Review: All Our Hidden Gifts* | Caroline O'Donoghue

All Our Hidden Gifts | Caroline O'Donoghue
Published: 1st July 2021 by Walker Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I read this gem of a YA debut release as part of the Tandem Collective read along for the release of this book and the second in the series All The Gifts That Bind Us and I'm so glad it pushed me to pick it up. It's such a well written book that's full of magic and coming of age discoveries.

Maeve Chambers doesn't have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she's found her gift at last. Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn't be there. And two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears.

Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily's brother Roe find her? And will their special talents be enough to bring Lily back, before she's gone for good?

This book feels like it's come at a perfect time given how popular crystals and the magical arts are. With the resurgence showing all over social media and providing a focus and outlet for many young people. What lovely about this book is how author Caroline O'Donoghue writes about it really respectfully as well as bringing to light the history and importance of these traditions. I think it really shines a light on how helpful they can be for young people to feel strong and empowered.

Despite this being a story about magic, what really drew me into it was O'Donoghue's wonderful portrayal of teens, with Maeve, Fiona, Roe and Lily all feeling honest and alive. They not only have a great chemistry with one another but are so diverse in their passions and personalities, they feel truly representative of the world we live in today and the friendship groups which exist. Nothing about it feels like a box ticking exercise, it's natural and genuine. I also love that each character feels incredibly important. Although Maeve is technically the lead, all the characters are very well developed, with their issues and lives brought to the forefront for moments to really let them shine.

The narrative itself is engaging, with the mystery of Lily's disappearance and Maeve's discovery of her powers and the social issues addressed make it more than just a fluffy, quick read. It discusses Ireland's social history and raises important conversations such as LGBTQ+ rights, gender politics and ingrained familial pressures.

All Our Hidden Gifts is a brilliant YA novel that I'd highly recommend reading and am sure the rest of the series will be just a good.

*I received this book for review purposes but all views and opinions are my own