Cover Image: Deep in Providence

Deep in Providence

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Member Reviews

I got chills from the very first sentence and I knew right then, this would be a story filled with emotions in the best way possible. I’m no psychic, but I’m so glad I was right. 

Neilson crafts emotion, haunting, pain, love, joy, and complex characters in a way that wants you turning the page for “just one more chapter” (spoilers: you will stay up all night reading it). With such strong prose and descriptive imagery, I cannot wait for what she writes next!
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Actual rating 4.5 stars

Aw, Deep in Providence is raw. Haunting. Magical. Painful. Sad. Hopeful. Emotional. And above all, splendidly written!

Three voices, Miliana’s, Inez’s, and Natalie’s, each so distinctive, each full of grief, each dealing with different things after their best friend Jas died in a car accident caused by a drunken driver. Determined to get Jas back, the girls start using their mystical abilities.

I don’t really believe in higher powers and am pretty down-to-earth. But this book, I can’t even. Riss just pulled me into a world full of plants and spells and magic, and I had to surrender. To those three beautiful girls, to the descriptive writing, even to the magic I never believed in. I immediately compared Deep in Providence to The Honeys by Ryan La Sala (not out yet). Although both young adult books couldn’t be more different, they’re also incredibly alike. Both books are on the darker side with grief as the central theme, and in the meantime, the stories are about so many other important issues. Deep in Providence is about love, friendship, and family relationships, and next to grief it deals with topics like sexuality, drug addiction, immigration, religion, and teen pregnancy.

This book moved me in a way I didn’t expect in advance, and I highly recommend it! And Riss, I closed my eyes and imagined that your dedication was already in my early copy, and I loved it!
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I literally couldn’t put it down. It was so beautifully written. I mean the way I cared about every single character main or not. I binged it! It was so good! Not one single character felt flat. If you read only one book this year, make it this one! Riss an incredible talent who deserves all the success. I’m so thankful I got to read this beautiful novel!
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As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I needed to have it because it's based in Rhode Island! As much as I love my tiny state, it never gets the recognition it deserves. Deep in Providence does an excellent job of recognizing it, especially the varied cultural experience that happens in such a small space. As a resident, I loved seeing familiar places. 

This book is labeled as YA fantasy, which is it, but it is also so much more than that. Deep in Providence tackles death, friendship, religion, magic, family, the immigrant experience, drug addiction, sexual assault, bisexuality and class favoritism all in one novel. And the author pulled it off brilliantly. There is a lot going on, but that's high school. The characters felt so authentic with fully-fleshed out lives, families, and history. 

With all of this turmoil, the girls turn to magic to have some power over their experience. The magic system is based in Filipino culture, and it felt like real magic. Not sparkly, flashy magic. The spells were more elemental with herbs and intention versus wands and glitter. I liked that. This gave me strong feels of The Craft (if you are old enough to remember that movie.)

Deep in Providence lands in stores on May 31, and if you like witchy, diverse stories, you NEED this on your list.
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*spoiler free review*

I was super excited to read the ARC because the book looked absolutely intriguing with spirits, magic, female friendships and mystery. I LOVED THIS STORY! I seriously could barely put it down. The characters were so deeply filled out they came alive on the page and in my heart. When I tell you I cried more than once reading this excellently plotted story of 3 friends sharing and moving through the grief of losing their 4th friend. The ways in which the characters separately tried to reconcile their own actions and emotions while also weaving their own personal and family struggles through the action was beautifully written. I often felt like I was there with the girls the writing was so vibrant! The way that the author created each character with so much depth and personality makes me want to read anything she has ever written! This book isnt even out and I already can't wait for the sequel!!
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It was such a beautiful read. I felt seen between the pages, and not just to one single character, but I saw a piece of myself in every characters and their struggles/condition. This book covered a lot of grounds. Dealing with grief, how to keep living even if you felt everything is falling apart around you, teen drama (read all the TW before proceed, please), friendships, beliefs, and family problems. It was haunting, healing, magical. and brilliant. I love every single pages of this book and it was such an eventful, healing journey!

< thank you publisher for sending me eARC via Netgalley in exchange with honest review >
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Riss Neilson's incredible debut chronicles the journeys of three young women haunted by the death of their friend. By turns haunting, joyful, suspenseful, and devastating, the book beautifully renders both the place of Providence, Rhode Island, as experienced by these characters, and their shifting understandings of themselves and their connections to each other. It was wonderful to see a book deeply invested in magic that didn't function on a binary of good or bad/real or not real. I couldn't put it down.
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A spell-binding debut I read all in one day. Part sweeping family saga, and part age old tale of how deep the roots of friendship and love really run. This is a genuinely incredible book I won’t soon forget.
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Miliani, Natalie and Inez feel like real people. They are girls that could have grown up with me. I love this book.
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I had a difficult time categorizing this novel, because while it is well-written and intriguing, it doesn't fit any one genre or idea.  The premise is that one of the girls in a group of friends has met an untimely death, and in their grief, they feel that they have an obligation to bring her back from the dead.  Each of the friends has their own reasons for wanting their dead friend back, and they have all dabbled in the occult, so the idea doesn't seem so foreign to them.  However, I as the reader (and not an avid reader of books about the occult) had a very difficult time figuring out why these otherwise intelligent girls thought their spell would work, given the setting was a modern-day city and there wasn't a precedent for this having happened successfully.  As I read, I was willing to suspend my disbelief and follow the story.  However, I did not feel compelled to root for Jasmine as she wasn't especially fleshed out.  I also didn't care for any of the friends who were selfish and in denial.  That may have been the author's intention, and I can get behind a flawed narrator.  I think there were too many loose ends to wrap up successfully and it all seemed rushed at the end.  Meanwhile, the remainder of the book felt like it dragged on and no one seemed to care about anyone else, even though they professed to be best friends.

I think the target audience (Teens, fans of the occult, fans of LGBTQ+ storylines) would find enough elements to hold their attention, but the lack of relatable characters and the lengthy timeline definitely turned me off.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I adored this!! An absolutely stunning and haunting debut about three girls who turn in desperation to magic after their friend dies in a car accident. This is a beautiful exploration of grief, love, friendship and family, and Miliani, Inez and Natalie have an intense depth that made me love them so much.
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"Deep in Providence" is a book I didn’t realize I’d been craving until I’d turned to the first page and begun reading. Completely mesmerizing, spell-binding and absolutely entrancing, this book had me wrapped into its magic from the first sentence. Reading this book felt like a good fever dream, and I couldn’t get enough.

Characters –
One thing I love seeing more of from books is imperfect characters; characters that are allowed to have faults and not expected to be on their A-game 24/7. Riss M. Neilson gave us exactly that in this book, and she delivered us one better–characters that acknowledged, owned up to and bettered themselves with their faults.

Miliani is a character anyone who’s ever lost a loved one can connect with. She’s struggling to grieve the loss of her best friend Jasmine–someone she realized she had feelings for shortly before her death–and she’s barely keeping herself afloat. With the thought of possibly bringing Jasmine back to the world of the living, even if not completely the same or alive, she’s desperate and seeks out the help of her other friends Natalie and Inez.

Miliani was aware of herself throughout the book. She knew that she kept secrets and lied in bits, and she knew that, at certain times, she was taking advantage of her friends. But the same went for Inez and Natalie. When it came to the magic granted to them through their witchcraft, they all used it for something they wanted to gain or better themselves with. This was brought up several times throughout the book, and I loved seeing it.

One of my favorite parts about reading into the characters is seeing their development. Neilson’s character development was emmaculate. She portrayed teenagers that actually sounded like and appeared as teenagers. There were times where all of the girls had to act as adults, be it from problems they faced with their parents or choices they made that came with consequences. When it came to it, it wasn’t pushed onto the reader that because of those actions, the characters now had to act in a “mature” or adult light, but that they were still kids who messed up or were struck with bad givings in life. That outcomes like that happen to people, and it was extremely noteable to me. I found myself highlighting several portions of text because of it.

Magic System –
Up until this point, I was desperately searching for a magically realistic book found its way to me, and "Deep in Providence" did not disappoint with what it had to give.

I found myself falling into the magic Miliani’s family inherited, and the magic she then taught to her friends. I’m not a fan of ghosts or paranormal stories normally, but this book had me anxiously anticipating its next move. The magic system was very well-crafted, and there were so many layers to it that I didn’t feel lost or confused or wonder why so-and-so had to happen for another so-and-so to work.

Imagery –
I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the pages, and it was easy to just believe that the story itself was real and happening right in front of me. I struggle with being able to picture the words transported into my head sometimes, but I had no difficulty doing so with this one. I could close my eyes and easily imagine exactly what Neilson was describing on page thanks to her incredible descriptions and detailing in every given scene. For some people, they might think that this book came across as too descriptive, and where I would normally agree, I’d disagree for this one. We needed every bit of extra information we could get with this book because without it, this book wouldn’t have been the same in any way.

Plot –
I will say this again and again: this story and the plot line behind it was brilliant. I had an idea of what would happen by the end of the book, but Neilson made sure that what I was led to believe was not what would occur, and I found myself grieving along with the characters in the ending we were given.

Every bit of storyline, every dialogue that built up to it, even the mischief and deceipt; they were all necessary. It built "Deep in Providence" to be a shining, beautifully written gift to us readers, and I still can’t get over it.

Overall –
I loved this book with every fibre of my being. It was beautiful, it was emotional, and it gave me exactly what I was hoping for out of a reading experience. I would absolutely read it again within a heartbeat, and for that, I rate this book 5 stars. I highly suggest this book to all my fellow readers, and I cannot wait to read what Riss M. Neilson will give to us next.
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