Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review: The Leaf Reader

The Leaf ReaderAuthor: Emily Arsenault
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Soho Teen

Maybe, occasionally, some of the pictures I saw in teacups were not for the tea drinkers. Maybe some of them were for me.

Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It’s not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who’s been their guardian since Mom took off is…eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old book about reading tea leaves and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows—and hopes everyone else does too—that none of it’s real.

Then basketball star Matt Cotrell asks for a reading. He’s been getting emails from someone claiming to be his best friend, Andrea Quinley, who disappeared and is presumed dead. And while they’d always denied they were romantically involved, a cloud of suspicion now hangs over Matt. But Marnie sees a kindred spirit: someone who, like her, is damaged by association.

Suddenly the readings seem real. And, despite the fact that they’re telling Marnie things about Matt that make him seem increasingly dangerous, she can’t shake her initial attraction to him. In fact, it’s getting stronger. And that could turn out to be deadly.

“The art of tea-leaf reading—or tasseomancy—is an ancient one. The practice spread from the Orient to Europe with the trade and consumption of tea. Of course, it borrows much from other ancient forms of divination.”

“The image was really fuzzy and could’ve been anything, but I was desperate to steer the reading away from anything that could be interpreted as relating to Andrea.”

“I remembered the wording of the tea-leaf guide on this symbol because it was so stark and offered only a single interpretation. Dragon: Self-delusion. A dragon appears powerful, but breathes smoke and fire into its path, clouding its own vision and judgment.”

I have been crazy twisty, mind boggling mystery/thrillers this summer and while this one was all that I hoped it would be, it still kept me intrigued and gave me a taste of suspense. Marnie, our main character, takes up a new hobby of reading tea leaves and soon everyone in town wants her to tell them what’s in their near future. Marnie thinks it’s all fun and games until one of the best friends to the girl who went missing not too many months prior. Marnie is freaked out when Matt’s tea leaves start to reveal suspicious things, and therefore agrees to accompany him in learning the truth about what really happened to Andrea Quinley. This book is super short at only 240 pages and kept me occupied on a four hour plane ride to California. Halfway through the book, I felt sure I was going to rate the book with 5 stars. However, once I got to the final parts where the mystery was actually solved, it all felt very anti-climactic. I hated how the mystery ended and what essentially turns out happening to the missing character, but that is solely my opinion.
With that being said, I absolutely loved the main character, Marnie. She was eccentric and not your typical teenage girl by any means, but I think this is what helped her shine as the lead of this novel. The book had a cozy feeling to it what with Marnie’s “gift” to read and interpret tea leaves. I love anything that gives me what I call the “Harry Potter” vibe. This book was whimsical and suspenseful and definitely a great way to spend an afternoon. As I mentioned before, I did not like the ending of the book, but I loved the ending of the book for Marnie and her family. Family is a strong theme in this book with a lot of emphasis placed on Marnie and her deranged brother, but I loved how their relationship dynamic changed and how he became a strong secondary character and help to Marnie.
***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Soho Teen in exchange for my honest review***

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