**This novel contains descriptions of magic, blood, gore, and violence. Rated for 14+**
Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone.
Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library’s grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon.
The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot’s face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her… and he’ll have her, dead or alive.
When I found this novel at my local library it sounded like an interesting premise. Haunted library, demonic possession, and chaos all around; sounds fun right? Well, I tend to be picky about my Young Adult fiction sometimes. When I read a novel, I am more of a ‘don’t beat around the bush and say what you want to say’ kind of person. This whole ‘oh he has to hate me for my simple mistake’ and ‘she doesn’t want me. She wants boy X,Y, or Z.” When they are both clearly into each other is annoying and aggravating. Maybe that’s just me getting old, or maybe I’m not much of a romantic.
This novel is Ms. Bovalino’s debut novel, and I have a difficult time just completely tearing down this book. It has it’s good qualities and it’s bad qualities. My complaints lay with things I consider to be a major factor in my enjoyment of reading. Those being character dialogue and character development.
Now, I can tell that she put a lot of love and care into Eliot. I clearly understood his motives and his backstory. Tess on the other hand, I never fully understood her motives, even though she kept repeating them at least once a chapter. Maybe Tess and I got off on the wrong foot in the beginning, and I’m blowing this out of proportion.
If you wanted peace, you wouldn’t wear the devil’s face.The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino
Tess’s reasons for going to this boarding school revolve around her parents being bad with money and making poor business decisions while the economy is struggling. She is giving up her dreams of going to her dream college just to make sure she can protect her little sister Natalie. I felt that not only keeping Natalie, who’s 13, in the dark about everything is naïve. I think a 13 year old has the capacity to understand that her parents made bad financial decisions. However, her older sister will still be there for her when she needs someone to talk to.
Tess throughout the story is so concerned about paying for this prep school, surely she would qualify for financial aid or scholarships because of her parents’ financial situation. If she discussed that I must’ve missed it because doing so would’ve helped ease the stress a bit.
Now with Eliot, his parents are wealthy enough he could’ve gone to any school he wanted. However, he goes to the one where his dad used to be on the school board, even though he is closer with his mother. He wants to learn more about the magic he shares with his mother, even though he is the reason he and Tess unleash a demon into the world he is still more than willing to help Tess destroy the book and the devil right along with it.
Overall, I thought this book was okay. The premise was promising, but the execution of the characters and their dynamics wasn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoy YA romance with their paranormal activity then I’d say give this book a shot. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean you shouldn’t borrow it from a friend or local library.