Libba Bray’s sprawling new young adult novel, The Diviners, chronicles 1920s New York City, and all the wonderful elements of life during the Jazz Age. At its center, the first-in-series novel is the story of Evangeline “Evie” O’Neill, a 17-year-old Ohio girl who’s sent away to live with her uncle in New York City. Evie’s story is overlaid with dozens of other characters that combine to create a monumental, 567-page tapestry of life in the Roaring 20s: Immigration, Prohibition, fashion, the explosion of jazz, the birth of modern womanhood, the emergence of motion pictures and the lingering effects of World War I. That, plus monsters.

In our second Bibliostar.TV interveiw, self-described “research nerd” Bray described how learning and understanding the history of the era was part of the fun of The Diviners:

“We often think that research is this sort of tedious laborious process and it certainly is time consuming, but it’s actually really liberating, because the more you know, the more that opens up opportunities that you might never have seen before…

And then there’s what I call the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon of research” where one little thing makes me go ‘Ooh, X makes me want to know about Y.’ Then I scurry over here and find out about Y, and then I’ll say, ‘Ooh, shiny thing over here!’ So it’s like building a web.”

Thankfully, there will be plenty of opportunities to put that research to use. The Diviners is the first of an expected four book series, and Paramount recently announced it is currently planning a film franchise for the Diviners books.
 

Libba Bray on The Diviners and YA Authors’ Responsibility To Readers

 

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