I first read Tithe sometime after it came out in 2002. Undoubtedly, I was much younger than the 14+ recommended on the back, but I remember loving this dark, gothic tale so much that I had to buy it and it's subsequent sequels.
I decided it was time for a reread this year since Holly Black would be in Washington DC for a signing during the Library of Congress's 2019 National Book Festival. What better a book to get signed than her first book that I loved?
Rereading Tithe was cringeworthy in the same way as looking back at old photos of yourself -- a little embarrassing, but it's clear the best of Holly Black was yet to come.
Kaye, our 16-year-old-all-but-high-school-drop-out, has returned to her childhood home -- an aging old house in a rundown seaside New Jersey town. Once home, she quickly becomes entangled in a power struggle between the faeries that makes her question who she trusts, friendships and even what she is.
Part coming of age, part Halloween dumpster fire, Tithe is filled with unlikeable, trashy characters and somehow Holly Black still manages to make you fall in love with her dark world of faerie. It has some problems with plot, homophobia, and general WTF just happened (see plot problems), but for fans of Holly Black, don't be scared to add "Tithe" to your reading list. If not, feel free to skip this dark faerie tale and jump straight to Black's The Cruel Prince (which is a 5 star read!).