Author: Estelle Laure
Genre: YA Contemporary/Paranormal
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
“Mayhem Brayburn and her mother are on the run, not away from home, but back to it: Santa Maria, California, a beach town that looks like paradise, like carnival rides and street food and bikinis under the hot sun.
It’s where Mayhem has always wanted to be. It’s where generations of Brayburns have lived and thrived, and she has never understood what made her mother leave Santa Maria in favor of the arms of her abusive stepfather.
But when she befriends her aunt’s foster kids and they take her to their hideout, decades of secrets unravel, and Mayhem is thrust into a world of chaotic magic, a serial killer’s mind, and finally, even the answers to her own past.
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.” (Goodreads)
As someone who has watched The Lost Boys countless of times, I knew I needed to read this book. The movie and 80’s are super iconic and so the premise quickly drew me in. Unfortunately, there was too much that drew from the movie and it took away from my overall experience.
The beginning of the book draws you in with a letter written from one character to another. Other letters can be found throughout the book and I thought that was a nice touch. They make it easier to understand why the Brayburns are who they are and the secrets they keep.
As for the mashup of The Lost Boys/ The Craft, bit of Manson family, I can speak for two minus The Craft since I have never seen the movie.
I wouldn’t say that anything resembled the Manson Family. There is nothing in here that is really cult-like, at least I didn’t see it. I think that it is a stretch to put this in the premise.
I mentioned there being a lot from The Lost Boys and I will talk about that here. The setting definitely stands out and mirrors the setting in the movie quite a bit. A boardwalk with a vhs store, comic book store, rides, and even bonfire parties with a sexy sax man. There is mention of the iconic Frog brothers who’s family owns a comic shop that they work at. They wear a beret and headband. They also are obsessed with vampires. The only difference between them and their movie counterparts is that they are only mentioned twice and don’t actually do anything. I could talk about all the other references but there is a lot.
Even though it did draw a lot from The Lost Boys, the plot did steer from the movie and the author did try to create their own. The problem was that it was pretty slow and there wasn’t much action going on. For me, it didn’t actually start picking up until after the 50% mark. I also didn’t care for the romance that seemed to have been just thrown in.
Overall, the book was a bit of a letdown. It had it’s interesting moments but it just mirrored The Lost Boys too much for me to actually enjoy.