First sentence: “The story of how I ended up with the Chokey Card Tarot Consultancy can be told in four detentions, three notes sent home, two bad report cards, and one Tuesday afternoon that ended with me locked in a cupboard. “
Be careful of the power that tarot cards can bring.
For Irish teenager Maeve Chambers, she doesn’t know that. All that she knows is that she was cleaning out the Chokey—a long cupboard akin to a closet in the basement of her school—as punishment and left with tarot cards in her hands. Thus begins her foray into the tarot card business, where Maeve gains the attention from her peers. It’s all great until she does a reading for her ex-best friend Lily, and the next day, said ex-best friend disappears. Did Maeve have a hand at Lily’s disappearance or is there more at foot? Something more sinister and supernatural?
Tarot cards are a big part of this story, and it’s fantastic. It all started with those tarot cards that Maeve found in the Chokey. It set up this whole mystery of Lily disappearing and supernatural happenings to begin. I love the way the tarot cards are woven into the story, especially how this mysterious Housekeeper card keeps popping up out of nowhere. It’s such a good way of introducing a supernatural element to the mystery (I loved , and in turn gives the story a great ominous, kind of spooky tone.
Also, I love that we get to see the art for the cards that Maeve pulls throughout the book. We get to see how the High Priestess card looks like as well as the Magician, the Page of Cups, and the mysterious Housekeeper.
Maeve may not be entirely likable, but that’s what makes her an interesting character to read. You don’t particularly have to care for Maeve—she’s done shitty things to her friend all for the sake of being popular with the well-known kids (but that’s normal—trying to find acceptance in any way you can), and she’s very self-centered, not realizing the effect her actions and lack of awareness has on others. However, that’s what makes Maeve interesting to read—to see how she grows throughout the book, especially with what she does to reconcile her treatment of the people around her in light of Lily’s disappearance.
Maeve may not be the most likable character in the book, but the supporting characters are. The supporting characters—specifically Fiona and Roe—are fantastic characters who everybody will fall in love with! Fiona is that type of person who you’d want in your corner. You will instantly understand why Maeve admires her. (Also Filipino representation!) And then there’s Roe, a sweet non-binary bisexual who’s Lily’s older boyfriend and a love interest for Maeve. He has to deal with a lot of shit thrown at him—his sister’s disappearance, but also people giving him shit for his gender and sexual identity. Both characters make Maeve become more aware of things she never concerned herself with (but they do).
It’s inclusive and has tons of representation. I love the inclusivity in All Our Hidden Gifts. You have diverse characters who are bisexual, gender fluid, Filipino, and lesbian. They aren’t treated as afterthoughts; if they were taken away from the story, the heart of the book would be lost. (That’s how big of an impact they play in the book.)
This book also highlights the issues these marginalized people face in a way that isn’t checking off a diversity checklist nor is the way it’s discussed like a generalized textbook answer. There are scenes where homophobia is presented—The Children of Brigid, a religious cult group that gains traction by spewing hatred and inducting lost teenagers into their campaign against LGBTQ+ rights—and what allyship does. (Aaron, the asshole who runs Children of Brigid, is quite a lackluster villain since things with his character fizzled out. It sucks, but homophobia unfortunately doesn’t magically go away.)
If you want romance, it is here. I don’t like reading romance in YA, but if you do, there’s definitely a sweet romance here.
Should you read All Our Hidden Gifts? Yeah, you gotta know what type of ominous stuff Maeve gets into with her tarot cards.