Today I have the pleasure of hosting a stop on the blog tour for Françoise DuMaurier’s thrilling own voices YA novel, The Grateful Boys. If you’re a fan of fun twists on the vampires genre, feel like getting in the mood for halloween, or maybe you like to seek out multi-perspective and diverse reads, then this one is definitely for you!
Title: The Grateful Boys
Author: Françoise DuMaurier
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: 1st October 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction
Themes: Family, Vampires, Romance
When seventeen-year-old Hailey’s multi-racial, single parent family migrate to the tiny rural town of Corpus, Georgia (population 700), she would rather have moved anywhere but there.
That is, until she spots him. Mysterious definitely, perhaps even supernatural. Where Hailey is awe-struck by the young man of her dreams, her little brother, Mason, sees a soulless creature of the night, a half-man who may be responsible for a series of grisly murders across the southern gothic town.
Antwan Zeddman, the town’s first African-American Sheriff, must enforce a curfew in Corpus to ensure the safety of the townsfolk. He must contend with sightings of hellish winged beasts and investigate the slaying of an innocent young couple traveling through town. There is a growing sense of racial unrest. Hailey will find herself caught between her family, the residents of Corpus, and the vampire she’s falling in love with.
The Grateful Boys is an otherworldly Young Adult novel which explores the challenges of growing up mixed raced in the southern states of America, and the troubles of a young woman coming of age in a town full of danger and temptation.
I’m always on the hunt for own voices and diverse reads, so when the opportunity came around to join the tour for The Grateful Boys I simply couldn’t pass it up. And one of the main reasons that I enjoy own voices reads so much is that they challenge the reader to take on a perspective so vastly different than their own – and putting myself in the mindset of two teens in a racially divided southern town certainly did the trick. It took a few chapters to get into the dialects and perspectives perspective presented by Mason, Hailey, and Antwan but once I did it was impossible to keep the pages from turning.
I loved how Mason’s gung-ho approach to discovering and destroying the vampires in Corpus balances out the romantic elements of Hailey’s involvement with Percy. And the dual perspective means that there is something relatable for everyone one who picks it up. I did, however, feel like some of the relations ships were a little on the simplistic side. But keeping in mind that this is a YA read and the age of these characters the naivety its which their infatuations are approached is entirely believable. And this is not to undermine the fact that some serious issues such as consent, rape culture, and bullying are all tackled in tasteful and poignant ways.
And can I just say how fun it was to read about a group of boys confident in their geek culture and independent interests in a town that is sole dedicated to football? I mean, if I’d had the chance to be part of a horror movie and video game club in middle and high school you can bet your butt that I would have been there. Plus, it provides the perfect opportunity to LOAD this book with pop culture and cult classic references. I think the only thing it was missing was a Buffy-style Giles (I mean, this librarian isn’t biased…).
I really enjoyed the parts where we got to see from the perspectives of Percy and Gregorious, and was left wishing for more passages from their POV as they really added tons of intrigue and tension to the plot. Antwan too, added a nice rounding-out to the experience in taking on the brunt of the racial divide in the town without it falling on to Hailey and Mason. It was nice to see the difficulties of being an elected official so explicitly detailed in a book aimed at teens, as the popular vote and public perception is something we spend so much time telling kids that it doesn’t matter.
Altogether The Grateful Boys is a fun twist on paranormal YA and a smashing start to a series with tons of interesting avenues to explore. Whether you’re looking for a little vampire romance, or on the hunt to chase the evil out of town, DuMaurier has it in abundance. Just in time for halloween it’s time to get all Lost Boys and tackle vampires anew.
About the Author
Françoise DuMaurier is a Special Education Case Worker who works out of a small town in rural Georgia which inspired the Southern Gothic setting of The Grateful Boys. To get to work, DuMaurier passes through miles and miles of farms, as far as the eye can see. Before entering education, DuMaurier attended the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design where he studied visual art and creative writing. Having worked with an array of students along with his own experiences, DuMaurier is uniquely suited to provide a wry voice that encapsulates #ownvoices fiction.
Many thanks to Faye Rogers at Authoright for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.