Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
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.
3.5 stars, rounded to 3
There were a lot of things about this book that I enjoyed, and I have very few negative things to say about it. The only reason the rating is somewhat low is because it didn’t quite click with me, you know? But for me, 3.5 stars means that I really enjoyed it.
I loved all the characters. Marion was great and probably my favourite perspective. She was super interesting and I loved reading about her and her internal struggles. Val was also an amazing character. Getting to know her was so much fun, and she’s much more complex than first glance. Zoey was also great, but she was probably the one I got most frustrated with. She was super realistic, which I think is what was why I found her annoying.
I really liked how this book is largely focused on three girls, and how there was minimal girl-on-girl hate. The girl-on-girl hate that is present is founded, makes sense, and is eventually overcome. It was really refreshing to read a book with a cast of girls and not have to cringe through unfounded hate.
ALSO the diversity!! There’s an ace character, a f/f romance, a fat main character, a black main character. It was so great. And there was almost no homophobia or fatphobia, and what little there was was almost immediately challenged. There was a tiny bit of acephobia, but it was challenged right away and the character apologized. I loved that the ace character got a happy romantic ending, too. It was so great to see that explored with her love interest and it made me so happy.
I also loved that we got the perspective of the rock
(not Dwayne Johnson). I’ve always loved personification in the way it happened here. It was super interesting, and I just loved it? I’ve always loved the idea of the Earth being “sentient”, if that makes sense?
The plot was great. I thought it was really interesting and moved along at a good pace. You get thrown in immediately, which is always good. I really liked the paranormal aspect of it and thought it was really well done. It was also so interesting, and Legrand is super creative. I also really appreciate the feminist undertones throughout this book.
Despite being thrown into the plot immediately, though, I had a hard time being engaged. I can’t describe it, really. I think I was super busy with school at the time and wasn’t able to invest as much into this book as I wanted to. I think this was definitely a me issue rather than a book issue.
I think the one issue I had with this book was the secret society. I just,,,,, idk guys. I love the idea of there being secret societies in real life, but I can’t really deal with it in books. One of my biggest pet peeves in any media is the “AHA there’s a secret society that’s actually been controlling everything that’s happened to you for the past 20 years” trope (looking @ you, James Bond AND Mission Impossible). Just the fact that there would be a centuries-old society of men who make young women fight to the death? Is the metaphor realistic? Yes. Do I appreciate (and agree with) what Legrand was going for? Yes. Was the actual execution realistic? Not for me at least.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it. I think if you read primarily YA and want to try some more “adult” books or older YA, this would be great. It would also be perfect for the fall time. Also if you don’t really read paranormal, I think this would be a good place to start.
But what about you? Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Would it have been better with Dwayne Johnson? Let me know!!