Book Review: Mayhem by Estelle Laure [INT Blog Tour]




The Lost Boys meets Wilder Girls in this supernatural feminist YA novel.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self.

There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.


Disclaimer: This review is not sponsored. I am part of the International Blog Tour for this book and I was given an e-ARC of the book by the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review.

CW: Suicide, Domestic and Emotional Abuse, Sexual Assault, Drug Use, Kidnapping

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew that I had to hit that request button right away. Mayhem was definitely a tough read, but an important one. So when I read the Author’s note at the first few pages of the book, I know that the story will keep me awake. I included the Author’s note at the end of this blog post, so feel free to check it out.

Powerful, dark and magical. That’s how I would describe this book. Let me give you three reasons why Mayhem should be in your TBR list. How the story of the Brayburn women lit the way and how magic allowed them to find strength in their weakness.

1.) It talks about real-life issues

I always find it brave if an author decides to write a book about sensitive, real-life issues that aims to raise awareness and find comfort in the hands of the readers. Laure doesn’t only give us a glimpse of how violence and assault looks like, she also gives us a slice of reality by showing the trauma it leaves to the victims. Sometimes it feels like there’s no way out, but this book tells us otherwise. I know it writing this book was hard, but I truly applaud Laure for bringing the Brayburn women to life.

2.) Magic and destiny

Magic runs in the blood of Brayburn women, and Mayhem’s arc revolves around discovering what she’s made of, what she could do and who she could be. I love me a good discovering-my-purpose trope and I’m thrilled this book was infused with it. I understand that the main theme of the book was not magic, and maybe that’s why I wished there was more of it, but I really think seeing more of it would anchor the plot more. In the end, I still enjoyed how badass Mayhem is!

3.) It did not shy away from including flawed family dynamics

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. I like it when a book shows an imperfect family because that makes it more realistic. The mother-daughter relationship as well the sibling bond it this book is flawed, but they still loved each other and willing to protect the people that they love. Flawed, but still flawless.

Overall, Mayhem was a good read! Though I didn’t connect with some parts, I truly understand the purpose why this book came into life and believe me when I say that I received the message. I truly hope that this book will give comfort to people who relate the most to the Brayburn women. This book is power, and this is for you. You are invincible. You are magic.

Thank you to Wednesday Books for giving me an early copy of the book. Huge shout out to Sarah Bonamino and the rest of the St. Martin’s Publishing Group team for including me in this blog tour!

Mayhem by Estelle Laure will hit the shelves on July 14th, worldwide! Please don’t forget to add it on Goodreads and pre-order your books from the links below:



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Mayhem_blogtourbanner_coming soon


Dear Reader,

Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the
night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being
hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.

– Estelle Laure

AP Estelle Laure_Credit Zoe ZimmermanTHE AUTHOR

Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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