the diviners by libba bray



He comes! The King of Crows! A creature emerged from the woods, a sticklike man, with the air of a praying mantis, but the enormous blue-black feathered coat he wore gave him the bearing of a usurper king. On his head was a stovepipe hat that swirled with shadows. Lightning crackled all around him. A Gordian knot of black silk rested at the stiff, rounded collar of his shirt like an undertaker’s tie. The center was stuck through with a shining gold pin, a radiant all-seeing eye shedding a lone lightning bolt tear.

“We are a country built by immigrants, dreams, daring, and opportunity. We are a country built by the horrors of slavery and genocide, the injustice of racism and exclusion. These realities exist side by side. It is our past and our present. The future is unwritten. This is a book about ghosts. For we live in a haunted house.”

-Libba Bray, Before the Devil Breaks You


I’m not enough, she thought. That was the terrible echo shouting up at her: Fraud, fraud, fraud. She got drunk and talked too much and danced on tables. She had a temper and a sharp tongue, and she often blurted out things she instantly regretted. Worst of all, she suspected that was who she truly was—not so much a bright young thing as a messy young thing.

“You can’t blame a fella for kissing the prettiest girl in New York, can you, sister?” Sam’s grin was anything but apologetic.

Evie brought up her knee quickly and decisively, and he dropped to the floor like a grain sack. “You can’t blame a girl for her quick reflexes now, can you, pal?”

Libba Bray, The Diviners


“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…”

Uncle Will frowned. “Didn’t they teach you how to go about research in that school of yours?”

”No. But I can recite ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ while making martinis.”

”I weep for the future.”

”There’s where the martinis come in.”


“You’re the real McCoy, Sheba. You don’t need to fake it.”

Evie sat up, glaring. “I did not come to this party to hear a lecture from you, Sam Lloyd. You steal people’s wallets. Don’t act like you’re better than I am.

 “Me? Sure, I’m a thief and a con. But not you, kid. Unfortunately, you care. I know you.” 

“No you don’t,” Evie said, lying back again. “You just think you do because you’re my pretend fiancé. But nobody really knows anybody. We’re all just a bunch of Pears soap ads walking around clean and neat, ready to wash away to slivers.” 

“What’s real, then?”

“I dunno, anymore, Sam. I really don’t.”