Thursday, July 6

One Heck of a Mystery Awaits You in The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

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

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 tea-leaf-reading book 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. Rumor has it Matt and Andrea were romantically involved, though they'd always denied it. A faint cloud of suspicion still hangs over Matt. But Marnie sees a kindred spirit: someone who, like her, is damaged by association. 

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

WHAT A STORY, GUYS, WHAT A STORY. I finished The Leaf Reader last night - in one seat, because, like I said, WHAT A STORY - and I still can't get over the big reveal at the end. It's like, I had many theories whilst reading, but neither even came close to actually what happened. Now let's get onto my review that'll lead you through this lovely book one step thought at a time. 

I absolutely loved the leaf reading part, even though it was somewhat less significant than I had expected. I feel like leaf reading is something we all have heard about before - courtesy of Professor Trelawney, for one - but I was quite clueless about many details. Well, luckily, the author thought of us lost souls and there was a ton of information included like, what the different images can symbolize. 

What I loved about leaf reading being added to the story was that this way it made sense that the heroine - a girl who ultimately had no real connection to the missing girl - was the one to solved the mystery. I find it annoying in some books when teens who barely knew the victim go on an adventure and with a little luck and zero skill solve the mystery that the police have been unable to for ages. IT MAKES NO SENSE. 

However, in The Leaf Reader, Marnie was fantastic. To solve the mystery, she partly used logic and her wits, partly tea leaf reading, and partly her own instincts after they proved to be right. Now, that is what I call a smart heroine. Moreover, I loved how she was ready to be open to make new friends (lol, sort of, you'll see) and to take part in different situations, but she was always very cautious. I CAN RELATE. 

Okay, okay, so I'll admit - The Leaf Reader isn't ALL perfection. To tell you the truth, I was fairly bored at first... I felt like the story wasn't anything new or outstanding, it had nothing unique to offer. HOWEVER, I found myself sucked into the intriguing plot soon enough, until the point where time just stopped to matter, because WHO CARES about sleep when you have such a marvelous book to read!? 

Also - I feel like the ending could have been written in a better way. The big reveal was wrapped up pretty fast, and we didn't exactly learn tons about how the characters felt and coped with everything.

On that note - the characters weren't as fleshed out as they should have been, in my opinion. Marnie was great, but the rest of them were just packs of great potential left unopened. *sad face* Marnie's brother in particular was a very interesting character I'd have loved to see more of, but alas, that didn't happen. 

All in all, The Leaf Reader was one hell of a ride, with many shocking revelations along the way. Sure, it wasn't perfect - I think Arsenault has a lot to improve, on the character-front especially - but it was highly enjoyable and unputdownable. Recommended! 

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 4/5
The characters: 3/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5


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