After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return. Adele wants nothing more than to resume her normal life, but with the silent city resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.
Strange events—even for New Orleans—lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years. The chaos she accidentally unleashes threatens not only her but also everyone she knows.
Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, Adele must untangle a web of magic that weaves the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has secrets and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless…you’re immortal.
Revised edition: This edition of The Casquette Girls includes editorial revisions.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
[NOTE: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.] I’m not sure exactly how to rate this novel: I really liked the setting (New Orleans), but some of the characters’ features sometimes made me roll my eyes. To be fair, this may be in part due to my own jaded views on similar works: I’ve probably read one too many YA paranormal romance stories, so the usual love triangle and annoying guy attitudes has become old for me. I regret not liking this book more, at any rate. The setting was definitely enchanting, in a sort of twisted way—twisted because this New Orleans is one slowly getting back on its feet after one of the most devastating hurricanes it’s ever seen (possibly Katrina, or at the least inspired by it). Infrastructures are in shambles, crime’s on the rise, there’s a curfew the police can barely enforce… And while I have no idea if this is an accurate depiction of a post-hurricane city, whether it would’ve been thus left to fend for itself by the government, I still liked that NOLA, for its blend of “post-ap” and people trying to go back to, and go on with, their lives there, keep smiling, keep the businesses running, and so on. Somehow, I could understand Adele’s desire to stay there, and not be shipped off to Paris or somewhere else, all the more since it’d mean being in a boarding school and not with her family. It was still magic. I also liked the parts about Adeline: a bit awkward in the way it was introduced, maybe (a journal), but her journey, the people she met, the stifling stay in a ship for weeks, knowing a threat was lurking and nobody could just walk away to escape it, those were interesting. On the downside, the novel relies on quite a few YA tropes that I couldn’t care less about—love triangles, good boy vs. bad boy love interest, female characters being talked about as if they weren’t there and generally being a bit… passive, Queen Bee and Mean Girls at school, and so on. Granted, Adele was not passive for the whole story so I won’t fault her too much for that, and the school part wasn’t the main part; it just felt like the “mandatory YA dynamics being inserted here”, when the actual plot itself could’ve done without that. Mysterious murders, predators waking up, Adeline’s story shedding light on what happened and hinting at what to be done: all those would’ve been fine, no need for a romance subplot (which didn’t have anything special going for it), that slowed down the pace to a crawl in places: I could do with the “slower” chapters used to describe the city and its atmosphere, I could do less with lulls caused by romantic scenes. Some of the descriptions (told in 1st person) were a bit odd, too—on the purple prose side, and not very believable coming from a 16-year-old girl. I found this happened mostly in the beginning (darkness being described as “the obsidian”, or “espresso-coloured hair”?), and less afterwards. I’m not sure either about the French words and sentences used here and there; some were alright, others sounded grammatically weird. No idea if this is how people in New Orleans do speak, but as a native French reader, it’s strange. [Rest of review here: http://ylogs.com/archives/review-the-casquette-girls ]
My full review will not fit here. What will fit is below. If you're interested in reading more please see the blog post here: https://acciobooksreviewss.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/the-casquette-girls-by-alys-arden-review/ This book is a wopping 560 pages. I alternated between listing to it on audiobook and reading my physical edition. The writing was easy to read; not too flowery, but not too plain either. My favorite thing about the prose was the choice to include bits of history and traditions of New Orleans into the story, it made the story feel more authentic. I feel like this probably really helped readers not from or around the New Orleans area get a better understanding of the city. Something that I did want to mention is that there is a lot of french throughout the book. I think that could make it a little more challenging for some readers. Though, the bits of french didn’t seem to be vital to the story, they were more of a character trait. One of the things that impacted me the most was at the very beginning of the novel when Adele and her father are traveling through Mississippi back to Louisiana. I’ve been through a lot of hurricane’s in my lifetime, and that includes Katrina. (I know most people have heard of that storm.) The description of the destruction that hurricane’s cause is described perfectly. For me though, I think it was a little more chilling to think about what it might look like because I have seen the devastation fist hand. I don’t have to imagine, the images come from my memories. From what I can tell this plot is meant to be a mystery. It was pretty refreshing. It’s nothing new(as far as a mystery being part of a paranormal themed novel), but something about how it was done really appealed to me. I would classify this book as paranormal romance. The paranormal aspects of this novel were interlaced with the normal world. So in modern day New Orleans we have magic, witches, and vampires. The paranormal aspects in this book fit the setting perfectly. It doesn’t seem forced at all because of all the legends about witches, ghosts, vampires, and so on that we grow up with in Louisiana (A few of them are even mentioned in this novel). Let me just say, there are a lot of myth’s and legends in Louisiana. The romance was not the main focus of the novel which I really appreciated. All too often I see the romances in YA given the drivers seat and the main plot rides shotgun. I think the two were woven together quiet nicely. However, I am not a big fan of the whole love triangle trope that was present in this novel. I ended up liking both love interests as characters though, in spite or my grudge against love triangles. (Which is obviously a personal hang up.) CHARACTERS I want to start off by giving Alys Arden a round of applause. I had no trouble at all telling the characters apart. They all had their own unique voice and they also had their own internal struggles which made them very rounded characters. Adele: I originally thought Adele was going to become a very needy damsel in distress character. I was pleasantly surprised with her. She turned out to be a very self reliant character. Desiree: I originally disliked Desiree, but she ended up becoming a really great character. At first she came off as rude and stuck up, but as the story went on she became more down to Earth with a hint of sass.
The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden is a true work of art. It is set in post-storm New Orleans (Arden does not name this storm, so I deduce that it is based on Katrina but is a fictional storm) and the main character is a young lady named Adele. This book had two arcs actually, one in present day New Orleans, and the other in the past following a group of young girls making the Atlantic crossing a few hundred years ago. All the characters are very well written. Adele, specifically, is such a real character, the emotions and the thoughts that Arden gives her are so believable and convincing that it is not at all difficult to put yourself in her shoes. There is a lot of diversity too, many of the main characters are people of color, and as a Native American it was really nice to see a character who quite possibly could have been from my tribe actually play an important part in the goings-on of the plot. (I am Muscogee and pre-colonization there were tons of Creeks in the south). The atmosphere is breathtaking. I was actually in New Orleans for New Years a few weeks ago and purchased a signed copy of this book from Boutique du Vampyre (GREAT shop!) and I read it about a week after I got home. I immediately had the most intense longing to return to the city. The book is so descriptive and immersive. You feel like you are really there in NOLA. The sights, sounds, smells, it is all so vivid. It was also super cool to know exactly where and what she was talking about when she mentioned landmarks like Jackson Square, Café Du Monde, St. Ursaline’s Convent and the LaLaurie Mansion. At one point one of the characters, Ren, leads a ghost tour, and I actually got to go on one of those! It was such a treat to relive and revisit the city through Adele’s eyes. This story is about vampires and witches, so if that is your cup of tea, this book is right up your alley! There’s a lot of history in this book, but I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything! I loved this book and could not put it down, if you like magic, witches, vampires, history, fantasy, New Orleans, voodoo, art, fashion, murder, romance, mystery, comedy or horror-then this book is a must read! It’s SO good! Alys Arden is a wizard. This book has become one of my prized possessions and I have recommended it to all of my friends, because I just love it that much! It's exciting, sexy, cute, funny, scary, intense, immersive and downright awesome. It has a little something for everyone and it is written SO well, almost like a poem.