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ARC Review: Not Good for Maidens

Genre: YA Horror/Fantasy Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino was off-the-scales impressive! I have not read The Devil Makes Three, so I was certainly blown away by the talent and skill Bovalino showed throughout the entirety of Not Good for Maidens!

This wonderful novel switches between two POVs; May who had a traumatic experience at the goblin market 18 years ago, and her niece, Lou, who grew up ignorant of the market’s existence. When May’s younger sister and Lou’s aunt, Neela, gets stuck in the goblin market, Lou is exposed to an entirely new, and dangerous world.

By far the best thing about this book is its immersiveness! From the first chapter to the last page I felt like I was part of the story and couldn’t wait to read what would happen next. I would frequently lose track of time while reading, and I definitely felt like the book was over too quickly. While I believe Not Good for Maidens is a standalone, the ending leaves a good opening for a sequel, so I will hold out hope that Bovalino might write one some day!

Similarly, the world-building was absolutely wonderful! While the novel takes place in our world, Bovalino creates an entirely new world within the goblin market. She describes it so vividly, and it added a lot of depth to the novel as a whole.

Finally, the representation in Not Good for Maidens is phenomenal! The main character, Lou, is ace, which was extremely exciting to read since I am also ace! On top of that, Lou’s Aunt May is bi and her Aunt Neela is pan. While the characters’ sexual identities are not a huge focus of the book, I sincerely believe we need more books that include this kind of representation without necessarily focusing on it. Regardless, I was elated to read a book with an ace character, and I related to a lot of what Lou experienced, which truly means a lot to me as both a reader and an ace person!

I could go on about this book for hours, but I will leave you to discover its amazingness on your own!

Published by thebiasedbibliophile

I am a freelance editor and book-reviewer with a love for YA fantasy and science fiction. I have a passion for books that highlight underrepresented groups. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, I received a BA in philosophy in 2020 and enjoy reading philosophical texts in my free time.

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