Mayhem
A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.It's 1987 and unfortunately it's not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy's constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem's own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren't like everyone else. But when May's stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem's questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost. From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

Mayhem Details

TitleMayhem
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 14th, 2020
PublisherWednesday Books
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary

Mayhem Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    "Set in 1987, MAYHEM is a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure. It’s original, compelling, and a little bit rock-’n’-roll, and reading it will leave you feeling deliciously wicked."My TBR feels personally attacked by all these hype books being published in 2020.
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  • Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book from NetGalley because it was called "a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft." (With a dash of the Manson family, apparently.) As the world's leading expert on those two movies, I decided I would be the judge of that.Well, I didn't quite see the resemblance to The Craft. It was more like if the witches from Practical Magic did more murder. However, it was more than clear the author borrowed from The Lost Boys—almost too much actually, and it began to hamper my enjoyment.1. I requested this book from NetGalley because it was called "a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft." (With a dash of the Manson family, apparently.) As the world's leading expert on those two movies, I decided I would be the judge of that.Well, I didn't quite see the resemblance to The Craft. It was more like if the witches from Practical Magic did more murder. However, it was more than clear the author borrowed from The Lost Boys—almost too much actually, and it began to hamper my enjoyment.1. The book is set in 1987, in a fictional beach side town with a thriving boardwalk culture and a little too much murder and missing people. There is also a secret hideout, much like the sunken hotel in the movie.2. The literal Frog brothers from the movie are in this book. Edgar and Alan, dressing in military-type clothes, working a comic book shop, speaking in faux-action hero parlance, and totally obsessed with vampires. How is this possible? How can the author take characters directly from a movie and put them in her book without making any changes to them?3. The sax player from the movie also makes an appearance. Shirtless, oiled, curly-haired, totally outrageous. It was a bit on the nose.4. The book even borrows a quote from the grandpa in the movie, where he says the one thing he could never stomach about Santa Carla was all the goddamn vampires. The book gives the quote to one of the Frog brothers, changing "Santa Carla" to "Santa Maria."While I really love The Lost Boys—or maybe because I do—I started not to like these references so much as they became more and more obvious in the text. You can't just straight up lift things from other creative works and lay them directly down in your own.I loved the beginning of this book a lot. It was so good. My enjoyment plateaued after a while, when things actually started to happen. It was such a great setup, and the characters were varied and interesting (with pretty great wardrobes). I don't know exactly what I expected, but this book just didn't have the punch I was looking for.2.5 stars.I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    I received a complimentary copy of this e-book ARC from the author, publisher, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Mayhem and Roxy move to Santa Maria to escape an abusive environment. When Mayhem discovers that her family are witches, will she accept her powers and give in to her namesake to kill anyone who harms her family and others? Read on and find out for yourself.This was a pretty good YA horror fantasy. If you like stories like this, be sure to check this book out when it I received a complimentary copy of this e-book ARC from the author, publisher, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Mayhem and Roxy move to Santa Maria to escape an abusive environment. When Mayhem discovers that her family are witches, will she accept her powers and give in to her namesake to kill anyone who harms her family and others? Read on and find out for yourself.This was a pretty good YA horror fantasy. If you like stories like this, be sure to check this book out when it officially hits bookstores and wherever books are sold online on July 14,2020.
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  • Taylor Knight
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the idea of this book more than the actual book. It sounded amazing but the execution could have been better. The writing style was beautiful, I loved it. The descriptions were so wonderfully written and creates such a lush visualization of the characters and settings. I've never seen The Craft or The Lost Boys but I've seen multiple reviews saying it borderline copies The Lost Boys at various points, which if that’s the case, I'm not a fan of direct copying someone else’s work. The I loved the idea of this book more than the actual book. It sounded amazing but the execution could have been better. The writing style was beautiful, I loved it. The descriptions were so wonderfully written and creates such a lush visualization of the characters and settings. I've never seen The Craft or The Lost Boys but I've seen multiple reviews saying it borderline copies The Lost Boys at various points, which if that’s the case, I'm not a fan of direct copying someone else’s work. The biggest downfall I found was how slow this book is. If the pace was quicker, I'm sure I would have loved it but I just didn't have the patience for the dragging pace of the plot. I also thought the last half of the book changed it tone rather quickly and felt like a different person was writing the story. The characters started acting completely differently and it felt so disjointed from the first half of the book. I wish there was a better build up to the action, that it wasn't forced into the last half of the book. And even though there was an attempt at speeding up the pace, it still felt slow to me.
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  • Joanna Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 2.5Too much was borrowed from The Lost Boys and the book was pretty slow, not a lot of action.Full Review to Come.
  • Kristi
    January 1, 1970
    The biggest reason I requested Mayhem by Estelle Laure is this: “Set in 1987, MAYHEM is a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure.” Whaaat! They had me at The Lost Boys. Literally. At. The. Lost. Boys.! There are a lot of TLB references right down to the Edgar and Alan Frog, the vampire fighting comic book store owning brothers who played a prominent role in TLB movie. Instead of Santa Carla, it’s Santa Maria, there’s a nod to the sax The biggest reason I requested Mayhem by Estelle Laure is this: “Set in 1987, MAYHEM is a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure.” Whaaat! They had me at The Lost Boys. Literally. At. The. Lost. Boys.! There are a lot of TLB references right down to the Edgar and Alan Frog, the vampire fighting comic book store owning brothers who played a prominent role in TLB movie. Instead of Santa Carla, it’s Santa Maria, there’s a nod to the sax player and there’s a secret hideaway. These are great tributes to the cult classic and I found it to be quite similar to the actual movie itself. The main character, 16-year-old Mayhem Brayburn, has arrived in Santa Maria with her mother, Roxy. Roxy is fleeing her abusive husband, Lyle, and has her own issues with drugs and alcohol. As a result, Mayhem has her own form of PTSD from Lyle’s abuse. The secondary characters are well-developed if not a bit predictable. Elle, Roxy’s twin sister is a bit hippie-ish but I couldn’t help but compare her – just a bit – to Lucy in TLB. The story-line is a bit slow in the beginning but it picks up pace about half-way in, this is where TLB/The Craft aspect kicks in and the YA horror I was expecting, shines brightly. There is an interesting take on elemental magic but it was deployed suddenly and without much introduction. I would’ve liked to see a bit more back history into this. This is a solid YA horror with enough suspense, mystery, and action to keep me entertained. I feel like there will be a sequel and if so, I’ll definitely read it.A big thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and Estelle Laure for providing me with a copy of Mayhem in exchange for my honest review
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  • Tonya
    January 1, 1970
    Magic and the ability to find the bad guys and put an end to them is an irresistible pull for Mayhem Brayburn. Her mom, Roxy moves them back to their home town and life changes. Her mom's relationship with her step-dad has soured and they cling to the safety that Santa Maria, California represents. The three kids that her aunt Elle has adopted open their arms to show Mayhem how to have fun and let loose in Santa Maria. The kid are the ones that introduce Mayhem to the mystical and powerful Magic and the ability to find the bad guys and put an end to them is an irresistible pull for Mayhem Brayburn. Her mom, Roxy moves them back to their home town and life changes. Her mom's relationship with her step-dad has soured and they cling to the safety that Santa Maria, California represents. The three kids that her aunt Elle has adopted open their arms to show Mayhem how to have fun and let loose in Santa Maria. The kid are the ones that introduce Mayhem to the mystical and powerful magic. This story is definitely an enjoyable mash-up of The Lost Boys and The Craft... and a clever one at that! I like the changes in the characters and the plot. Very fun! Good to know information is that the target audience is teenagers and young adults.Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press / Wednesday Books, and author Estelle Laure for a digital advance reader copy for me to read and enjoy. As always, my opinions are my own.
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of Mayhem. I was hooked with the description of this teen novel- set in the 80s and a mashup of Lost Boys and The Craft. I’ve only seen Lost Boys once (I live with an 80s boy who insisted) but The Craft is a fav of mine and I love anything with witches or supernatural entities so I was in! (for the record, I think it was more like Practical Magic- I didn’t get Craft vibes at all.) It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. This book Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of Mayhem. I was hooked with the description of this teen novel- set in the 80s and a mashup of Lost Boys and The Craft. I’ve only seen Lost Boys once (I live with an 80s boy who insisted) but The Craft is a fav of mine and I love anything with witches or supernatural entities so I was in! (for the record, I think it was more like Practical Magic- I didn’t get Craft vibes at all.) It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. This book is centered on Mayhem (we never get the history of why that’s her name unfortunately) and her mother Roxy, fleeing an abusive husband, and coming home to Santa Maria. We know from the beginning that there’s something different about the town and the family, but not what exactly. I really enjoyed Mayhem’s perspective, as she learns her families secrets, but the small flashbacks from her female ancestors didn’t work as much for me. I understand what the author was trying to do, but they pulled me out of the story. This book was fun, made me wish I was the beach (but not this beach, bc murders are happening) and full of magic.
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  • Lucy Goodfellow
    January 1, 1970
    4 StarsA riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny Structurally, this is a novel is in two parts. Therefore, this review will be in two parts - Before the Cave and After the Cave.Before the Cave This could have been a 5-star book if it wasn’t for the beginning. Estelle Laure struggles to find a balance between clunky dialogue and bland flat character descriptions. The story seemed predictable, juvenile and ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 StarsA riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny Structurally, this is a novel is in two parts. Therefore, this review will be in two parts - Before the Cave and After the Cave.Before the Cave This could have been a 5-star book if it wasn’t for the beginning. Estelle Laure struggles to find a balance between clunky dialogue and bland flat character descriptions. The story seemed predictable, juvenile and painfully cliché from the first page, so much so that I really considered DNFing this book at around chapter five. But I decided to keep reading to give the book a chance to redeem itself as I felt it the concept warranted me giving it a chance. I was relieved when Chapter Sixteen:Hideout delivered on my expectations with the Cave Scene. After the Cave The cave scene itself was the best scene in the book, it was not only the turning point for Mayhems character but also a change in the writer's style. The intimacy and chemistry between Mayhem and Neve was palpable and the mysticism from this scene onwards shifted the narrative from a dull YA book to a nuanced exploration of addiction and abuse.The development every character undergoes is very enjoyable to read. Mayhems shift from the carer of her mother to her embracing her adolescence was realistic and heartbreaking. She experiences true freedom at the cost of her original self. All the other characters were well developed and acted as either interesting foils to Mayhems character or complex characters in their own right that effectively explored the larger themes of the book.Mayhems actions made sense. She wanted power after being denied it for most of her life due to the abuse she and her mother suffered at the hands of her stepfather. The use of water as a coping mechanism for her PTSD was such an interesting motif- especially when compared to her mothers' drugs and alcohol addiction. The water offering her clarity and strength was powerful yet terrifying. This book shows how unhealthy some coping mechanisms can be to young people and the effect it can have on their later lives.Overall Mayhem is a telling refrain on addiction in all its forms.Trigger Warning ⚠: Domestic Abuse, Drug Addiction, Drug Addiction/Dependence, Child Abuse, Codependent Relationships, Mentions of Gun Violence.PRE-ORDER this book now for only £9.99 to get your copy when it is released on the 14th of July 2020I received an advance review copy for free via NetGalley in alliance with St Martins Press. I am leaving this review voluntarily 📚.
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  • Zoe Ysabella
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!Mayhem is filled with beautiful prose and lush descriptions that place the reader in such a specific time and place that you can visualize everything perfectly. It identifies as a mash up of The Craft and The Lost Boys mixed with a little bit of the Manson family. It follows a girl named Mayhem and her mother Roxy as they return to her mother's home and sister which she had run away from so long ago. Mayhem Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!Mayhem is filled with beautiful prose and lush descriptions that place the reader in such a specific time and place that you can visualize everything perfectly. It identifies as a mash up of The Craft and The Lost Boys mixed with a little bit of the Manson family. It follows a girl named Mayhem and her mother Roxy as they return to her mother's home and sister which she had run away from so long ago. Mayhem quickly gets mixed up in somewhat magical shenanigans having to due with her status as a Brayburn woman and her relationships with the adopted kids of her aunt. I DNFed this at 52%. I've never watched The Craft or The Lost Boys, and I think I may have enjoyed it more if I had, though I did see multiple reviews that said Mayhem was /too/ similar to The Lost Boys. I really enjoyed the first 40% of the book. It just flew by. I got to see Roxy and Mayhem's relationship, their separate struggles regarding Roxy's abusive ex-husband, and the peculiar atmosphere that Santa Maria cultivates. The characters were well written and you could see both their flaws and their positive qualities really quickly, but not too quickly as to be 2 dimensional. The writing really was so good that I still give it 2.5 stars even though I DNFed it. In the beginning, I also got really good hints of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, with this kind of magical family legacy. Everything changed around the 45% mark. Suddenly none of the characters acted as they had been previously, Mayhem suddenly rages at her mother, and even the magic comes out of nowhere. It felt like the author decided that there was enough set-up, and that the action should get started, but it occurs so suddenly that it reads like an entirely different book. If the action scenes were a separate book it would be a good book, but because they're together, it fights against the more character-driven, calmer atmosphere of the beginning. This probably would have gotten better had I stuck with it, but I just feel that as a younger reader it isn't really for me. I think that older readers would definitely enjoy it, but the references it relies on went over my head. Still, gorgeous cover, and for a book I DNFed, pretty good!
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  • Samantha Dupree
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't hate this book but I won't be picking up any sequels and will likely forget any character details within the week. I didn't want to feel that way and I think had I read this as a younger teen I would think differently but with what was promised, I just didn't get it.For starters, the least developed character was (all of them tbh) our lead. I dont know what she likes or doesnt, she has nothing of a personality except as a jumping off point for the more stereotypical characters around I didn't hate this book but I won't be picking up any sequels and will likely forget any character details within the week. I didn't want to feel that way and I think had I read this as a younger teen I would think differently but with what was promised, I just didn't get it.For starters, the least developed character was (all of them tbh) our lead. I dont know what she likes or doesnt, she has nothing of a personality except as a jumping off point for the more stereotypical characters around her (ya know, Hippie Aunt, Rebel Girl, Boy, etc...) So the drama and decisions she went through didn't have any weight. What is she gaining? Losing? The only time she felt relatable was when she was angry at her mom for keeping her from her hometown and her family.Speaking of family, her mom and aunt are awful. I'm sick of adults not being adults and I know thats a choice because of things her mom has gone through but there wasn't a single adult, including the villans, that felt like actual adults. And I'm saying that AS an adult.The plot? Who is she? I still dont understand? And it just felt like a rushed sequel set up which I hate. This had creepy potential but it really didn't feel like the 80s or "The Lost Boys" and "The Craft" mash-up I was promised. Mentioning River Phoenix and Tiger Beat once or twice doesn't make it 80s...I can see young teens liking this as a sort of gateway to harder horror or paranormal fiction but older readers (that would probably actually ENJOY the few 80s things) could probably skip. I think I would read more from this author but no more in this world.I read a NetGalley ARC
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for the Arc! Seriously what a fun ride! I was 11 when I saw The Lost Boys for the first time and this was like picking right back up! The book appealed to me because it’s being marketed for fans of The Lost Boys, but to me this seems like it should almost be a Lost Boys Novella! (Even though there are no Lost Boys in it! (Cause movie spoiler alert: They all die!). But the setting is the same. Exactly the same right down to the oiled up muscle saxophone player and some Thank you NetGalley for the Arc! Seriously what a fun ride! I was 11 when I saw The Lost Boys for the first time and this was like picking right back up! The book appealed to me because it’s being marketed for fans of The Lost Boys, but to me this seems like it should almost be a Lost Boys Novella! (Even though there are no Lost Boys in it! (Cause movie spoiler alert: They all die!). But the setting is the same. Exactly the same right down to the oiled up muscle saxophone player and some appearances from my favorite brothers lol! There is a story though that is being told and the author is telling her story but giving herself that fictional element with the LB tie in and the story of strong females. It seems like a healing process for her and you can almost feel the completion of the process when the book ends. I appreciate the rawness if the book. It made it that more interesting. At first, I thought it was going to be a little Practical Magic and it is. Two sisters, a strong female line, one true love, and of course magic. However, trigger warner, there is some abuse in this book. Mayhem, and her mother Roxy suffered abuse from the hands of her stepfather Lyle. Finally, her mother gets it together to leave him and return home to Santa Maria. Moving in with her mom’s twin sister and her 3 adopt kids, Mayhem begins to learn the truth about her family. Strap in for one hell of a ride!
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for honest review.Mayhem touts itself as "a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure" and I find that to be quite an apt description. It reads like a combination of many familiar elements, taking bits from 80s/90s movies and pieces from other YA novels (it gave me recall to Twilight, and any VC Andrews, to name a few). It goes on to describes itself as "original" which gave me I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for honest review.Mayhem touts itself as "a mashup of The Lost Boys and The Craft with a bit of the Manson family thrown in for good measure" and I find that to be quite an apt description. It reads like a combination of many familiar elements, taking bits from 80s/90s movies and pieces from other YA novels (it gave me recall to Twilight, and any VC Andrews, to name a few). It goes on to describes itself as "original" which gave me pause- is this the best choice of words for something that admits to being a mashup of familiar genres? Regardless, Mayhem is a very well written story that draws these familiar elements together in an interesting way. Placing the story in 1987 and including the family history gives it a sort of timeless quality. It builds on layers as the story progresses, beginning fairly mundane and slowly unearthing the hidden supernatural of Santa Monica, and I enjoyed the progression. I found the relationship between Mayhem and her mother, Roxy, a little confusing at first as it is not the typical mother/daughter dynamic and she does not refer to her as Mom. Readers should be aware that there are troubling depictions of domestic violence, abuse and trauma throughout this narrative. I would feel remiss not to mention how beautiful and fitting the cover art is. It's spectacularly well done.
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  • Konny
    January 1, 1970
    Mayhem by Estelle Laure is the first book I read by this author. Mayhem is a stand alone ya horror-ish story. Roxy and Mayhem Brayburn are part of a special family. THey reside in a smll town since forever. Roxy left whith Mayhem when she was a little girl and both lived a miserable life across the country. But now both are back and the following events are shaping Mayhem in a way nobody had dreamed of.Mayhem is a book that throws you right into story. There is no slowly easying in. Mayhem's Mayhem by Estelle Laure is the first book I read by this author. Mayhem is a stand alone ya horror-ish story. Roxy and Mayhem Brayburn are part of a special family. THey reside in a smll town since forever. Roxy left whith Mayhem when she was a little girl and both lived a miserable life across the country. But now both are back and the following events are shaping Mayhem in a way nobody had dreamed of.Mayhem is a book that throws you right into story. There is no slowly easying in. Mayhem's life wasn't only uprooted, it was put upside down and inside out when she moves to her family's farm. Roxy is a weak character with her own issues and her other relative is quite removed from the action. She stands back and simply let things happen. Mayhem is a 16 year old, all alone, except the other kids in the story.I started reading and it took me some time to get into the story. I had the feeling I was missing some important parts, I think a prequel would do me some good.And then at the end I wanted to know more. I need to now more, what about Kidd and Jason? What happens to Roxy and Mayhem?? Questions, questions I'd like to get answers to. All in all, Mayhem is a good read, I enjoyed the story, the writing is great and I liked the characters just fine. 4,5 Stars.
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  • Kerry Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I won an advanced reader copy of this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you, Goodreads!This novel reads like an excellent start to a series about the Brayburn family, particularly it's women. While much of the subject matter is a bit dark, as the disclaimer up front claims, warning of thematic material hinging on domestic and child abuse, and violence, and including serial kidnapping, drug use, murder and a suicide, it also talks about being true to yourself and your story, finding I won an advanced reader copy of this novel through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you, Goodreads!This novel reads like an excellent start to a series about the Brayburn family, particularly it's women. While much of the subject matter is a bit dark, as the disclaimer up front claims, warning of thematic material hinging on domestic and child abuse, and violence, and including serial kidnapping, drug use, murder and a suicide, it also talks about being true to yourself and your story, finding yourself and the wherewithal to be strong, and to do the right thing. Burying yourself hurts. I think these are all good messages for a young adult audience, and the surrounding kidnapping mystery and murders are a good opportunity for Mayhem, our heroine, to learn the secrets from her own and her mother's past that help define her and the possibilities that exist in her life, possibilities she had never before known about. She becomes empowered, rather than victimized - something we can all use now and again. It was an engaging story, and I look forward to seeing what comes next from the Brayburn women.
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  • (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Kasey ♥
    January 1, 1970
    **Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.**PROS:+ Mayhem and Roxy's relationship is interesting to see develop in the first half of the book. They are both going through a lot in regards to abuse, addiction, assault, etc., and I feel that it was done well.CONS:- Magical elements are suddenly introduced - there isn't much of a lead in to expect that magic is in this world.- A lot of the characters change suddenly (not just those that are **Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.**PROS:+ Mayhem and Roxy's relationship is interesting to see develop in the first half of the book. They are both going through a lot in regards to abuse, addiction, assault, etc., and I feel that it was done well.CONS:- Magical elements are suddenly introduced - there isn't much of a lead in to expect that magic is in this world.- A lot of the characters change suddenly (not just those that are introduced to the magical element/water) - Mayhem is flippant with her mother. Elle seems more like a best friend to the children than a mother figure. - Insta-love ... Why does this keep happening to the books I'm picking up?- Though I cannot remember a lot of "The Lost Boys," you can see by a lot of the reviews that "Mayhem" appears to be too similar to the movie. - The story drags on after the first half - there is not much action nor does there seem to be a point to what is going on in the city and/or world. There is constantly an emphasis on being a Brayburn, but by 80% I still hadn't a clue why that was so important (other than being able to handle the magic better).
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  • Tonya
    January 1, 1970
    Magic and the ability to find the bad guys and put an end to them is an irresistible pull for Mayhem Brayburn. Her mom, Roxy moves them back to their home town and life changes. Her mom's relationship with her step-dad has soured and they cling to the safety that Santa Maria, California represents. The three kids that her aunt Elle has adopted open their arms to show Mayhem how to have fun and let loose in Santa Maria. The kid are the ones that introduce Mayhem to the mystical and powerful Magic and the ability to find the bad guys and put an end to them is an irresistible pull for Mayhem Brayburn. Her mom, Roxy moves them back to their home town and life changes. Her mom's relationship with her step-dad has soured and they cling to the safety that Santa Maria, California represents. The three kids that her aunt Elle has adopted open their arms to show Mayhem how to have fun and let loose in Santa Maria. The kid are the ones that introduce Mayhem to the mystical and powerful magic. This story is definitely an enjoyable mash-up of The Lost Boys and The Craft... and a clever one at that! I like the changes in the characters and the plot. Very fun! Good to know information is that the target audience is teenagers and young adults.Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press / Wednesday Books, and author Estelle Laure for a digital advance reader copy for me to read and enjoy. As always, my opinions are my own.
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  • Mary Mostly Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Mayhem was so much more than I expected it to be. The synopsis does not even give the depth of the story justice. Estelle Laure did an amazing job at creating characters with such intriguing backgrounds and emotions. She displayed such difficult topics like spousal abuse, murder, foster care and so much more with so much truth and rawness that it really helps you to understand each character and their own stories better. Mayhem, as a character, goes from a shy, meek girl to someone who is Wow. Mayhem was so much more than I expected it to be. The synopsis does not even give the depth of the story justice. Estelle Laure did an amazing job at creating characters with such intriguing backgrounds and emotions. She displayed such difficult topics like spousal abuse, murder, foster care and so much more with so much truth and rawness that it really helps you to understand each character and their own stories better. Mayhem, as a character, goes from a shy, meek girl to someone who is learning all the truths she’s wished she knew her whole life and is becoming someone she wants to be. The story and plot were so interesting. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it. It’s a thriller, mystery, and fantasy all in one and works so very well. My only hope is that this ends up being a trilogy(or at the very least has a sequel) because I am just not ready to be done with Santa Maria and the infamous Brayburns yet.
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  • Kendra
    January 1, 1970
    Mayhem and her mom finally leave her abusive stepfather and go to California, where her mom is from. They find sanctuary with her aunt, and Mayhem soon learns that she's part of a long line of magical women in the family who protect the city they live in from violent men. That her aunt has adopted three kids and hoped that they too would become magical complicates things, and Mayhem has to find ways of helping her family by blood, her family by adoption, and her chosen family through both Mayhem and her mom finally leave her abusive stepfather and go to California, where her mom is from. They find sanctuary with her aunt, and Mayhem soon learns that she's part of a long line of magical women in the family who protect the city they live in from violent men. That her aunt has adopted three kids and hoped that they too would become magical complicates things, and Mayhem has to find ways of helping her family by blood, her family by adoption, and her chosen family through both magical and non-magical means. There's a lot of violence and killing, but also some excellent girl power material, and smart readers will be attracted to Mayhem's conflicts of conscience and do some thinking about vengeance, violence, and protection on their own. Could be a good book for a book club or reading group of teens and tweens.
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  • Jeremy Wood
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I wanted to love this book. The theme of abuse and the effects of toxic mother-daughter relationships are important and need to be addressed, and, after reading the first chapters, I really thought that I would be captivated by this book. Alas, the spell ended long before the final chapter. For such a short book, there are a number of plot lines that felt extraneous (or haphazardly constructed), and the relationships I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I wanted to love this book. The theme of abuse and the effects of toxic mother-daughter relationships are important and need to be addressed, and, after reading the first chapters, I really thought that I would be captivated by this book. Alas, the spell ended long before the final chapter. For such a short book, there are a number of plot lines that felt extraneous (or haphazardly constructed), and the relationships between characters did not always feel organic. Though I was ultimately disappointed with this book, I still want to make it clear that I think Estelle Laure has some impressive prose, and I think that with a little reorganization and a clearer focus this text could have been magic. 2.5/5 stars
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Estelle Laure’s Mayhem is a brilliantly crafted coming-of-age story that interweaves mysticism with realism in a wholly unique way. It’s also a story steeped in a powerful sense of matriarchy, with deep familial bonds that stretch across generations. Mayhem Brayburn has always felt like she doesn’t fit in. Stuck in a small town in Texas with her mother, Roxy, and abusive stepfather, Mayhem knows she was meant for more. When they finally flee the abuse and return to Roxy’s home town, Mayhem Estelle Laure’s Mayhem is a brilliantly crafted coming-of-age story that interweaves mysticism with realism in a wholly unique way. It’s also a story steeped in a powerful sense of matriarchy, with deep familial bonds that stretch across generations. Mayhem Brayburn has always felt like she doesn’t fit in. Stuck in a small town in Texas with her mother, Roxy, and abusive stepfather, Mayhem knows she was meant for more. When they finally flee the abuse and return to Roxy’s home town, Mayhem unearths what all Brayburn women intrinsically know: that she is powerful beyond what she ever thought was possible. I loved everything about this book. There are strong female characters who are nuanced, complicated, and deep. There are interesting supernatural elements to the story that evoke both elements of witchcraft and vampirism. There’s an examination of familial lines, particularly matriarchal, and what it means to be a part of said bloodlines. There’s a beautiful budding romance that enhances the plot, and there’s an exploration of the idea of what it means to protect and what the costs of protecting are. There are so many achingly human parts to the story that it successfully manages to capture the nostalgia of youth and also the pain of growing up. In my mind, it’s difficult to quantify or categorize this novel, which is probably what I love most about it. As part of the narrative, there are depictions of sexual and physical abuse, suicide, and murder, though all of these are treated the dignity, and are not overtly descriptive or explicit. All aforementioned depictions serve as drivers to the narrative itself, so nothing feels overtly prurient or exploitative. In all, this is a book about growing up, finding yourself, and having the courage to become what you’re meant to be. Whether you’re typically a YA reader or not, add this to your TBR stack immediately. **Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.**
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  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    When this said it was similar to the Craft and the Lost Boys I was ready to dive in. Set in 1987 this YA horror fantasy starts out fast and keeps pulling you in. Mayhem and Roxy had moved to Santa Maria to escape an abusive situation and it's a whole new start for the both. As she realizes that she comes from a family of witches, one that kills anyone that threatens their family, she has to decide if she will accept this role in life. While I did see quite a but of resemblance to the Lost Boys, When this said it was similar to the Craft and the Lost Boys I was ready to dive in. Set in 1987 this YA horror fantasy starts out fast and keeps pulling you in. Mayhem and Roxy had moved to Santa Maria to escape an abusive situation and it's a whole new start for the both. As she realizes that she comes from a family of witches, one that kills anyone that threatens their family, she has to decide if she will accept this role in life. While I did see quite a but of resemblance to the Lost Boys, I didn't with the Craft. But that's ok because this book is well worth the read. Witches and murder...what more could you want?
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  • Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not typically much for horror but this has a bit of a Buffy vibe (minus the vampires). Teenage Mayhem can’t help but go after the bad guys (see Buffy vibes!). I thought the writing style was lovely and vivid. At times, I felt the story was a bit sluggish. Overall I enjoyed this book. And would recommend to others who enjoy YA and horror/fantasy elements. I loved that it was set in the 80s, I feel like so much YA has a dystopian flavor these days. 3.5/5 stars for me.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley. And I’m not at all sure what to say about it or how to rate it. I wanted to keep reading, so clearly I was engaged. But I was also confused, but I feel like explaining my confusion would lead to major spoilers. Some parts of the book just didn’t make sense and I had to read over and over, and some parts were a little too convenient and predictable. But it was a pretty original tale and I definitely think a lot of students would like it.
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  • Rachel Stansel
    January 1, 1970
    A different type of story about a family of women with special abilities. This was a fast read, and overall I enjoyed it. May is an interesting character and the interwoven family history was cool. I was really confused for longer than I should admit about what the abilities were. I'm not sure it that was me or not, but I found it detracted from the story some.Full disclosure- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher. I enjoyed it. Gave me Buffy vibes. On the whole, it’s nothing as radical as the back cover copy implies. I didn’t find it particularly feminist as much as just vaguely socially conscious. There’s not as much magic as I’d thought there would be. I liked the relationships in the book. Overall, cute? Didn’t fully execute what it set out to do.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to enjoy this book, because the summary sounded awesome. That said, I found it to be a bit slow and that it was almost trying too hard to live up to its comparison to The Lost Boys. I was hoping for something that felt a bit fresher, but instead the story felt too focused on the things that inspired it.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to enjoy this book, because the summary sounded awesome. That said, I found it to be a bit slow and that it was almost trying too hard to live up to its comparison to The Lost Boys. I was hoping for something that felt a bit fresher, but instead the story felt too focused on the things that inspired it.
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  • Johnna Whetstone
    January 1, 1970
    3 for neutral. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into this book on the occasions I tried, but will update at later date. If able to get into it and read it all the way through. I think I was thinking of something else, when I requested, which may be why my mood isn’t letting me enjoy it.
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  • Sarah Dickinson
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say I loved everything about this book and enjoyed every moment spent on it. The characters as well as their development, as well as the story and the world created that I was able to step inside of
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