October 21, 2013

Braine Reviews: Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 17, 2013
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Literature & Fiction
New York Times bestselling author Gigi Levangie Grazer returns withSeven Deadlies, a witty and wildly different novel set amid the sinful reaches of Beverly Hills, narrated by a captivating, gimlet-eyed Mexican-American heroine.

Perry Gonzalez is not like the other kids in her Beverly Hills high school—a full-blooded Latina on a scholarship, living in a tiny apartment with her mother, she doesn’t have much in common with the spoiled, privileged kids who are chauffeured to school every morning. But Perry is a budding young writer with her sights set on Bennington—and her seven deadly stories are her ticket to the Ivory Tower. To pay her way, Perry’s been babysitting (correction: teenage-sitting) and tutoring the neighborhood kids, and she has seen the dark side of adolescence: lust for the “Judas Brothers” that leads to electrocution at a private birthday party concert; wrath that inspires new and perverse family bonds; and greed, in a young Bernie Madoff acolyte who conceives of a copycat Ponzi scheme involving his own grandmother.

I have no idea what to make of SEVEN DEADLIES: A CAUTIONARY TALE by Gigi Levangie Grazer, the same chick who's last novel, The After Wife, had me laughing out loud. This time around, GLGrazer had me scratching my head in wonder and mild confusion. Her latest release is one of those genre crossing books that has a tried and tested premise that will potentially appeal to most every reader from MG to Adult. 
As you know, I'm a highly regarded tutor at mark Frost Academy. I'm not being cocky-my reputation precedes me, as they say. I've been known to rescue even the dullest kids from the doldrums D's and the far-from-fantastic F's. I have a knack, a gift, if you will.
It's a satire!
GLGrazer has a knack for writing satires or parodies and depending on one's sense of humor, she'll have you clutching your belly in delicious laughter. The way I see it, SEVEN DEADLIES: A CAUTIONARY TALE, is a satirical fable. Is there such a thing? I know I just made up something here but for lack of a better phrase, I'll use my "creative license" and call this as such. So the heroine, Perry Gonzales, wrote a bunch of short stories/essays about her peers and associated her experiences with them with the Seven Deadly Sins: lust, wrath, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy and pride. Perry's, whose sin is Pride, take on the Deadlies are fantastical and exaggerated from how she characterized her peers down to their punishment for committing them.

Perry's vignettes are the kind of dark tales parents tell their kids to scare them off so they stay good boys and girls. Each short is told in a way where the moral won't get lost to young readers but powerful and morbid enough to be appreciated by adults. Perry leaves so much to the imagination, she implies the worst and some of the visuals can be gruesome. 

And just when I thought I got SEVEN DEADLIES: A CAUTIONARY TALE all figured out, GLGrazer pulled this clever twist at the END which prompted so many questions in my head. So now I'm left wondering if there'll be a sequel which will tell us Perry's story/sin from her mother's POV or if GLGrazer left us to create our own ending? Personally I prefer a sequel, Perry Gonzales has the makings of being a unique and fascinating heroine and I wish GLGrazer can be persuaded to write another book about her darkly disturbed teen.
Pride is, like, the collective sin of our generation. Pride and envy,
I enjoyed and appreciated SEVEN DEADLIES: A CAUTIONARY TALE, it's a quick read and had a twisted way of telling moral stories. In some ways I feel I'm too old to be reading such simple shorts but as I mentioned above, GLGrazer wrote it in a way that can be appreciated by adult readers like me. 

Purchase Seven Deadlies

Sloth and Timmy Turkle
by Perry Gonzalez

“Honestly? Timmy Turkle broke this girl’s heart. I almost didn’t recover after what happened to that boy...ask my mother. I stayed in bed for days. Sure, people find his story fascinating. Here, you have a rich kid, extremely wealthy parents, with a cranium like an insect from playing video games 24 hours a day. I almost threw up when I first saw his face – remember?

To me the most fascinating thing about Timmy is how far I took him on the simple power of reading. And how he almost made it, right up until the end...

Anyway, I don’t really like to talk about Timmy, now. Makes me too sad. But, thank you for asking about him.”

BRAINE: Hi Gigi! Thank you for stopping by Talk Supe. I became an instant fan after reading The After Wife, that was so heartfelt, sad and hilarious. Your previous books are mainly Women's Lit type of novels. What's SEVEN DEADLIES about?

Gigi Levangie Grazer: Hi, there! Thank you so much for having me - and thanks for calling my previous work “Women’s Lit” – I feel like I’ve graduated!

SEVEN DEADLIES is about a smart, observant girl, Perry Gonzalez, a scholarship student at an exclusive private school, who tutors teenagers – and finds, to her dismay, that each of them embodies one of the seven deadlies...

BRAINE: The heroine or anti-hero I should say is a teenager. Is this a YA novel or a cross genre kind of story?

Gigi Levangie Grazer: Good question. I wrote it originally focusing on younger kids – because frankly, I was writing it for my own children, neither of whom were teenagers at the time. I think of SEVEN DEADLIES now as Tim Burtonesque – it has an Edward Scissorhands quality – fantasy characters and situations mixed with real, grounded emotions and circumstances. 

BRAINE:  I love the premise and the juxtaposition of a young adult tackling a very profound topic. The capital sins are not a simple subject, a person named Dante Alighieri gained notoriety (and later on, reverence) for tackling the topic. Not we have an overachieving teen, though smart, too smart for her own good, decided to take this on. How did the idea for this book came about from the premise to the characters? Why pick a teen and not an adult to tell this tale?

Gigi Levangie Grazer: Where else to begin with the SEVEN DEADLIES but in high school? I think we become truly aware of the existence of sin – and more importantly, the compartmentalization of sin, as we enter puberty. Before that, we know in sort of a diffuse way that sin exists – but labeling and dividing is more complicated. The sins bleed into each other.

It’s funny because I’m not particularly religious – I don’t and never have attended church regularly – but I’m always interested in universal themes – what is more universal than sin? I wish we were all more familiar with and fascinated by virtue!

BRAINE:  We all have our moments of righteousness and for a teen to be so is a delicate dance for Perry. It's so easy to nitpick a character but what is it about Perry Gonzales that the readers can relate to or find endearing.

Gigi Levangie Grazer: In SEVEN DEADLIES Perry is an outsider in an insider world. She does not fit in – from the color of her skin to her last name to the neighborhood she and her mother live in. I don’t know if she is righteous as much as she is directed. I know women like Perry – they’re on a mission. They don’t have a lot of time, energy or money to spend – they need to get the job done, and done today, and done right. That’s Perry. This girl has places to go – and she’s using her experiences to get there. I wish Perry were my kid!

BRAINE:  What's next for you after SEVEN DEADLIES?

Gigi Levangie Grazer: Writing the pilot for MTV, finishing up a book I’ve been working on for a couple years, pitching television series, teaching yoga, chauffeuring my boys around and trying to figure out what’s for dinner before 5:00PM hits.

Gigi Levangie Grazer is the author of three prior novels, including The After Wife and the New York Times bestseller The Starter Wife, which was adapted as a miniseries for USA Network.

She is a coauthor of the screenplay for Stepmom and has written for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, and other publications. Levangie lives in Los Angeles with her two children and one miniature dachsund.

Stalk Gigi


Penguin is hosting a SEVEN DEADLIES
Pinterest contest where you can win gorgeous necklaces from Caja Jewelry. The contest ends on November 1. 
Click this for more info.


  1. Lovely interview and your review had me giggling. I love that the author threw a twist in that you didn't see coming.

    1. Yep, the ending certainly threw a wrench there. Suddenly this doesn't feel MG/YA anymore

  2. I thought this author's name seemed familiar! How cool that she's done something completely different. I'm not sure this book is for me, but it obviously left an impression!

    1. Have you read The After Wife or The Starter Wife? Damn those were funny. I picked this up because I wanted to see what this about and definitely a step away from her usual work.

  3. Satires are hit and miss for me, it's hard to determine whether I'll like it. But I'm certainly curious about that twist!

    1. You read MG/YA right? I think this is worth looking into.

  4. Hmm, this seems interesting, but not sure how I would like it though. Loved the quick chat.

    1. Yes, this is definitely an unconventional read not just for this blog but for adult readers. I still don't know how to classify or categorize this properly :D

  5. I confess I didn't know the author or the book, but it sounds like a nice read. I need to check her books out. Thanks for the little interniew.

    1. If you like women's lit, you'll enjoy her contemporary ones.

  6. Great interview. The seven deadly sins has also intrigued me, I've wondered why not many authors have written/incorporated it into a book. Will have to check into this one :)

    1. JR Ward has! Fallen Angels is more or less loosely adapted on the Seven Deadlies.

  7. I both love it and hate it when a book leaves me wondering a lot, and when I need more of the same characters to get a better understanding of things. In a way, it means it was good enough that I want more of the characters and the world, in another, it is a little frustrating to finish a stand-alone and then feel like the story isn't completely finished.

    I do think I'll give this one a try, thanks for the great review Braine :)

    Have a great day!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  8. I love both the review and interview. I've always been fascinated by the seven deadly sins, so anything that has them in it is my kind of story. I'm interested in Perry too because of her heritage, I love that! (;


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