Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
When I read it: May 2017
Genres: mystery; thriller; contemporary
Recommended for: People who love Shakespeare, theater, mysteries…Ok, seriously, I keep recommending this to everyone.
My review is here
What it’s about:
Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.
On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.
Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.
Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.
I can not, in words, express my feelings about this properly. It was just too good, and I think I talk about it every day. I actually listened to the audiobook (which isn’t usually my thing because I have a hard time focusing) because I won it in a goodreads giveaway, but it was still so amazing I wanted to immediately get a hardback copy and re-read it. This book has definitely made my list of favorites this year, and it’s currently competing with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic (well, the second and third books) to be my actual, top favorite. And V.E. Schwab is the first author I think of these days when I’m asked who my favorite author is, if that tells you anything.
I still can’t believe this is a debut because the writing was so good, and the characters so life-like, and the plot so freaking amazing. I think even if this hadn’t landed on my radar, I still would have picked it up because the cover would have immediately caught my attention. I’m actually planning to get a US hardback and the UK edition, because a) I need this book on my shelves because I will definitely be reading it again…and again, and b) the cover for both is amazing and I know if I only get one I’ll be lusting after the other forever. I mean, look at this UK cover
Have you read it? What did you think?