Addie LaRue is a girl out of time with all the time in the world


Graphic by Maliah White

“Addie LaRue” written by V.E. Schwab tells the story of Addie LaRue’s never ending life.

Sydney Lawson, Staff Writer

From the first page of V.E. Schwab’s “Addie LaRue,” I knew this story was going to be special. The captivating writing style and mysterious, whimsical characters made my heart leap by the end of the first chapter. 

All of the book’s elements felt magical from the beginning. 

Addeline LaRue was born in Villon, France in 1691. Free spirited, adventurous and well beyond her years, LaRue wanted far more from life than the restrictive nature of her home in Villon as a carpenter’s daughter. 

Being a woman in the 1700s made such aspirations far out of reach. LaRue was burdened by a duty to her family to be married at 23. In a desperate move, she prays to the gods and ends up calling upon the wrong one.

Luc, a god that exists in the darkness, offers her a deal. If she truly will give up everything, he will let her live forever in exchange for her soul when she decides she is tired of her life.  LaRue agrees swiftly but finds that such a tall wish requires a tall price. 

LaRue is immortal but erased from the world. 

She cannot speak her name, appear in a photograph or write out her story. She may have no possessions. Most devastatingly, nobody she encounters will remember her existence by the time she leaves their sight. 

LaRue wanders throughout the world for hundreds of years, awed and influenced by the things, places and people she encounters, but she is unable to leave a mark of her own. She is haunted by her past with only Luc to keep her company and remind her constantly of her tragedy. 

Until one day, a failed robbery from a book store in New York introduces her to Henry Strauss. Strauss is handsome and astute but otherwise unremarkable to LaRue. That is until he tells LaRue that he remembers her. LaRue’s life flips upside down.

LaRue is scared of what this means for the life that she has known for three hundred years, but she knows that she can’t afford to let Strauss go no matter what dark secrets he is harboring. 

It is admittedly hard for me to express in words how much I adored this story. I can confidently say that I have not come across a book quite like it in a long time. It is wholly captivating with an immersive world brimming with wonder, characters that I have come to adore and a story that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. 

There are books that are about magic, and there are books that genuinely feel magical in nature. “Addie LaRue” is the latter. 

Holding the book alone made me feel as though I was savvy to some well kept secret or as though I was sneaking through the streets in Paris, New York, Germany or wherever LaRue decided to go next. 

I also really value “Addie LaRue” as a book that makes you think. It warns against absolutes and encourages readers to find a balance for what is important to them in life. 

It is a juxtaposition between human greed and sacrifice while examining the dangers and values of both elements. It celebrates art and literature as a medium with which people can both find and express themselves. 

The characters were carefully developed. They felt like real people with flaws, raw emotion and unbridled desire. 

I also personally value representation in media, and both main characters of “Addie LaRue” are LGBTQ+. The author utilizes the characters to start a conversation about mental health, arguing that if we don’t consider the feelings of others, they will easily slip through the cracks. 

The author’s writing style and characterization is so magical and raw in terms of human emotion that I find a small, irrational part of me entertains the idea that there really is a magical girl named Addie LaRue, and this book is possibly a ghostwritten biography as the book subtly suggests. 

To be honest, the conclusion to this book ripped out my heart and stomped on it.

If you can’t stand books that end on an open or bittersweet note, then you may be frustrated with this element of the book. However, I feel the ending, as frustrating as it is, completes the arc of character development for LaRue and Stauss and is consistent with the endless nature of LaRue’s story. 

Needless to say, “Addie LaRue” receives a five star rating from me, and is now one of my favorite standalone novels of all time. The book was nominated for several awards, and was a 2020 Book of the Year finalist for Book of the Month. 

“Addie LaRue” is a story I will carry with me throughout my life, encouraging me to chase after the dreams I believe are unachievable and ponder what I can contribute to the world and people around me.