Narrator: Lauren Ezzo
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Published on 2 October 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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Sawkill Girls is a frightening stand-alone contemporary teen horror novel about three girls who take on an insidious monster that preys upon young women.
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: The newbie. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: The pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: The queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives; a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.
I totally missed the hype train on this (courtesy of being a fringe blogger and not active on social media).
Sawkill Girls was a creepy, atmospheric YA horror (didn’t realise that for a while, my bad!) about a literal bogeyman that hunts and devours teenage girls on a lonely island called Sawkill Rock (I think on the East Coast of America? Maybe?), and the three girls destined to battle him.
I really liked the friendship between the three girls in this book. Two of the girls hate each other, but are forced to work together because of newcomer Marion, who is grieving the death of her father. Zoe is the spunky but outcast daughter of the sheriff who is going through her own shit, but is determined local queen bee Val had something to do with her best friend going missing years before.
I’m kind of getting in to YA thrillers, but this was creep-tastic. All of Legrand’s unsettling, rolling words lent to a tense, gritty, brutal atmosphere that’s kind of unfamiliar to me as a non-thriller reader. The gore was absolutely gross, the violence often confronting and right on the page.
The relationship between the three girls was by far the best part of this book. Marion, Zoey, and Val are all so different but work together so well. The mystery unravels before them and they do actual investigating with actual consequences, which I really liked. I liked the discussion and exploration and allusions made about the strength of women and how they are pitted against each other by men. I loved how the three of them, three different girls from vastly different backgrounds, came together despite their feelings towards each other. I love how even though men want to use and discard them, they fight back.
I think Legrand also represented a bi-romantic but asexual girl coming to terms with her identity really well. As some who identifies with neither of those things, I think the issues were explored in depth in a respectful but also realistic manner.
Also, shout out to Grayson, Zoey’s ex whom she broke up with because of guilt/angst over being ace, who is a sweet little cinnamon roll who cleans and bakes when he’s stressed.
I think this book was both progression and feminist, and even though I’m not normally a horror reader, I’m really glad I listened to this audiobook.
Also, if you’re looking for diverse representation, then here’s the run down:
- Zoey is black, bi-romantic, and asexual
- Marion is undefined queer who falls in love with a woman (and possibly plus-sized? Might have missed that)
- Val is white and undefined queer
- Grayson, aforementioned precious cinnamon roll, is okay with Zoey being aromantic, does not fight, and supports the girls through domestic tasks such as cleaning and baking.