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Sawkill Girls Hardcover – 4 Oct 2018
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★“Through this dank, atmospheric, and genuinely frightening narrative, Legrand weaves powerful threads about the dangerous journey of growing up female…an intensely character-driven story about girls who support each other, girls who betray each other, and girls who love each other in many complicated ways. Strange, eerie, and unforgettable.” (ALA Booklist (starred review))
★“Legrand’s lush and pensive prose matches the murky, dangerous, and beautiful island setting.... Rich and earthy horror.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
★“This atmospheric, Gothic-flavored chiller, which mingles elements of dark fairy tales and outright horror... includes an asexual character and a beautifully wrought queer romance, [and] focuses on the power of female friendship and what it means to pit women against one another in fiction and in life.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
★”Cinematically, gorgeously creepy and horrific, sliding between breathlessly suspenseful and disturbingly grotesque.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
★”Legrand accomplishes the kind of slow-building tension and mounting horror that will give readers night terrors. Read this book, then lock it in the freezer.” (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
“Part spine-chilling horror story and part coming-of-age lesbian romance… If you are looking for something to scare you awake at night, this is the book for you.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Claire Legrand tells an eerie, feminist horror story that’s perfect for reading close to Halloween.” (Bustle)
“With prose as fierce and uncompromising as its three main characters, SAWKILL GIRLS is a fresh and unflinching exploration of female friendship wrapped in a spine-tingling page-turner. Claire Legrand doesn’t hold back--and you won’t be able to put this book down.”
(- Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie)
“Reader, hang on for dear life. Sawkill Girls is a wild, gorgeous, and rich coming-of-age story about complicity, female camaraderie, and power.” (Sarah Gailey, author of River of Teeth)
“An eerie, atmospheric assertion of female strength.” (Mindy McGinnis, author of The Female of the Species)
About the Author
Claire Legrand is the New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn, the first book in the Empirium Trilogy. She is also the author of several other titles for children and teens, most notably The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, Winterspell, and the Edgar Award-nominated Some Kind of Happiness. Sawkill Girls is her seventh novel. Claire lives in central New Jersey, where she works as a librarian.
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A fantastic story told in a touching and loving way against the backdrop of a secret battle of girls vs girl-eating demons on Earth.
Great book for anyone!
Probably more of a 4.5-4.75 because there were a few questionable choices here and there, but overall, this book was everything I wanted. It has on-page Ace rep, Bi rep, and an F/F romance. Much like Legrand said on Goodreads this book is all about girls. Girls loving themselves, each other and their family. It’s about friendship, overcoming obstacles and realising who you are.
So here’s a baseline. Someone or something is killing girls on the island of Sawkill Rock, so when Marion and her sister move there, they too are drawn into the mystery and the drama along with Zoey, the daughter of the Sheriff and Val, youngest in a long line of the matriarchal Mortimer family. These three are the POVs we see throughout and, honestly, I loved them all.
This book has a spoopy, halloween, paranormal feel to it, and honestly, there were times when I was slightly terrified and/or disgusted, but it wasn’t exactly horror either. I adore Legrand’s writing, but found it so very different from her recent release, Furyborn – more lyrical at times and abstract. My favourite sections were actually that of Sawkill Rock, the personified force of the island who is given brief, one-page prose sections overlooking the girls’ journey.
“The Rock felt its daughters’ feet beat angry paths into its ravaged flesh, and sent out its call, and waited for them to wake up.”
Also, huge shout out to Legrand’s sly mentions of smashing the patriarchy because it made me laugh out loud so many times, even in the tense moments.
The story revolves around three girls: Marion, Zoey, and Val, and how they all find themselves entangled in the supernatural disappearances on Sawkill Island. The mystery behind this story is thrilling to uncover, and the characters and their relationships are so messy and flawed that it's difficult not to fall just a little bit in love with them.
"Maybe it was the writer in her, who believed even the tallest tales were rooted in truth."
The writing itself is so vivid. The setting thrums with so much life. There were scenes that felt utterly dreamy, and others that made my skin crawl. I'm not a horror fan in the slightest, but by blending the genre with fantasy, Legrand has created a novel that is impossible to put down.
Moreover, the author deals with themes of girlhood subtly and powerfully in a way that I've not seen another fantasy novel do before. The story addresses how girls hunger for the things they're told they cannot have, and there is so much symbolism to unpack about how men often dominate the narrative in ways that sometimes go unseen. What is particularly brilliant and unsettling is how the antagonists of this story could easily be the protagonists of another. But this book pretty much says screw that. Women aren't there to be the victims of your story. They exist to be the heroes of their own.
"Screw that book," said Val. "It was written by men."
I loved seeing these girls be strong and bold and scared and brave. They fight for family. For knowledge. For themselves. Irresistibly dark and haunting, Sawkill Girls is the stabby queer feminist book of my dreams.
Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with this ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Diversity note: Black and Asexual protagonist; Bisexual protagonist (label not specified in the text); Queer protagonist (label not specified in the text)
Warnings: implied drug abuse, gore, animal gore, suicidal thoughts, violence, domestic violence, acephobia, death, implied rape, self-harm