Welcome to day 8 of Blogtober! I’m excited to talk about my thoughts on Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls with you all today! I picked this up because I wanted a spooky and atmospheric book to read that wasn’t part of a series. I read this one night and was hooked. Let’s talk Sawkill Girls!
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, published October 2nd, 2018 by Katherine Tegan Books. Recommended Reading age is 14+
Abusive parent, family death, acephobia, Stockholm syndrome and manipulation, there is a specific scene with lots of spiders and another with moths, violence and gore, Mentions of suicide attempts, and probably more.
(I read this book awhile ago and compiled this list from my own memory and by comparing other content warnings. Please let me know if you think I need to add more to this list!)
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.
Claire Legrand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for children and teens, most notably the first two books in the Empirium Trilogy, Furyborn and Kingsbane, as well as The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, the Edgar Award-nominated Some Kind of Happiness, and Sawkill Girls, which has been nominated for both a Stoker Award and a Lambda Literary Award. She lives in central New Jersey, where she works as a librarian.
This book was super weird and super fantastic. In my Goodreads review, I described this book as a mix of The Devouring Gray (Christine Lynn Herman), The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater), and The Lost Coast (Amy Rose Capetta). It also had Claire’s signature “Evil entity guy that haunts young women” that you see In her other books, Furyborn And Kingsbane.
This book had a strong cast of complex female characters ranging from innocent to evil, and I really enjoyed it! There was also Zoey’s dad and her boyfriend Greyson plus Val’s demon as the only other male characters in the cast of main characters. (Also, Greyson is a whole ass mood with his always wanting to bake cookies when he is stressed)
This book was LGBT+ with Zoey being Ace, Val being (I think?) Bi and Marion being Lesbian. Each had their own emotional traumas they were working through and came together at the end at friends after being torn on all sides on whether they were friends or lovers or enemies throughout the book. The ending was very poetic in all of them coming together to fight off the group of men who thought they were saviors and instead defying all odds to prove them wrong and save the day (and each other) while they were at it. #GirlPower
I loved how this book went from atmospheric to creepy to supernatural real quick. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I loved it a lot. I wished we had gotten more of a redemption arc from Val but at the same time, I understand why she was left where she was in her arc. She has a lot of personal growth to undertake and I believe in her.
I’m glad Marion has Zoey and Val, to some degree, after losing members of her family in the ways that she did. She deserves it but I also honestly think she would benefit from getting the hell outta dodge and starting over with a lot of therapy.
In the end, I liked this book a lot, I adored these characters, and I enjoyed the villains. The super powers were an odd touch but I think they added something extra to the story that was kinda cool. I wouldn’t be mad if we got to read another book in this world that focused on one of the other dots on the map with a whole new cast of girls in a new city, but the ‘The Rock’ trio helped them by passing on their knowledge through, like, letters or an intense Skype session or something.
I Was hooked from the very beginning and I was breathless until the last page! I hope you all read this book, if not for the awesome plot and cast then for the representation and dry humor throughout.
This book seems ideal for mood-boards, so if you have them, send them my way!