Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
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A brief synopsis:
Marion moves to the island of Sawkill Rock over the summer; the rich, perfect island where nothing bad happens. Her first day lands her in the hospital after being tossed off of the Sheriff’s frantic horse; and the strange occurrences don’t stop there. Zoey is the Sheriff’s daughter who witnessed the horse incident firsthand. Her best friend disappeared a little while back, and she’s still not over it. INSERT MORE Val, the girl who comforts Marion when she’s recovering from the fall, has more than what meets the eye. Her family has been on the island for generations, and her Zoey warns that she is untrustworthy and snakelike. As these three girls meet, bond, fight, and get to know each other better, the island is alive with evil forces that seem intent on kidnapping and killing–girls keep disappearing, and there are more killings than ever before. Against the flawless, preppy backdrop of a town where everything is great and the beauty is unmatched, the stark light of the island’s new reality becomes a dark cloud blocking out the sun. For what goes on in the forest at night must be kept secret, and the secrets among residents are dangerous and powerful. A striking, modern twist on a trope, Legrand brings enjoyable characters, suspense and a feeling of someone watching you to this all around strong standalone with kickbutt female leads, a lush setting, and tons of diversity.
This is my first Claire Legrand book, and I was extremely pleased with it. I’d pitch Sawkill Girls as We Were Liars meets Stranger Things meets Riverdale; it is definitely a book based around a few tropes–small town, rich people with perfect lives, people disappearing, local Sheriff doing everything he can, mystery abounds…but Legrand weaves a story that really feels like something new, and not just another story we’ve heard before. To start it off, Sawkill Rock is such a fun and captivating island, and you can tell there is a certain darkness about it in the way it is described and in the way it speaks to the reader. It’s so delightfully dark and full of secrets, which makes for an enjoyable read. Legrand doesn’t spell everything out for you, it takes a while before everything falls into place in your head. I couldn’t put this book down, I kept going back to it and wanting to know what happens next. Not only was I invested in the story, but the characters all had unique personalities and lives, and I loved the development. There is so much diversity in this book, and props to Claire Legrand for that; she is about as inclusive as can be in the characters and it doesn’t feel forced. I saw a reviewer on Goodreads who listed the different kinds of diversity in this book and it was way more substantial than most other books. There’s LBTQ+ rep, different races, and feminist female leads. It’s dark, sinister, mysterious and lush. If you are looking for an intriguing read to get in the Halloween spirit next October (or just want something spooky), this book will give you just what you need.