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Review: The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

Hey all, Dani here.

So…I lost my voice, which is annoying and frustrating. I have D&D scheduled on Friday night where I am the Dungeon Master and am pretty much obligated to talk a lot, and then I have Pathfinder on Saturday, but I’m a player on that one so I can just be surly and quieter for that one. But the main reason I’m frustrated is that I had planned to try filming an intro video for a BookTube channel. Obviously I can’t do that if I don’t get my voice back. I’ve pretty much put myself on mandatory vocal rest, and I’m hoping for the best.

But hey, I guess no talking means more time for reading and blogging? I mean I don’t need to speak out loud to be able to talk in the book community. That is a beautiful thing.

Anyway, let’s just jump into today’s review.

The Dead Queens Club


Mean Girls meets The Tudors in Hannah Capin’s The Dead Queens Club, a clever contemporary YA retelling of Henry VIII and his wives (or, in this case, his high school girlfriends). Told from the perspective of Annie Marck (“Cleves”), a 17-year-old aspiring journalist from Cleveland who meets Henry at summer camp, The Dead Queens Club is a fun, snarky read that provides great historical detail in an accessible way for teens while giving the infamous tale of Henry VIII its own unique spin.

What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable privilege of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8.

Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

So much ridiculous drama. Okay yeah, I was pretty much expecting/hoping for it, considering the concept of this novel. I mean a modern take on Henry VIII and his six wives set in a high school? I went back and forth on this one, trying to decide if I would borrow it from the library or buy it. Eventually I decided I didn’t want to wait to get it from the library, so I bought it. And yes, I liked it, but I don’t think I’m going to keep it in my collection for too long. Probably the next time I get around to an unhaul, this book will land in the donation/sell box.

This was full of awesomely ridiculous drama and shenanigans. It made for a weirdly fun time. Like there are flashbacks to when Cleves and Henry first met and first got together, and other flashbacks to the first couple girlfriends, with the rest of the story focusing on girlfriends five and six.

Henry’s mood swings and…well, I’ll just say it, it was pretty much paranoia were off the charts. He falls in and out of love so easily. He comes up with all these reasons why a relationship isn’t working and then it is supported by the gossip and locker room chatter of his pals.

I don’t know, I had a fun time with this book, but I mostly couldn’t take it seriously. Like, at all. It’s similar to how I felt reading My Lady Jane. These humorous history tales are amusing but not exactly deep or filled with substance.

It is kind of a great summer fun read though. I’m glad I picked it up.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

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