Author: Claire Legrand
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.
Who are the Sawkill Girls?Marion: the new girl. 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.
There’s a certain thing that make me fall in love with a book automatically. Books with asexual representation? Fuck yes. Books with strong, amazing, extraordinary girls? Give it to me. Books that have a voice and writing style so gorgeous it lingers in my head for days? Hit me up, what are you waiting for? Claire Legrand’s upcoming novel, Sawkill Girls, fills all these boxes and then overflows with its kickass goodness.
Honestly, Sawkill Girls is one of my top-three favorite reads of 2018 so far. It is a powerful story of girls who fight evil by realizing the strength of their own power and who rewrite the stories of the past while kicking ass.
Sawkill Girls follows the story of Val, Zoey and Marion, three girls on the island of Sawkill Rock who are the only ones able to defeat an evil responsible for the disappearance of young girls from their island. Marion is a newcomer to the island, who is drawn to its mysterious nature. Zoey is the take-no-shit asexual heroine who has incredible inner and outer strength. Val is a girl who has never been able to live her own life, tied to evil and the malicious legacy of her wealthy matriarchal family.
Told from the perspectives of the three girls in an atmospheric style, Sawkill Girls is an action-packed feminist thriller that is not to be missed. Legrand skillfully captures the complex dynamics between girls, from those who hate each other’s guts to girls who grow deep, intricate friendships to girls who love each other’s very souls.
I loved all three girls and their stories so much. I loved Marion’s tale of rising above the grief that has consumed her life to finding her own voice and strength and community, remaking herself into the girl she was meant to be.
I connected so deeply to Zoey’s asexuality and her discussion of it, the ways that she was reluctant to dating someone who wasn’t asexual even if she loved him deeply (no lies, Zoey and Grayson were my favorite part of the book and my only complaint is that there weren’t more of them in the book overall). I can’t say enough about how much the asexual representation meant to me in this book. This book validated some of my fears and inner shame about being asexual, but also led me in the direction of beginning to cope with and overcome that same fear and shame. Seriously, if you’re looking for books with strong ace rep, this is one you NEED to add to your list.
And I connected to Val’s sense of duty to her family and the ways that she felt trapped in her own life, even when that led to her doing incredibly evil things. What’s so great about this book is that Val, Zoey and Marion are all such complex, nuanced characters that there’s so much for readers to connect with in each of them.
Plot-wise, this book was everything I love about an atmospheric thriller. Fans of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud, Courtney Summer’s novels or Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us. Legrand’s novel belongs to a class of female-written YA thrillers that are fast-paced and centered on the experiences of girls that come to life off the page with strong writing. Towards the end of Sawkill Girls, there were some scenes that were so tense, so thrilling and horrifying to read that I was literally clenching and starting to wrinkle the pages.