very well plotted book.

There were some themes that I found particularly intriguing and thought-provoking around bullying, friendship, hate and prejudice around race and sexual orientation both clearly expressed and microaggressions, balance in the world, the self-confidence of youth to ignore those that are helping, religious fanaticism, and the meaning of sacrifice. This was more than just a campy supernatural thriller/horror read, and the infusion of humor and deeper themes really pushed this read into a more powerful one.

The characters were also compelling. Beyond Maeve, she begins spending a lot of time with Fiona and Roe. I appreciated the romance with Roe, although slow-building, because it really adds depth and understanding for those who are the target of hate. As a character, he was particularly well-constructed, and I would love to read both his and Fiona's stories as well. They were people I felt I got to know in the best way. Other characters, such a the shopkeeper at Divination, were also well-constructed, adding to the complexity of the story.

I would add warnings to the book for domestic violence, suicide and suicidal ideation, hate crimes and violence, cult-like organizations, and cutting.

Final verdict: ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS is a captivating and thought-provoking YA fantasy/horror/thriller with compelling characters and a unique plot. Highly recommend for fans of THE DEVOURING GRAY, MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM, and HORRID.
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