Review: CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber

TITLE: Caraval
AUTHOR: Stephanie Garber
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
PUBLISHED: January 31st, 2017 by Flatiron Books
FIND ON: Amazon


(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.


What a great story! I thought that things would start off slow but the author didn’t waste much time setting up the story and sending us off on a wild ride. I found it interesting that if you read a book’s blurb (from the book cover or online) usually it doesn’t give much detail. It tells us that the sister is kidnapped. So I spent the first part of the book suspicious of anyone they were in contact with. Then when it happened I didn’t feel like the information was spoiled for me. I stepped into Scarlett’s shoes and felt her sisterly duty to find her. That made the “game” feel only secondary to saving her sister’s life. 

The book was a whirlwind of excitement and made me think about the puzzles. The formatting of the book was cool too because there were letters that appeared on fancy paper and fonts. It played into the setting really well.


I really enjoyed this story and it was worth every minute. I’ll give it a rating of 5 out of 5 because it snapped me out of my reality into an awesomely fantastical world. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot. The characters are unique and interesting. The setting is vibrant and exciting. Even the clothing was awesome!


I was worried there would be something inappropriate but it was all above board and perfectly appropriate for a preteen and teenage audience. There are a few deaths and violence but it’s not described in full detail. It would make an intense PG movie.