To Best the Boys
Age Range: 14 and up
In Rhen Tellur's fantasy world, there are the extremely rich and the poor with nothing in between, but once a year, they become equal as they enter a test that could change their lives forever or not. Every year for the past 54 years, all eligible boys, rich and poor, join together to take the mysterious scholarship test to an elite University, but this test is like none other. When the boys enter the Labyrinth, some of them never return. As the next test comes up, Rhen could care less about it because her mother has a deadly virus that more and more people are dying from in the inferior part of the city every day. As an aspiring scientist, Rhen is doing everything she can to save her mom, but when things go from bad to worse, Rhen Decides that there's only one thing she can do. Rhen must enter the Labyrinth. Rhen dons a disguise with her cousin and enters the all-boys test hoping that she will win and stay alive.
To Best the Boys was a new and exciting book with a creative storyline. When I read the summary for the book, I was excited to start reading it, but when I did, I was sadly a tad disappointed. I was hoping most of the book would be about her time in the Labyrinth, but that didn't happen until halfway. Because of that, I felt the action was all compacted into the last half, and the first half was a bit boring with a lot of fluff. I pretty much like most of the characters, but I thought the book was a bit too feminist for my liking. Many of the boys in the book were jerks or weak, and the girls were strong and beautiful.
I enjoyed Rhen's cousin and that she was a strong feminine character, an actual feminist who wanted to get married and have lots of kids. I also liked Rhen and thought she was brave and devoted when she entered the Labyrinth to save her mom. Still, I didn't particularly appreciate that she felt that all women should try to go out and get educated and get a job instead of staying at home and raising kids. This book was a fantasy that I didn't really like, but that's because I'm not too fond of the genre of fantasy fiction. I thought most of the book was enjoyable and entertaining. Overall I felt To Best the Boys was a good novel.
Things To Mention: When Rhen is in the Labyrinth, some of the boys talked badly about girls in a way that was not altogether appropriate. One "shut-up". There is violence, including someone dying and people getting hurt, and there are some unimportant fantastical creatures, including serins and ghosts. Rhen thinks to herself that she has a flat chest. There are a few kisses with little detail.
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