So I needed to try something different this week, to break up the cycle of books I’ve been reading, but obviously, I had to find it interesting and enjoyable. Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls is just that.
I came across the title in a list of books to fill that Stranger Things craving, and was duly satisfied, and wonderfully emotionally involved.
Set on a coastal island, three girls are drawn into a horrifying tale as they discover secrets about their little island, and the monster that lurks there, stalking and killing girls.
First off, I love how Legrand writes, and imbues her characters with a life of their own. We’re introduced to Marion, Zoey and Val, and they aren’t friends when the book starts, Marion is the new girl in town, nursing the pain of her father’s death, and trying to hold her family together. Zoey is the daughter of the town’s sheriff, and feels a little bit like an outcast because of who she is, and Val is the teen queen, she’s the rich, beautiful, rich bitch of the island.
But the three of them are drawn together in a tale that will see them confront a horrifying enemy that has one dream to feed and kill. It seems the urban legends, not just for Sawkill island, but everywhere, may be true. That the grain of truth tucked inside each myth could lead to something truly monstrous, and it wants out.
The characters struggle not only with each other, in this coming of age tale, but with themselves as they try to figure out who they are, how they fit in the world, or with each other.
Filled with pop culture references, because that’s how people talk, or at least, how most people I know talk, there’s an authenticity to the way her characters are written that makes the monster they face, known as The Collector, all the more terrifying.
There are costs to be paid for each of the characters as the secrets are unfurled, terrors realised, and truths confronted. But through it all, they remain strong, and powerful women, that many readers will see in themselves, and gladly support and follow.
I love these three characters, and as quick a read as I found the book to be, there were countless moments, tender and horrifying that elicited a powerful emotional reaction from me, and that speaks to Legrand’s storytelling and character work.
I was very happy with this read, would recommend it for someone looking for something to distract from the state of the world, and give you hope.