Continuing my whirlwind of ARCS at the present moment and wrapped up Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd. Anouk is a beastie, an animal enchanted to a human, who works for her witch, Mada Vittora, as a maid. She cleans and cooks for Mada Vittora for as long as she has been a human, 1 year. She isn’t the only beastie in the house, Beau is the driver, Cricket is a secret thief, Hunter Black is the hound of the witch’s son, and Luc is the gardener. However Luc has been missing for several days and no one knows where he went or where he is at. Anouk is prepping for an important party for all of the Royals when she meets the mysterious Prince Rennar, heir to the Haunte. Mada Vittora sees her guest out of her home only to return to be murdered. Auouk and Beau find her dead and realize that their enchantment to remain human remains with Mada Vittora. They only have 3 days to find someone else to enchant them or they return to their animal lives. They don’t know what kind of animals they were but they must find and keep the pelts of their former selves to remain humans. Anouk who loved Mada Vittora like a mother, even thought she was her maid slave, learns that she can’t always trust who she thinks but has to be extremely brave and rely on herself. Luc has always been a big brother to her but he is gone and she hopes to find him along the way to save herself and the other beaties before time expires.
The book was a whimsical and beautiful story set in modern Paris. I could vividly see the landscape and buildings throughout the journey. The pretense of the world of witches, goblins and magic all have a unique twist. I enjoyed seeing how the goblins where able to manipulate the rules of magic to make it work for them. Beau’s crush on Anouk added a dash of romance to the story that kept it interesting. All of these parts of the story made it fun to read but the end dragged on too much for me. A book with unpredictable twists makes the story memorable but I unable to keep up with each sharp turn in the plot. I felt this book could have wrapped up sooner and still lead into a sequel.
Overall I didn’t hate the book but I was ready to be done with it about 80 pages before the end. It is a book I believe is better suited for high school but I am going to ask a couple of 8th graders to review it as well. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers for the ARC.