Caraval, Book 1

Book review by Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Caraval, Book 1 Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 13+

Sisters escape abusive father to play dangerous magic game.

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 45 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Stands out for .

Community Reviews

age 13+

Caraval- a wild, magical ride- but have discretion

I could give many compliments, but you can read the kids’ reviews. I’ll be brief in sharing a new point: It flirts with the boundaries of YA but never crosses them. However, it is a dark story. What was most difficult for me as a reader was how manipulative, abusive, and untrustworthy many of the male characters are. It would be wise to consider some scenes might be triggering or distressing for readers. The heroine is an overcomer of many hardships but you can feel the heaviness and helplessness. Many YA books today are much more graphic and mature than they were 5-10 years ago. This follows the current trend, shocking as much as it can within its age limitations. If you’re wanting a great read, you are in for a ride. But there are other gripping books that haven’t nearly as much “darkness” in them. Consider this article: https://www.bookseriesrecaps.com/clean-ya-books-for-teens-and-tweens/
4 people found this helpful.
age 12+

Magical and full of whimsy!

Caraval was effortless to read. The words just floated off the page and I was completely submersed in the story. It was addicting and exciting! I couldn't stop trying to guess what was going to happen which is something that I LOVE when I read. I heard in an interview that the author actually didn't let herself decide what was going to happen until she was writing the end, which I think is part of what made the mystery so great. The world felt so magical, I can only compare it to Stardust or Night Circus in terms of ambiance. While it's it's fantastical, whimsical and full of magic - it feels real. I got lost inside and didn't want to leave. There was never a dull moment and the book to follow is even more amazing.

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • Illusions of Fate Poster Image

    Illusions of Fate

    Romantic page-turner has stellar heroine of color.

    age 13+
  • Heartless Poster Image

    Heartless

    Queen of Hearts origin story is fanciful, not too dark.

    age 12+
  • Cruel Beauty Poster Image

    Cruel Beauty

    Rich fantasy world meets Beauty/Beast-style mature romance.

    age 13+

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon magic wand on orange background
    Magic and Fantasy
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of luggage and a map
    Adventures
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a sister and brother holding hands
    Brothers and Sisters
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate