Mayhem

A Novel

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Pub Date 14 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 14 Jul 2020
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books

Description

The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.

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.

The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.

It's 1987 and unfortunately it's not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off...


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ISBN 9781250297938
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 524 members


Featured Reviews

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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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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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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Mayhem is a wonderful coming of age book with fantasy elements. It is both very light and very dark, both very warm and very cold, both wonderful and awful. It's just how life is, and written in such a way that all those emotions and atmosphere come across like you are really there, in Mayhem's skin. This is the kind of book I will probably remember a couple of times when I'm looking for a book to read, hoping that other book will touch me like this one did.

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This book was a great read. The theme was reminiscent of both The Female of the Species, and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Two books I would definitely recommend! Check them out on my 5 books to make you cry list. I really enjoyed the writing style, as well as the diary entries. The author did a fantastic job of developing backstory along with well developed side characters. This book is perfect for fans of supernatural historical fiction, or historical fantasy. If you are a fan of dark and curious books, then this is undoubtedly for you. However, some themes in this book are dark, which may not be enjoyable for some readers. I personally thought the author did a fantastic job of maintaining darker themes, without becoming too depressing. I would highly recommend this book!

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This book is special. I love girls who get their vengeance shamelessly and I think the comparisons to THE CRAFT and THE LOST BOYS are spot on. The characters and their development is really where MAYHEM shines--it is easy to care about these characters, no matter their flaws, and actually love them more for it. I'm excited to see what Laure writes next.

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I loved this! This was pure gold - a perfect blend of dark themes and youthful spirit set against the backdrop of beach vibes and eighties nostalgia. Mayhem seeks refuge at her aunt's farm in Santa Monica after being on the run from her abusive step-father. She befriends her three adopted cousins, Jason, Neve and Kidd, who introduce her to fun times at the boardwalk and on the beach. When Mayhem starts to feel a strange pull towards the ocean, her cousins reveal that a magical lineage runs deep in the Brayburn family and exists in the ancient water of the pier, and she is next in line to inherit magical powers that allow her to see other people's darkest secrets. Transformed, Mayhem's life is turned completely upside down as she realizes it is her birthright to protect the citizens of Santa Monica from a raving serial killer on the loose. But with this newfound power there are costs to be paid, and Mayhem must come to terms with what she has become and how to protect her family from even themselves. I was delighted by this premise and the uniqueness of the magic system. I loved how it felt like it could somehow happen in real life, like it was just the perfect amount of magic in the modern world without leaning towards cheesy. I'm glad that this book shied away from the vampire trope, it felt completely on its own as a separate mystical evocation. And it was woven in so well with family dramas, particularly the relationship with Mayhem and her mother who was abused and beaten, but battling her own demons while addicted to pain pills and alcohol. These characters were flawed and deeply layered. The plot was well-structured and well-articulated. The characters were vivid and jumped off the page. The pacing was smooth and I was never counting pages. It read a little young, but dealt with death and murder and the morality of being a vigilante in a very mature way. All in all, a fantastic, enjoyable read. Thank you to netgalley for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

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trigger warnings: domestic abuse, child abuse, drug abuse, drug addiction, rape, murder, violence, suicide, codependent relationships, foster care, ptsd -------------------- Estelle Laure creates magic in her coming-of-age novel Mayhem, with well-written female characters and an intriguing story that doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. Using elements from a mashup of genres such as mystery, horror and fantasy, Mayhem explores the nuances of addiction and abuse, deep familial bonds on the verge of codependency and a powerful sense of matriarchy. Laure’s female characters are fascinating and complex, all shaded by their own backstories and personalities instead of forced from the same boring mold. The novel follows Mayhem Brayburn and her mother, Roxy, who have just returned to their hometown of Santa Maria, leaving behind an abusive step-father and home where Mayhem never felt like they fit in. Finding sanctuary with her aunt Elle, Mayhem soon unearths the secret magic of the Brayburn family - magic that runs through the female lineage and will change her life completely. Centering on Mayhem as she learns family secrets, readers know from the very beginning that there is something different about the Brayburn women. Interwoven with supernatural elements, Mayhem is about growing up and being brave enough to become who you were meant to be. Even if you aren’t typically a fan of YA fantasy, you should definitely add this novel to your TBR right away.

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If you enjoyed the world of "The Lost Boys", you will find this book an interesting adventure. I found the characters well-written and the story engaging. While written for a teen audience, I would recommend this book to adults as well.

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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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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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This book perfectly balances magic, with real life, with mystery, with quirky weirdness, with kickass characters. The author handles all the aspects of the books gracefully, making sure you don’t get too overwhelmed with any aspect. This book’s pace was heavenly, it went by so fast you I was surprised when I got to the acknowledgements. I loved it; I love the characters, Neve and Mayhem were both hurricanes, they were beautiful and complex and wild. The relationships between all the characters was well arced, layered perfectly with all the characters’ experiences. My favorite aspect of the story was hands down the magic. It was mysterious, historical, and just something I’ve never seen before. Highly recommend to pick this read up!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for this eARC! I had gotten an email recommending that I read it, and after I saw the blurb about it being The Lost Boys meets The Craft, I was so IN. Being raised by my mom who was a total 80s girl gave me a love of a lot of media from the time, but none so much as anything that had to do with supernatural happenstances or magic. These tales made the world feel much bigger, more exciting, and like anything could happen. This novel had the exact same vibe as we followed Mayhem on her journey to discover herself in a world that is desperate to keep her, and those like her down. It is amazing to watch her metamorphosis from a demure, hopeless teenager to a vibrant and self-assured woman who is done watching and waiting for life to get better. She takes life by the horns within these pages, and by the end she is riding astride it. Mayhem is born to a mother, Roxy, from an infamous family in California. Due to reasons beyond her ken, Roxy stole them away one night after May's father's passing, leaving the comforts of home and ending up in the arms of a southern gentleman, or so he seems. Years go by, and Mayhem endures much suffering in Taylor, Texas. She never feels as though she fits in, and she sees her mother beaten again and again by her abusive step-father. Finally, it goes too far, and the two women take off again, but this time they return back home. Roxy's twin sister has kept up the family home and taken in foster kids that feel like her own; and she welcomes the runaways in with a full and gracious heart. Mayhem is desperate to fit in, and so she finds a place within the circle of Neve, Jason, and Kidd, and despite Roxy and Elle's warnings, the four of them careen into the point of no return. These kids that Elle has taken under her wing have found out the secret of the Brayburns, and share it with Mayham. There is a kind of magic that has always been awaiting her in her veins, and once she unleashes it, she can see herself and everyone else with clear eyes. This sight threatens to fracture her relationship with her mother, but ends up saving them both. It also comes with a heavy responsibility; for years Brayburn women have used it to rid the earth of evil, and it's something that Mayhem must come to terms with, along with the fact that the power is an addiction, and it's one that is eating her friends alive. Our protagonist navigates these waters with the skill of a newborn sea turtle--instinctively and like it was what she was born to do. She has always had the strength within her, and it has been waiting for her to wake up. I love this book not only for the supernatural elements, but that in spite of this, it is a book about finding your power and unleashing it. It is an anthem to all the women who have been silenced by society, men, themselves-- and how far we have come even in four or so decades. It is a plea to know that sometimes you don't have control over the things that happen to you. Everything that happens in your life is for a reason, even if it seems like complete chaos. There does come a point, however, where you have to choose to be complacent or if you want your voice to be heard, and Mayhem's story makes you want to yell from the rooftops. It reminds you to treasure your friends, the people by your side that push you and help you to grow, and love your family fiercely, but remember to turn those things on yourself as well. Listen to the whisper from the sea that there IS magic in the world if you know where to look, and some of it is there, waiting for you when you peer in the mirror. Give this novel a try if you're feeling less than or out of sorts. It will bring you back to your body with renewed purpose.

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This was a beautifully written story, we follow Mayhem and her family. A touch of magic is involved. A very immersive book to read that will suck you in from the beginning. A great beach read.

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