Release Day + Book Review: TO BEST THE BOYS by Mary Weber

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.
Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Quick and meaningful read.

What a thrilling and delightful surprise! I honestly wasn't sure what I was reading during the first couple chapters of this book. There were corpses, ghouls, diseases and a whole lot of sassy humor! I had seen many of my fellow readers picking this one up and wanted to know what it was about. I didn't read the synopsis (does this surprise anyone at this point?) because I've really enjoyed other books by Mary Weber. HUGE thank you to Thomas Nelson and #NetGalley for granting my review request.

TO BEST THE BOYS is a story about defying the odds and taking charge of your own future. Rhen Tellur is headstrong, passionate, and fights for what she believes in. Damn the consequences. All she wants is to find a cure for the disease that's sure to kill her mother. But as a Lower, and a woman, she doesn't have the resources to do it. When the invitation to the annual Festival of the Equinox and Labyrinth competition comes she's struck with an idea. Enter under the guise of a boy and win the scholarship to save her family (and her community).

Things really picked up once they entered the Labyrinth and are faced with challenges and puzzles. It reminded me a little of the Triwizard tournament and The Maze Runner, mixed with an escape room! Will Rhen be discovered as a woman and get kicked out of the competition? Or will she make it though to the end and surprise everyone, including herself? You’ll have to read to find out!

This book was full of mystery, action, suspense, betrayal and whole cast of amazing characters. I found myself hooked to the story immediately and couldn't wait to read more. I think anyone who’s a fan of YA fantasy and magical realism will enjoy it. I loved every minute. When I finished reading, I had one of those satisfied but also wishing for more words feelings. Another fantastic read from Mary Weber and I can’t wait to see what she dreams up next!

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Hi. I write books. I eat things. I kiss things. I believe in mermaids.

I'm also the author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series, and the March 2019 release, To Best the Boys. When not working, I sing 80’s hairband songs to my three muggle children, and ogle my husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. We live in California, which is perfect for stalking aging movie stars while wearing fanny packs and sweatpants.

For those who like to know such things (mainly my mom), Storm Siren was featured in the Scholastic Book Fair and my novels have been endorsed by such nice humans as Marissa Meyer, CJ Redwine, Shannon Messenger, and Jonathan Maberry (in fact, Marissa Meyer and I have a fun interview in the paperback of her book, CRESS). Also, Boba tea & sweatpants are life. {We can chat about life (in sweatpants over tea, obviously) in my Newsletter.

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