Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters

The Rise and Fall of the GallivantersAuthor: M. J. Beaufrand
Series: Standalone
Released: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Amulet
Length: 288 pages
Source: Publisher for review
        The Book Depository
In Portland in 1983, girls are disappearing. Noah, a teen punk with a dark past, becomes obsessed with finding out where they've gone—and he's convinced their disappearance has something to do with the creepy German owners of a local brewery, the PfefferBrau Haus. Noah worries about the missing girls as a way of avoiding the fact that something's seriously wrong with his best friend, Evan. Could it be the same dark force that's pulling them all down?
When the PfefferBrau Haus opens its doors for a battle of the bands, Noah pulls his band, the Gallivanters, back together in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. But there's a new addition to the band: an enigmatic David Bowie look-alike named Ziggy. And secrets other than where the bodies are buried will be revealed. From Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand, this is a story that gets to the heart of grief and loss while also being hilarious, fast paced, and heartbreaking.

Being a child of the 80’s, I get really nostalgic whenever I’m reminded of something from those years, be it the music, the fashion, or David Bowie’s weird personas. But with or without nostalgia, with or without understanding of the period, The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters is a truly magical book. Heartbreaking, overwhelming, deeply metaphorical and symbolic, painful, strange and so very honest, this sucker punch of a novel will stay with you for a very long time.

I’ve seen this book labeled as paranormal. It is not. I’ve seen it described as confusing and unexciting. It is not. Taking this book at face value is a grave mistake. It is, however, filled with symbolism, allegory and metaphors. This novel isn’t your average, everyday read. It’s something truly special, and as such, it will easily find the hearts of its true audience.

Beaufrand allows Noah to tell us his own story, but Noah’s mind is full of mysteries and monsters, missing girls and frightening fogs. He is more than happy to turn the spotlight on his best friend Evan, a modest, kind boy, a sidekick by nature if ever there was one. Noah and Evan have depended upon each other since they were just boys, and together they survived disasters, abuse, suicidal parents and hospitals. They made it thanks to each other and their music.

With tragedy behind him and tragedy on the horizon, Noah’s past and present painfully collide, and it’s far more than he can handle. In a desperate attempt to put his world to rights, he decides to re-form the Gallivanters, his failed punk band. The goal is to create a demo and enter a contest to play at a famous brewery, which happens to be the place where more than twenty girls disappeared.

Noah wants to be a musician and a knight, but even more, he wants Evan to be both. For a kid who is supposedly a self-centered troublemaker, he does very little for himself. Beaufrand delves deep into Noah's psyche by subtly showing us consequences of constant, horrible abuse, by giving us glimpses of a masochistic personality, and miraculously shaping it all into a character we can’t help but love. I am in awe.*

Be patient with this book. Be kind to it when it seems confusing and strange. Give it time, be tolerant, and the book will give back to you tenfold. This is quite easily my favorite book this year, a quiet sort of beauty that might, just might, go tragically unnoticed. Some of the best things are, though, and I’ll always feel extremely lucky to have stumbled upon this gem.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions exspressed in this review.

*Just writing this review, thinking intensely about the beauty of this book, made me cry like a baby.


  1. I hated the 80s, luckily I was too little to understand that the clothes sucked, ha

  2. I don't think I've ever read a book set during this period so I confess that it's something quite intriguing. It sounds really different and confusing and I wonder if I would be patient but at the same time it sounds really interesting. thanks for the discovery!

  3. Born in 198, the music of that decade continues to be favourites to listen to, time and again! The clothes were horrible, but the music, ah... the music!!
    This is a book I feel like I MUST add to my wish list for sure, to make sure I won't miss on reading it!
    Thank you for putting it on my radar Maja!

  4. Based on your review, I'm running out to buy this book. I haven't seen it around at all, but it sounds like a book that needs to be discovered by more people. Thanks for reviewing!

  5. AW!! I love when a book really strikes a chord. I fear I might be one of those poo-poohing it, as I tend to go for the exciting, witty dialogue, yet not super-deep books rather than the quiet, impactful ones.

  6. This line right here, sold me! "The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters is a truly magical book. Heartbreaking, overwhelming, deeply metaphorical and symbolic, painful, strange and so very honest, this sucker punch of a novel will stay with you for a very long time. "

    Wonderful review Maja! I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  7. I'm so glad this book resonated so well with you Maja! It's always the best feeling when I find a book like that, one I just want to hold tight to my chest and never let go unless it's to hand it off to someone and force them to read it in the hopes they'll love it as much as I do. Gorgeous review:)

  8. Oh, Maja! Don't you love it when they make you cry? I can't wait to get m hands on this... It seems I'm adding books every night now, based on your recommendations. Financial ruin is just around the corner! All joking aside, this sounds very special - thank you!

  9. Ahh... I want this now. I know you always pick such great five star reads and I am also a child of the 80s so I will love all the references. I am going to look this up right now.

  10. I love that it is different. It is difficult to have something so poetic but those are usually the hidden gems in the book world. I so need to try this one.

  11. I know you don't give 5 stars lightly, so this automatically piques my interest. I'm also a child (more like teenager, lol) of the 80s so I'm sure I'd appreciate the setting as well, but I'm probably more curious about the mystery portion of the story. Lovely review, Maja! :)

  12. I don't know about you, Maja, but this book is already calling and resonating with me! I love books that are full of symbolism and allegories (ala Gabriel Marquez - his One Hundred Years of Solitude really stuck with me!). That's the kind I enjoy reading a lot, even to the point that I usually read the words aloud so I can savor them even more. Thank you so much for reviewing and highlighting this on your blog! Adding it to my TBR now.

    Faye at The Social Potato

  13. Wow Maja..this is new to me and screams read me. I was a teen/adult and married in the 80'


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