The Artisans by Julie Reece is “Beauty and the Beast” meets Southern Gothic Horror. It tells the story of a seventeen year old girl named Raven who will do anything to help her stepfather Ben receive treatment for his alcoholism–even if it means moving into nineteen-year-old Gideon Maddox’s mansion. On the surface Gideon is after Raven’s exceptional talent as a fashion designer, but in the darkness of night the Maddox mansion proves to be haunted in more ways than one. Can anyone say cockroaches and snakes?
I found The Artisans to be a creepy read that I think teenagers would adore. Near the three-quarter mark my reading was interrupted my life duties, and it was really painful not to be able to rush forward to the end. I really wanted to find out what happened. When I was able to read again, the ending did not disappoint.
One thing that especially moved me was the author bio at the end where Julie shares what it was like to overcome multiple learning disabilities including dyslexia. I’ve heard researchers estimate that as many as 15% of all people have dyslexia and yet it continues to be so difficult for children with dyslexia to be identified and receive help. I think if you were a teenager with dyslexia or a parent of a child with dyslexia, you’d find Julie Reece to be an inspiration. You’d read her book and think, “Wow. Anything is possible.” Maybe you’d wonder if the reason her imagination is so big, and her words are so beautiful is because her brain learned early on to grow in different directions. Perhaps Julie’s dyslexia made her an even better writer.
I can’t wait to read what Julie Reece writes next.