Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

“Screw that book,” said Val. “It was written by men.” She held out her free hand to Marion.
“We’re rewriting it.”

What It Is

I'll start this section with the official review from the author that I found on GoodReads:
"This is a book about girls--girls loving girls, girls kissing girls, girls being friends with girls, girls helping girls. Girls who hunger, girls who rage. Girls who fight, girls who make mistakes, girls who dream and pine. It's also about magic and monsters, family secrets and soul-friends, moths and wild horses and the churning wild sea, and trampling the patriarchy. I hope you love it as much as I do." - Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls is the story of three girls - Marion, Zoey, and Val. They live on Sawkill Rock, a secluded New England island that experiences a strange and unfortunate trend: for the past 150 years, a teen girl has disappeared every 10 years or so. Edging on horror, we learn a monster, a spiritual entity of sorts, inhabits the island and feeds on these girls, but he can only do so with the help of a host. Val's ancestors made a bargain with him many generations earlier, and now her family is cursed to carry the burden of doing his bidding. Zoey moved to Sawkill just a couple years ago with her father, who accepted a job as the chief of police. She's spunky and rebellious and cannot stand flawlessly beautiful Val. Val "stole" Zoey's best friend, Thora, just a few months before Thora became the next victim. Zoey is convinced Val is connected to the disappearance. When new girl Marion arrives with her older sister Charlotte, Zoey watches the same events unfold as Val latches herself to the lovely Charlotte, who as if on cue, goes missing shortly after. As more truth unfolds, the three girls each take on a role in this hunt for the evil creature, with the help of Zoey's ex-boyfriend Grayson and a few gifted white moths.

What I Loved

Two Major Things:

1. The language. Ohhh this was so beautifully written. It was practically poetic the way the author weaved figurative language throughout her writing. The descriptions of the supernatural occurrences were especially good. It didn't sound rushed, or wordy, or too literal. I felt I could picture the physical that they were seeing as well as the emotional they were feeling. It was very beautiful.

2. This is freaking Supernatural! I am a big fan of the Winchester brothers (#teamsam), and about halfway through this book I found I kept saying, this sort of sounds familiar. Why aren't these people calling in help for these disappearances? Then towards the end of the book, we actually encounter "hunters" and went WHOA! So, go with me on this one:
Often during a more standalone episode of Supernatural, I've found myself wondering what life was like before Sam and Dean showed up and what happened after they left. THIS BOOK is exactly that. It is the entire backstory, lore, characters, everything that occurred before the hunters showed up. It was just gory enough to be spooky and just supernatural enough to be, well, Supernatural. The best part here is that these girls didn't need two hot guys to wander through the Canadian woods and swoop in to save them. They did it themselves. Woot!

What I Didn't Love

It was a little long. I tried to read it too quickly and got distracted a lot and found myself wanting it to be over sooner, although I'm not sure what I would cut. I really do think it is a great story. I didn't exactly understand the significance of the horses, but maybe I just missed some details. I also thought maybe the townspeople were actually like brainwashed or something because I could not understand why national reinforcements weren't immediately brought in once girls started disappearing more rapidly. Some of those questions were answered later in the book, but for a "fantasy" story that is definitely set in our reality, some things were slightly unbelievable.

4/5 stars

Author - Claire Legrand
Published - 2018
Series - Standalone
Genre - Fantasy OR Horror (debatable), LGBTQ+
Format - Print
Pages - 450

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