Hmmm. It’s hard to know where, to begin with, this book. It’s marked MG, but many, many parts seemed more YA to me. I wouldn’t hand it to a kid under the age of 12. If it were a movie it would be PG13 if that gives you any context. It depends on your kid, I felt a little uncomfortable and edited a scene at the beginning while I read it aloud (a mean girl bra snapping incident) but the rest was fine for my 12yo.
Gwendolyn lives in a gray city (world really) where the buildings are the same and the people are the same. Gwendolyn with her red hair and nonconformist attitude has a difficult time. She rebels but not in an angsty way more in line with Princess Leia.
I think it was a great twist on fantasy and dystopian.
Fun fact: I knew maybe 22 pages in that I’d give this four stars. I wasn’t wrong.
Evangeline and the world of the Bayou are enchanting. I hesitate to compare it to a Riordan story, but in a way, its a story like that. Evangeline is waiting on her haunt huntress powers to show up. Her Gran has assured her it will happen soon and has been training Evangeline her whole life.
The story begins when Gran is assigned a task in New Orleans and then gets injured Evangeline steps in, fights a Grim and a pack of Rougarou (wolfmen). We also learn about all the other mythical creatures of the bayou as Evangeline tries to explain what she and Gran do as Haunt Huntresses to Julian (the son of the tormented victim) In fact, there is an entire glossary in the back with names and definitions. Some I had heard of like Johnny revenant (a reanimated civil war corpse) and some I hadn’t. The greedy grass is a patch of cursed grass that if stepped upon will render its victim suddenly and insatiably hungry sometimes causing them to gnaw their fingers because it smells like their favorite food.
I also enjoyed the unexpected friendship that develops between Evangeline and Julian. Julian is a “just the facts” type of kid when we meet him, and by the end, he is wearing Rosemary because the scent brings the wearer good luck.
All in all, it was such a fun romp through the bayou and all of its monsters, ghosts, and various supernatural entities. I’m wishing for a sequel.