Posted February 26, 2019 by Vik Booklover in Blog Tours, Book Love, Giveaways, Home, Our Reviews, Release Blitz, Special Content & Excerpts, ❤ Reviews by Vik ♡ / 0 Comments


To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 19th 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult


The task is simple:

Don a disguise.

Survive the labyrinth.

Best the boys.

In a thrilling new fantasy from the bestselling author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, one girl makes a stand against society and enters a world made exclusively for boys.

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port have received a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see if their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone is ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.

Welcome to the labyrinth.


If you love your young adult fiction with a dash of depth and magic then look no further. Mary Weber wrote such an important story that deals with a lot of classism, sexism, and even ableism which is set in a young adult setting just when true identities are formed. In this story the society in this ‘light’ fantasy is not doing great especially for a brave girl who has dyslexia but hungry for scientific knowledge to stop a disease that is spreading throughout her small fishing village. 

Rhen Tellur is a force to be reckoned with and does everything to push the boundaries of what the society deems (in)appropriate for young ladies. With her Upper class cousin sidekick Seleni, they get into even more trouble by entering an only boys contest to win a prestigious scholarship to Stemwick University. A contest which reminded me a lot like the trials in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner Files series.

Of course no challenge is fully complete if heart and love is not on the line. Rhen is constantly on the precipice and one choice away between crossing into the Upper class or staying in Lower class. Struggle that is not exclusive to her but many of the young characters who are deciding what their true self is. Almost impossible to do for many as the decisions are already made by a few elite with little regard to the majority who do not fall into that category.

The story is given even more character as it includes some magic which is presented as a background for the story. All of it done in a manner that seems very casual with it’s scary monsters and magical creatures, as if it’s normal to get attacked by a ghoul while walking the street or be eaten by a basilisk. 

All of this and more make a compelling and relevant read even in this present time.

Favorite Quotes:

He pats my hand. “We want you to follow your dreams, not your guilt, Rhen.”

“But what if my dreams aren’t that simple?” I almost say. “Maybe that’s the problem.” What if my dreams aren’t just one thing, but instead they are everything?

‘You’re wearing pants.”

“So are you, thank Caldon.”

His lips twitches. “You Dress as a boy often?”

“No more than you.”

Whoever said the female is the weaker of a species never tested that theory against the draw of a woman’s love.


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Hi. I write books. I eat things. I kiss things. I believe in mermaids.

I’m also the author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series, and the March 2019 release, To Best the Boys. When not working, I sing 80’s hairband songs to my three muggle children, and ogle my husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. We live in California, which is perfect for stalking aging movie stars while wearing fanny packs and sweatpants.

For those who like to know such things (mainly my mom), Storm Siren was featured in the Scholastic Book Fair and my novels have been endorsed by such nice humans as Marissa Meyer, CJ Redwine, Shannon Messenger, and Jonathan Maberry (in fact, Marissa Meyer and I have a fun interview in the paperback of her book, CRESS). Also, Boba tea & sweatpants are life. {We can chat about life (in sweatpants over tea, obviously) in my Newsletter.

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