{Review/Giveaway} VIOLET GRENADE by Victoria Scott

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:



I snatch the wig off my head and toss it toward Greg. He catches it like a fly ball, his eyes never leaving my face. Leaning over in the chair, I dig through the pile of wigs he's brought me.



My fingers land on hot pink tresses that fall in long, sexy waves. Bingo, my friend, bingo. I slide the wig over my head, pull the straps until it's snug, and flip my head up like I'm a starlet in a soft-core porn. "Well?"

(Page 1, US Hardcover Edition)

    "But there's more than meets the proverbial eye here. There's something else that he doesn't know about. That no one knows about. There's a darkness living inside me. A blackness that sleeps in my belly like a coiled snake.

His name is Wilson." 


Buckle up booklovers, because the book I'm talking about today is a fast paced, quirky, and undeniably unique ride. I've been waiting with bated breath for VIOLET GRENADE by Victoria Scott to come out so that I could release the well of rambling feelings I was left with after finishing my arc. There are not a lot of authors out there who can make their moments of internal dialogue feel as adrenaline inducing as moments of physical action, but Scott makes it an art form. I found myself not wanting to take breaks from the storyline, feeling like the entire book from start to finish was one singular held breath of anticipation. It could be because the setting for the story is vibrantly gritty, but personally I think it's because our main character Domino is just that amazing and traveling through the plot in her head gives us an instant and lingering feeling that we're in an action-movie.

But before I get to pretty much writing a love letter to the characters in this book, let me highlight the plot for you. Everyone in this story is a runaway of some kind; running from physical acts they can't take back, or mental demons, or the pain of a past where they were abandoned and unloved. From the very first page you can tell that you are going to be skirting through the shadows and the dark places of the world. Domino Ray is found in an alleyway, at just the right time, in just the right mindset of despair, by a mysterious woman named Madame Karina. Offered a position in a home for girls, Domino accepts even though she understands immediately that it's not going to be the kind of home where you get hugs and a puppy at Christmas. She's not really prepared for how bad it is, however, and when backtracking proves to be harder than anticipated, Domino has to find a way to play the game well enough to get out. All the while she's harboring a secret that colors her every movement and her every thought.

The themes that are handled in this plot are ASTOUNDING, I mean I was floored by how many heavy topics Scott weaves into the storyline. Themes of human trafficking, runaway/homelessness are expected, and they are handled in a way that isn't too graphic but still makes you take the time to think about something that is an issue even in today's society. Also a relevant issue is that of bullying, and there are all kinds of bullies in this story; the ones that are bluntly hateful and cruel, the ones that are deceptive and turn torture into an art form, the ones with great acting skills that give you hope before they knock you down. In the book bullying can come from a protective and competitive need to stake a claim on territory, and it also comes from having a false idea that you can control people around you and distract yourself from your broken pieces by making others miserable too. This story deals with the theme of secrets, how keeping something dark to yourself can rot you from the inside out and how the moment of choosing to trust another person with that secret can change you in more ways than you anticipated. It covers PTSD and the ways that a traumatic experience can shape people, change their minds and their chemistry. Scott covers all of this and more in a way that is cohesive and not at all overwhelming. Themes bleed into each other naturally and the reader isn't left feeling like they're drowning in the darkness. I think that's due to the fact that as we ride around in Domino's head her sarcasm and her worldview makes us laugh at times, and at others her thought process is so engaging that you forget what she's fighting against and you just know that you want her to WIN. 

Now let's talk about the characters, because I may have fallen desperately in love with every single one of them. Domino Ray is . . . an amazing mixture of frail/broken and strong/badass and I cannot imagine following this story in any other character's head. All the ins and outs, the good and the bad of her character are explored in equal measure. She can be so loving, and in turn she can be blindingly angry and shakily terrified of herself and the world around her. Domino felt so real to me, and she's the factor of this story that gives it the strangest high fantasy atmosphere even though the story itself is a contemporary work. Madame Karina, her coherts and the other girls at the home made me sick to my stomach in some moments, and at others they just made me terribly sad because every character in this story is broken in some way. Then there's Poppy who is just . . . she's probably the most innocent character in the book and when you the reader join Domino in feeling very protective over her it's almost like the protectiveness is for everyone in the world. Protecting Poppy somehow makes you feel like you're protecting the small smidge of innocence that might cling to the other wall of Domino's heart, and then that feeling expands to yourself and people that you know like we're all linked in the ink on the pages. Cain is broken in different ways than Domino, but they find a kindredship in each other and I have to wonder how the story might have played out if Domino had never met him, because he centers her in a way that no one else can. Except maybe Wilson. I really really can't talk to you guys too much about Wilson because I will start to ramble and say too much. BUT OH MY GOD I FIND HIM BOTH TERRIFYING AND AMAZING and he evoked in me the strangest combination of pride and sorrow. Wilson is just, yeah, you have to meet him for yourself and you will not be the same afterwards.

As you can see I've got a lot of emotions about VIOLET GRENADE. It's unlike anything I've read before, and yet there's something that feels familiar about it, like it was a book whose reflection I saw in other stories but nobody was able to fully capture every theme and moment of goosebump inducing imagery like Victoria Scott. My notebook is full of free association all cap statements like THIS WHOLE PARAGRAPH NEEDS TO BE STAMPED ON A PIECE OF PAPER AND HUNG ON MY WALL, or REMEMBER TO FREAK OUT ABOUT THIS WITH INSANE DETAIL LATER. I find myself wanting to talk about it and its themes all the time, I see it being a story that could evoke so much conversation in schools, it is a story that  you don't just read . . . you experience it.

So if you like a gritty, beautiful, sad and powerful psychological thriller that somehow reads like a fantasy and leaves you breathless . . . this book was made for you. And if in the past you think you've disliked psychological thrillers or contemporary works, I urge you to give this one a try because I really think it'll be an exception.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 (Kissing, insinuations of more graphic sex, two scenes featuring an attempt at non consensual sex.)
Language: PG13 ( A couple instances of light curses like "crap".)
Violence: PG13 (.There are moments of fighting, flashbacks that handle more graphic violence like murder, but they don't get into too much detail.)
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

THIS COVER, YOU GUYS. The metaphor of a grenade is seen throughout the book, so it's only fitting it should grace the cover, but my god the violets are stunning. Even the black/violet background behind it is gorgeous while also being gritty and giving you this sense of impending danger. Not to mention the fact that the cover sort of graces the inside of the book too, you'll notice that there's an illustration of the violet grenade in all the new chapter headings. This little detail just seems to tie the cover into every single page you read and give it a lasting impression.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Victoria Scott
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Received: For Review

DOMINO: A runaway with blood on her hands.

CAIN: A silent boy about to explode.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn't long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam's approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam's secrets, Domino decides to leave. It'll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn't like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn't know about the person living inside Domino's mind.

Madam Karina doesn't know about Wilson.


Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight books for young adults. Her novels are sold in fourteen different countries, and she loves receiving fan mail from across the world. Victoria loves high fashion, big cities, and pink cotton candy. You can find her online at VictoriaScott.com.


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