Book reviews

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval is the first book in a trilogy written by Stephanie Garber


Scarlett and her sister Tella have grown up hearing their grandmother tell them stories of Caraval, a magical performance that only occurs once a year and never in the same place twice. Caraval is hosted by the mysterious Legend, a man, who stories claim is immortal and can perform magic. Scarlet has been writing letters to Legend since she was a child, but it’s not until a week before her wedding that she gets a reply offering her 3 tickets to Caraval.

Scarlett, reluctantly, embarks on an adventure to Caraval, but gets swept away by the magic of the game. She has to figure out what is real and what is just pretend, as the prize for winning the game just might be her sisters life.

Caraval is a “Alice in Wonderland” retelling that is fun and full of magic. I definitely got as swept up as Scarlet did and never could seem to tell what was real and what was not real.

Scarlett’s relationship with her sister Tella, is a strong selling point in this book. It’s nice to see sisterly love outshine romantic love in a YA novel and while this book has both, Scarlett’s love for Tella is a major theme of the novel.

This book really spoke to me, as Scarlett tends to be very responsible and also very indecisive, both of which I tend to be. All throughout the game she has a hard time learning to take risks and to trust her own decisions. I also have trouble with that, so I really understood the struggle that Scarlett had to go through.

Recommended for

YA readers of all ages. No adult sexual content.

Especially recommended for fans of Fantasy, magic and “Alice in Wonderland”

Contraindications/ Cautions

Physical and Emotional abuse by a parental figure- this happens early on the story but is also a recurring theme, so be cautious if this is triggering for you!

Scene with threatened Sexual assault- the scene is short and the event does not happen, but if you want a page number I would be happy to get it for you!

Side effects

Anxiety- I was so anxious for Scarlett I swear my heart was racing for this entire book

Insomnia- I could not put it down so I had a hard time getting to sleep!

Final Thoughts

This is a great read! I brought it and the sequel to read on an airplane and it was definitely a good choice because it held my attention for the whole flight!

It’s full of color and magic and a dash of madness. Add in the wonderful sister friendship and the sizzling love interest and this book is a winner! I highly recommend it!

Buy on Amazon

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Check out my other Book Reviews here!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber”

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