“In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes. There’s a party going on—the last of the summer. Out on the terrace overlooking Manhattan’s incandescent skyline, the orchestra takes a much-needed break. It’s ten thirty. The party has been on since eight o’clock, and already the guests are bored. Fashionable debutantes in pastel chiffon party dresses wilt into leather club chairs like frosted petit fours melting under the July sun. A cocky Princeton sophomore wants his friends to head down to Greenwich Village with him, to a speakeasy he heard about from a friend of a friend.
The hostess, a pretty and spoiled young thing, notes her guests’ restlessness with a sense of alarm. It is her eighteenth birthday, and if she doesn’t do something to raise this party from the dead, it will be the talk for days to come that her gathering was as dull as a church social.
Raising from the dead.
The weekend before, she’d been forced to go antiquing upstate with her mother—an absolutely hideous chore, until they came upon an old Ouija board. Ouija boards were all the rage; psychics claimed to receive messages and warnings from the other side using Mr. Fuld’s “Talking board.” The antiques dealer fed her a line about how it had come to him under mysterious circumstances.
‘They say it’s haunted by restless spirits. But perhaps you and your sister could tame it?’ he’d said with over-the-top flattery; naturally, her mother lapped it up, which resulted in her paying too much for the thing. Well, she’d make her mother’s mistake pay off for her now.
-The Diviners, Libba Bray
The scene is set, my dear friends! We have our context clues to tell us we’re in the roaring twenties and an opening in the style of a classic ghost story. We have foreshadowing! WE HAVE A OUIJA BOARD! Oh, do we ever. I actually had top stop myself from typing out the unfolding of the scene to come, but I promise you there is plenty of I-A-M-T-H-E-B-E-A-S-T and W-H-O-R-E-W-H-O-R-E-W-H-O-R-Eing on the following page.
In case you couldn’t tell, I love the hell out of this book. I push it on kids and adults pretty much constantly, and I vividly remember reading those first few pages on a plane to New York and getting sucked under almost instantly. Because really, who DOESN’T love a slut-shaming ghost demon thing and a Ouija board plot device? You can read my full review here and my review of the highly anticipated sequel, Lair of Dreams, will be published on Friday.
So, would you read The Diviners based on this beginning?