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Show of feminism feat. The Hunger Games | Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Show of feminism feat. The Hunger Games | Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber


Show of feminism feat. The Hunger Games | Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber



Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that 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 are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into 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’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

Should You read To Best the Boys by Mary Weber ?

For the girl who’s been told to quiet down, calm down, sit down, or just leave it to the men-this is for you.

And to those who told you such things? Watch. Us. Rise.

I thought writing a bookstagaram caption was hard but then I met blog titles. I think the title is pretty appropriate for this book review I’m about to write.

To Best the Boys is the first Mary Weber book I read and I was pretty excited for it. However, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

I love the dedication quote(see above) and yes, I can say that this dedication does represent this book but it felt lacking somehow. The book starts off with a chapter dedicated to an Invitation. This invitation is to a deadly competition where the winner will win a full scholarship to study at any institution. Then, we meet Rhen, our protagonist, who is collecting samples from dead bodies to search for a cure to an illness that many including her mother suffer from. After “taking” the samples with the help of her friends Seleni and Beryll, Rhen runs straight into her crush with swoon-worthy lips namedLute.

Rhen’s conversation with Lute is cut short as she along with Seleni has to get ready for a party where we meet many characters- boys- who will eventually participate in the deadly “Hunger Games” style competition. Among those boys, there’s Vincent who’s wants to “court” Rhen and eventually marry her. Rhen, along with other girls, it seems have no other purposes other than to marry, cook, and do other “womanly” activities.

Yes, this is a sexist/misogynist world where woman don’t go to university. The people are also divided into two classes: Upper(Rich) and Lower(Poor) and Vincent, Seleni, Beryll are all Uppers while Lute and Rhen are lowers. Rhen is “allowed” into the Upper circles because her mother’s family is an Upper.

Back to the party where Rhen eavesdrops on a conversation where some boys discuss how to sabotage the deadly competition where one has to survive their journey through a labyrinth. Rhen is frustrated and upon reaching home and watching life seep out of her mother, she decides to take charge of her deciding to participate in the competion. Will Rhen survive the labyrinth ? If she survives and wins, will she be allowed to study at an university ? Can she make history ?

You take this world and make it what it should be. And don’t let the beliefs of a backward system define you. You are the one who has to live with the future, baby girl. So you live it. You understand?

Like I said before, I had hopes but they were squashed like a bug under my shoe. The premise was promising and the loved the “show but don’t tell” feminism in this story. I just couldn’t connect with Rhen, or Lute, Seleni or Beryll. There were times I wanted Rhen to speak up against some misogynistic comment but she didn’t. Even the “hunger games” style competition felt lacking its thrill somewhat. I don’t know what to tell you. There isn’t any lgbtq reprsentation or any poc but Lute’s brother is disabled and I loved their interaction.

Overall, I recommend this book if  you loved Mary Weber’s previous books, or are looking for a light read with quite feminism vibes, great interactions and unique curses(Yes, you read that correctly).

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


Author: Connect with Author Mary Weber here.

  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson(Harper Collins)
  • Publication Date: 19th March , 2019
  • Paperback: 303 Pages
Show of feminism feat. The Hunger Games | Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

Have you read To Best The Boys ? If you haven’t read it yet, then let me know if it is on your TBR. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Author: Book Rambler

Hi! I'm Shalini. I am an avid reader, daydreamer, future scientist. In order to ramble about books with you, I created this blog. You can find me here and on any of my social media channels.

One thought on “Show of feminism feat. The Hunger Games | Review: To Best the Boys by Mary Weber”

  1. I really loved how much more there was in this story than was alluded to in the synopsis… the STEM inspiration, how disease is neglected within the lower classes etc. I have heard that many couldn’t connect with some of the characters. I might be in the minority as one who did not have that problem.

    Liked by 1 person

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