YA Review: MISS MAYHEM by Rachel Hawkins 

I binge-read all of Rachel Hawkins’ books last spring and absolutely loved the Hex Hall series. As a result, I perhaps didn’t give REBEL BELLE as much credit, although I did include it in a round-up of books you should check out. After a year without any new Rachel Hawkins books to read, MISS MAYHEM was a complete delight, so I will give it the full review it deserves. If you haven’t read REBEL BELLE, the following description and review will include spoilers for it, so you should STOP READING NOW.

Still reading? Okay.

MISS MAYHEM by Rachel HawkinsLife is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or connect her to David for life.

Here are the five things I loved most:

1. The premise – Since I didn’t give a full review of the first book, I’ll start with the premise. I liked how it wasn’t the typical Chosen One storyline. Harper didn’t inherit the Paladin powers–they were transferred to her as the previous Paladin died. Also, these books have a definite Buffy vibe. There’s even a Scooby Doo reference in this one :).

2. The voice – I love Rachel Hawkins’ writing in general, but Harper’s voice in particular has a Southern humor to it that is just perfect. Here’s a sample from when she and her friends are at a fair.

“Look, I’d love to tell you I was totally disgusted by the fried food on display, but A) some of those trucks were raising money for various charities and schools, and B) deep-fried Oreos were sent from heaven to prove God loves us.”

Don’t you just get such a great sense of her personality from this one sentence?

3. The descriptions – This goes along with the voice a bit, but I also really love the descriptions of other characters. It’s never just a simple description, which is why I said it goes with the voice, but tells something about Harper, too.

“For all that his eyes were freaking me out, I wished I could see them right now. I could read a lot in his face–the tightness of his mouth told me he was going to be stubborn about this, the tugging at his hair meant he was nervous–but his eyes would’ve told me more. How freaked out he was, for example.”

4. The drama – Oh, the drama! Spoiler alert if you ignored my other one. At the end of the first book, her just-dumped boyfriend absorbed the powers of the Mage, making up the third corner of the triangle with Harper and her new boyfriend, David. Talk about awkward! I loved watching how this played out, particularly as new characters made it into more of a rhombus. The emotions involved were very believable and not over-dramatized at all, despite the fact that I called this point “the drama” :).

5. The ending – So, the ending is the one thing I commented on when I did that round-up that included the first book, and Miss Hawkins has done it again with this one, delivering an ending that completely changes everything in the story world. I have no idea what’s coming in the third book, but I can’t wait to find out! Unfortunately, I picked this book up the week it released, so I’ll have to wait a whole year :(. So it goes.

Have you read MISS MAYHEM yet? Tell me what you thought!

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