Review #30: To Best the Boys


Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

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I know I’ve mentioned before that Mary Weber is one of my top ten, favorite authors, but man is she pushing herself up on that list. I rarely ever reach out to people while reading or after I’ve finished a book, but I ended up ranting with my friend Mary Beth (@liz.lovez.bookz) about how much we both loved this book.

To Best the Boys is a book I didn’t realize I needed, and I am so grateful to BookLook Bloggers at Harper Collins for sending me a copy to review. This book was energetic, fiesty, fierce, and powerful. The MC Rhen is someone I’d want as a friend in real life, as she is determined to not conform to society’s beliefs of what a woman should be.

While I was a little surprised by the long intro into the story, it was quickly made up for by the realization of how important the information in the intro was to the rest of the novel.

One of my favorite quotes from this book was one made by Rhen’s mom toward the middle of the novel.

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This one really stuck with me, as Rhen’s mom was a huge influence on her character and choices. I found that to be the perfect addition to the story, and looked forward to every word she said.

All in all, I did really love this book. The characters (while I wanted to strangle some of them) were great, and the story was addicting. For that, I rate it 4.75 stars. I HIGHLY suggest you check out this book if you haven’t already.

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7391763.jpgHi. I write books. I eat things. I kiss things. I believe in mermaids.

I’m also the author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series, and the March 2019 release, To Best the Boys. When not working, I sing 80’s hairband songs to my three muggle children and ogle my husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. We live in California, which is perfect for stalking aging movie stars while wearing fanny packs and sweatpants.

For those who like to know such things (mainly my mom), Storm Siren was featured in the Scholastic Book Fair and my novels have been endorsed by such nice humans as Marissa Meyer, CJ Redwine, Shannon Messenger, and Jonathan Maberry (in fact, Marissa Meyer and I have a fun interview in the paperback of her book, CRESS). Also, Boba tea & sweatpants are life. {We can chat about life (in sweatpants over tea, obviously) in my Newsletter.

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