Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little corner of the internet. Today I’m bringing you my review of All Our Hidden Gifts, which was my first completed read of June, and ticked off a couple of boxes for points on my Whatever-A-Thon challenge too. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, just click that link, and all will be explained!
As I said, this was my first finished book of June this year. I actually picked it up to pass the time while my Kindle was charging with an ARC I needed to read on it, and got so absorbed in the world that unfolded in the pages that I kept going. Here’s the synopsis.
A dark and supernatural contemporary teen debut by multi-talented author and journalist Caroline O’Donoghue.
Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last. Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there. And two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears.
Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily’s brother Roe find her? And will Maeve’s new gift be enough to bring Lily back, before she’s gone for good?
One of the reasons I decided to pick this book up when I did was because of the Whatever-A-Thon prompt to find a book that looked like a Pride flag – with June being Pride month – and this cover reminded me very strongly of the bisexual Pride colours. This ends up being very relevant, as we have a strong storyline surrounding gender idenity, sexual orientation, and hate crime directed at LGBT persons within the pages.
What I thought was particularly clever about the way this book was written was the way the magical side of things gradually increased. It went from being a pack of tarot cards, to being able to read them, to something much, much darker by the end of the book. This constant build up of both suspense and power really kept my attention from wandering as I needed to know just what was going to happen next.
I also thought this book managed to send out some really powerful, important messages from within its pages. Obviously – don’t do hate crime. It makes you an arsehole. Big message there. But there were also other messages, those about struggling to fit in as a teenager, trying to find our place in the world and not always handling it well, and more positive messages, about learning how to set healthy boundaries for ourselves and others around us.
I ended up rating this book four stars on Good Reads; it’s a book I would happily recommend to friends who are both / either LGBT and / or interested in the occult, but also those who enjoy young adult fiction and want examples of why I read it now. This book was such a positive example of modern young adult fiction in many ways that it’s a great demonstration of why the genre is so popular, with young adults, and with adults too.