Monday, August 10, 2015

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

I just finished reading Alys Arden's first novel The Casquette Girls. This is young adult fiction that a mature adult can love. The story takes place in New Orleans in the months right after a major hurricane. Arden, who grew up in New Orleans, says the storm is based on Katrina and well as other hurricanes and a bit of imagination. The storm unleashes wide-spread disaster as well as some previously hidden magic.

This is the Goodreads synopsis:

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined. 

Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows. Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from the Big Easy, but someone or something is draining life from its residents.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

I don't want to add to much to that so that I don't give anything away, but this book is so far and away better than that other YA vampire book (that will go un-named here) that The Casquette Girls has put it out of my memory. I love the descriptions of the city and the vibrant characters in this book- maybe because I just visited New Orleans in May- it all seemed very real to me. I highly recommend reading this book.

What is particularly amazing about this book is that Ardyn wrote it and posted it online chapter by chapter on Wattpad. She self-published it and then Anne Rice read it and helped promote the book. Amazon picked it up with the promise of a sequel and now you can purchase it at a bookstore in New Orleans or through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Stop by Ardyn's website for the book and you can read a clever interview with the characters on the blog.

And, in case you're wondering what a Casquette Girl is, the term originally came from the French fille a la cassette. This was the term for women and girls brought from France to the French colony of Louisiana to marry. They were often criminals and orphans who were called that because they brought small chests with their clothes and dowery. The term later was changed and shortened to casquette girls.

Now go get this book!

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