I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.
This book has been getting a bit of hype recently as people start to review it in time for it's publishing date and I can honestly say that it really deserves it. The Casquette Girls seems to have pretty much everything you want in a book - sense of place, atmosphere, friendship, magic, supernatural and history.
Adele is returning to New Orleans a few short months after the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Adele and her father have no idea what or who they will be returning to and all they do know is that the city is home and it needs them to bring it back to life. But Adele has more to worry about than fixing up the neighborhood when she appears to develop magic powers, plus dead bodies sucked dry of blood are showing up around the French Quarter. With the help of an ancestor's secret diary, Adele must combat an ancient curse and create a secret witchy coven along the way.
One of the best bits in this book is the sense of place and the atmosphere that is described around the areas of New Orleans and specifically the French Quarter where Adele goes. It's so natural for her to have friends who dress as vampires, scientists for café workers, tour guides dressed like romance novel covers and much more and I loved it. Adele is a very likeable character, she takes the devastation of her home and her favourite places so bravely and really strives to carry on with school and work when it would be easy to crawl into a ball. She is also very accepting of her magic and isn't one of these people that keeps refusing it exists. I loved Adele's relationship with everyone in the book and there's a deep sense of Adele's belonging in the place. The way she knows and communicates to everyone and how they respond to her really brings to mind the fact she grew up in the cafes and bars of the French Quarter (in a good way mind you!)
There were so many diverse characters from Africa-America, Creole, French, Italian not to mention personalities. The hot and cold Niccolo, the exuberant but deadly Gabe (who I couldn't help but really like), mysterious Emilio, the absent mother, the caring father (who reminded me of Lance in Arrow), and the unlikely best friends Desiree and Isaac.
I found myself really enjoying the book and its pace which took a while to build up naturally because of the focus on the effects of the storm. I loved the dip into the history of the place now and again plus Adeline's diary to her father and her details of what had happened with her spell. I would have liked much more about Adeline and what happened to her (why did Isaac keep having dreams about Adeline and fire for instance, was it just the magic thing?) and who the hell her dad was. I felt like i was still grasping for some additional information by the end of the book about Adeline, her father, Isaac and Desiree's sides of the story which was skipped over plus Niccolo's decision at the end. I would love to have been in his mind for a while (NOVELLA PLEASE!). Hopefully some of the questions I have been left with will be answered in the next book.
I recommend anyone looking for a bit of magic to wrap themselves in to pick up this book. I don't think it will disappoint. I'm so looking forward to the next book in the series.