Book Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from New Orleans, but the flood waters recede, and the body count continues to rise. Someone or something is draining life from its residents. Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

Release Date: October 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased: $0.99 Kindle Deal

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." 
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Let me be perfectly honest, I bought this book because it was 99 cents, came up on our Facebook news feed and was based in New Orleans during The Hurricane. Other than that, I knew nothing about the author or the series, it was a total wild card! And if you follow this blog you know that I typically don't do wild cards or anything below a 4 star (#booksnob, I HATE disappointment). I went into the story a bit of a skeptic because I lived through the evacuation and aid relief of Hurricane Katrina and have my own tales from Hurricanes Rita and Ike. And I thought, huh, lets see if these characters know how it feels to be hot, sticky and displaced after a natural disaster. How will they act?

I was BLOWN AWAY! Alys Arden has got it going on from so many different angels! The Casquette Girls has both modern day and historical fiction, paranormal romance, a love triangle (more on that later) and drumm rooooollllll... I never guessed what was coming next! There is no formula (*cough*, #nicholassparks). 

As for the theme of life after a devastating hurricane, Arden brought all my emotions flooding back! I was hopeful, sad, angry and relieved all in one book. The way she describes Adele's feeling about being displaced and the horror of returning home and actually seeing the destruction was perfect. I wanted to get out my daughter and son's baby journals and re-read my entries of how I felt displaced, pregnant and separated from my husband. 

I loved all the rich history of New Orleans that Arden brought to life. I felt like I was there after a massive storm and then at times I felt like I had traveled back to the 1700's as Adele translates a journal from her family's history. It was so fun to think of both the sacrifices and new-found freedoms that people received by coming to this French colony, La Nouvelle-Orléans. There were so many times I wanted to stop reading and eat crawfish, gumbo, a pistillate, anything Cajun! It made me want to take a quick trip over the boarder and have a Cajun experience! Or travel to New Orleans and run around to all the landmarks described (and silently be hoping that a vampire would be following me around, a girl can dream). 

As far as our main girl Adele is concerned, she has spunk! She is very relatable and not a pitiful damsel in distress. She is real and goes through all different emotions that so many of us do at different stages- mommy/daddy issues, learning to love, learning to adapt and learning to accept. She is a pretty fun girl to follow.

Onto the love triangle. I love a good fight, so long as my guy wins in the end. I am a total snob and a sore loser. When we read The Hunger Games, and Kelli declared she was Team Gale a part of me died. #WHY (This has been our only love triangle dispute to date.) Anyway, I typically pick the guy I want to win right away; I have been fooled by the incomparable Tahereh Mafi (you clever girl) but only once. But with this story so far I am at a standstill. I am not sure which guy I like because I like them both and that is just so odd for me. It makes me VERY curious (and nervous) as to what will bend me one way or another in the next installment. Hmmmm, Team Niccolo Medici, the Italiano or Team Isaac, the New Yorker? Time will tell.

I enjoyed The Casquette Girls so much and I really think that is has a very wide audience reach. So much so, that I have recommended it to friends, teens and even suggested it to my mom as a novel study for her students. 

There are a few important things to note before reading this book. New Orleans is a mosh pit when it comes to culture. You can literally find just about any kind of person there, really. But the French roots are the deepest and for that there is a lot of the French language that floats around as common knowledge. There are several French (and a few Italian) phrases that are used throughout this book. Some of them I was familiar with because I am so close to the Louisiana-Texas border and have heard them all my life. But if you are not familiar with those Cajuns you might be thrown for a loop. I think it would have been helpful to have a glossary for reference as I read the book. There is a map at the beginning that was really helpful when visualizing the city and I think a short reference of commonly-used phrases would have been a nice addition. I did a quick search of some of the phrases (so they might be off) but in all honesty, I didn't want to stop reading to figure out the terms so I just started bookmarking for later. I listed a few below.  
Terms to be familiar with: 
merci beaucoup- thank you very much
ma cherie- my dear
ma fifille- my little girl
laissez les bons temps rouler- let the good times roll 
(if you know anything about Mardi Gras, you know this line!)
je t'aime- I love you
s'il vous plaît- thank you, please kindly (formal)
joie de vivre- excitement for life; joy
la fin- the end
sentite condoglianze- condolances (Italian)

So unitl we meet again Adele, laissez les bons temps rouler!


  1. Hi Natalie (and Kelli),

    Thanks so much for reading and reviewing The Casquette Girls! I always love meeting people from/who have lived in New Orleans and hearing about their experiences. So sorry (but not really!) to have created a standstill for you with the guys... it’s been known to happen :)

    xo alys

    p.s. Team Peeta for life <3

    1. Oh Alys, you have made a fan for life! #TEAMPEETA #4EVER
      PS How long until the next installment releases? I need to know which guy I will be cheering for. :)

    2. Sorry for the delayed response. I must have forgotten to check “notify me” :)

      Well, I’ve only just begun writing the next book, The Romeo Catchers, a few weeks ago, but I have posted the first few chapters online :D Just check out my Facebook page for all of the info <3 Welcome to our crazy little world!


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