I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
Published by Thomas Nelson on 19th March 2019
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, Hardcover
Source: from Netgalley
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.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my copy of this book via Netgalley. I also got a copy in the March Fairyloot box. I loved the premise of the book. A bit of magic and fantasy mixed with beating the boys. What more could a girl ask for?
This was a really fun book. I loved the challenges. It had a real Hunger Games vibe but, you know, without the deaths. Rhen was such a good character. She was smart and way beyond the times she lived in. I hope that Rhen is a real inspiration to young audiences. She is so determined and outwitted the boys at every turn.
The other characters I really loved was Sam, Seleni and Beryl. They were such good supporting characters to Rhen. She really has a good support system around her. I loved how different her and Seleni were yet they still respected each other’s life choices.
Mary did an excellent job of describing Pinsbury port. Not only the location but also the class divides. It was quite shocking to me how Rhen’s mum was treated by her family because of her choice of husband. I was quite disappointed with them.
One of my favourite scenes was the trip to the island. It was so clever! I won’t say any more than that though
My only complaint was it was too short and I have so many more questions. Mary, please write a sequel!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: