3 Stars, Harmony Ink Press, Reviewed by Jules, Young Adult, Zoe Lynne

Review: Carnival – Decatur by Zoe Lynne

Title: Carnival – Decatur

Author: Zoe Lynne

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

In a world of lights, music, fanfare and fun, there’s not a lot left to the mundane, and nothing can be truer for four special boys whose lives intertwine in a most unusual, unexpected way. They all have secrets and supernatural powers that set them apart from the average small town high-schooler.

Jessie’s world revolves around his family’s traveling carnival. Tate’s busy being the good son to Decatur, Alabama’s first black mayor. Rand knows everyone’s secrets. And Donny wants a family. When sexuality and special abilities become each boy’s focus, a whole new realm of possibilities opens up. With an uncertain road ahead of them, their talents to see the future, hear other people’s thoughts, and manipulate wills might help them change their destined courses and find the right path.

Four boys. Each with his own cross to bear. Just trying to grow up.


Review: Great cover. Intriguing blurb. Interesting premise. The makings of a really good, promising story. All of those things are true of Carnival by Zoe Lynne…but there were a few small pitfalls, as well.

The story is structured with multiple POVs, which I don’t have anything against if it’s done well, and in this book it is. The author makes it very clear when the changes occur, and I had no problem knowing whose voice we were hearing. However, I think a downfall of the switching was that there was some repetition when she circled back around from one character to another.

I enjoyed the characters themselves very much, and loved the idea of their ‘gifts’. Tate, the Mayor’s son, can affect situations and individual’s moods and feelings. Rand is Tate’s best friend – who we learn is in love with Tate – and can read minds. Jesse, the son of the carnival owner, can see the future. And Donny, who is new to the carnival, doesn’t seem to have a gift. I wanted to see even more about their abilities. I felt like Lynne could have gone into a bit more depth, but hopefully we’ll get more backstory in the next book! I also felt like they acted a bit OOC at times. Especially Rand and Tate. Rand pushes Tate toward Jesse, and starts up something with Donny, but almost immediately is freaking out about it all. Tate never really considers the possibility with Rand, but then is all about it and claims he was never that into Jesse. It seemed somewhat of a round-about way of getting everyone together.

Like I said, I totally dug the premise, and it’s hard to go wrong with a carnival setting, right? And, there was enough meat there to hold my interest for sure…it was just lacking that bit of ‘oomph’ it needed.

There were beautifully written moments like this one that perfectly showcased Donny’s struggle with his sexuality, and left me wanting more…

Swallowing hard, Donny looked up toward the sky, toward the heaven he’d always wanted to believe in, but couldn’t seem to find the strength to. The pure white clouds and ocean of blue had darkened into a vast backdrop for a million twinkling stars. He said a silent prayer. “God, if you’re out there, don’t abandon me. I know I haven’t faithfully believed, but I need you right now. I need to know that what I feel is okay.”

There needed to be more of those moments.

Big picture? While I did end up having mixed feelings about the book, overall I really did like the story and will absolutely read the next one if the author still intends to continue on with the series. I need to know what happens with Jesse and Donny! I feel like there is a lot she could do yet with these guys, and definitely hope to see more in this universe.

You can buy Carnival – Decatur here:


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