“All Our Hidden Gifts” is Supernatural, Queer, and What You Need to Be Reading This Month
By Rashauna Herm
Irish high schooler Maeve Chambers loves attention and drama! When she finds a mysterious deck of tarot cards during one of her in-school suspensions, she swiftly becomes obsessed with the latest craze. Maeve revels in her peers at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school seeking her out, all of them clamoring for her to read their scarily accurate fortune. Her ex-best friend, Lily O’Callaghan — whom Maeve just so happened to publicly betray the year prior — is coerced into sitting for a reading. Lily pulls an unsettling card called “The Housekeeper,” which shouldn’t be in the deck at all. Two days later, after the awkward card reading, Maeve learns that Lily has disappeared without a trace, and is shunned by her classmates over the entire situation. Wracked by guilt, as well as trying to preserve her fledgling romance with Lily’s genderfluid brother Rory, Maeve must use her connection to the Tarot cards as well as the hidden magic within herself to bring her former friend home safe.
Caroline O’Donoghue’s “All Our Hidden Gifts” is a mystical gem of a book that will keep you captivated until the very end. This witchy masterpiece is not to be missed — a layered mystery that weaves an engaging tale of Irish teens dealing with: the evolving — sometimes volatile — political climate of their country, school and puberty, all on top of a mystical disappearance. There are some interesting dynamics within the small Irish town where Maeve resides, as the Catholic church that once dominated daily life has loosened its grip on the community, and new freedoms are starting to appear, such as Rory exploring their gender fluidity, with Maeve and Rory both learning what it means to be in a relationship with someone who is gender fluid — I think that O’Donoghue explores this idea well.
There’s love in my heart for all of the characters, but I adore Maeve. At the center of this story is a young female friendship between Lily and Maeve that has soured. I related to her and the guilt she carries over the end of her friendship the most. There were times as a teenager when I felt like something was wrong with me, because I didn’t know what to do with the bitter feelings that I was dealing with. Sometimes I would snap at friends or teachers without meaning to, because I was overflowing with so many emotions. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own head and think that you are the only one figuring stuff out. Being able to reflect on your emotions and realize that you might be in the wrong is tough, even for adults, and I don’t think we’re honest enough about it. It’s so easy to be crabby or uninviting to people at 16 or 17, when you don’t understand the weight that your words have. Learning how to be a functioning human being comes with so many nuances!
The stunning cover of this book is what drew me in, but its pages hold an alluring story, and the diverse characters kept me glued to each page. Speaking of the art, Stefanie Caponi’s illustrations found throughout the book are magical. They are incredibly helpful as well — if you’re like me and don’t know much about tarot cards, having a visual of the specific cards that are mentioned in the chapters is aces (get it — like ace of wands, haha!). The cover alone will make sure that this book (and the other two books in the ‘Gifts’ series) is always front facing on display. The third and final book of this trilogy comes out May 9th, so clear some space on those shelves and start practicing your divination skills!
About the Author
Rashauna Herm (she/her) is a lifelong resident of Denver, Colorado and is a proud Black Queer. She is passionate about equality, Disco music, quoting ancient memes and petting cats. You can follow Rashauna on Twitter at @sk8tergrrrl666 or — if you’re lucky — you can catch her whipping around town on her roller skates!