Quick review for a progressive read. Claire Legrand’s “Sawkill Girls” was an enthralling read for me for the most part. Probably the most notable complaint I had in retrospect with it was that the pacing dragged its heels in moments where the action felt like it was ramping up, which undercut some of the tension it chose to show in some of the book’s heavier moments. Yet when this book hit home with its eerie, creepy, and jarring factors, it did so with wonderful prose – sprinkling nice focal points of character development, humor, and horror all in one.
The story centers around three girls who live in the same small island, Sawkill Rock. Val, Marion, and Zoey all have their respective parts to play in the overarching mystery behind a series of disappearances that have rocked the island for decades. The fact that the characters are so diverse and were so well established in the beginning of the novel had my attention from point one. I really liked learning about these characters and felt invested as specific revelations were made in the girls’ lives in addition to the creepy evil creature at the center of the horrifying events on the island. I definitely came to the mid-point of this novel thinking “ZOMGGGGG, 5-stars, close to being my favorite of the year because it’s so deliciously creepy yet evocative of a lot of contemporary issues and clashes all in one.” Being able to see their relationships, the secrets, the betrayals, and revelations was definitely strong for a time as the novel marched to its climax. However, it definitely felt like in the last third of the novel that it struggled to get to some of those more harrowing moments of resolution, and I could tell in the pacing of the plot that it was trying to get past the climax to the conclusion with some blips in momentum. The audiobook narration reflected this struggle in pacing as well, though the narrator (Lauren Ezzo) did a phenomenal job of establishing the character voices and the harder hitting moments of conflict.
Overall, it would likely be a novel that I’d pick up again for the better moments of its creep factor. It’s not a perfect novel but it’s definitely one that I’ll remember and made an impression on me for its better moments. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Legrand in the future.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.