Review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand


Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand // VBC ReviewSawkill Girls
Claire Legrand
Published: Oct. 2, 2018 (Katherine Tegen)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Chelsea

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Unapologetic characters have long been my favorite. I want to read about characters with flaws, who are broken, but trying. Sawkill Girls gave me that in more ways than I expected.

There are three points of view in the book, and each young woman comes with her own issues. (Don’t we all?) Marion has found herself forced into that unthankful position of being the family bedrock. Her father died, but her mother hasn’t been able to really come back from that loss. As such, Marion can’t take time to grieve either. She cares for her mother and tends to her sister Charlotte. They move to Sawkill Rock for a fresh start, but it’s only a change for her mother and her sister. Marion is still the one tending to them both. She’s still caring and mothering and trying to find quiet moments to grieve.

Only Sawkill Rock has plans for Marion. She has an accident that leaves her with a pain and auditory sensations that are far more than a concussion. Is she ill? Is she hallucinating? Has her sister disappeared?

Zoey’s dad is the sheriff. Girls have been disappearing on Sawkill for decades. Zoey’s best friend was the last one to go, and her dad hasn’t found her. He won’t say she’s dead, either. No one will. Except Zoey, and that puts her on the outs with everyone else in the small community. She’s brash and she’s determined and she’s missing a filter between her brain and her mouth, but there’s this glorious focus to Zoey. Her constant quest for the truth, for redemption for her friend, for herself, and for her relationship with her ex-boyfriend/best friend will captivate any reader and make them want to back her—even when she’s going headlong into something that’s obviously going to make things worse. That’s kind of Zoey’s thing, too.

Finally, we have Val. She’s the kind of girl that everyone is supposed to want to be. Like her mother before her. Her family owns Sawkill, effectively. They control everything, and even the sheriff can’t stop Val from doing what she wants. There’s a thread of cruelty and casual violence throughout our early interactions with Val. She’s the bad one… right? In our very first chapter from Val’s point of view, we discover the dark places she’ll go, but when we learn why, the story gets truly intriguing. You’ll understand Val. I’m not sure that we’re to love her—though Marion might (#swoon)—but the harrowing insights into what Val’s life is life and how she’s been put into a role she didn’t choose makes her arc perhaps the most interesting.

Each of these girls has power in the book, and each is essential to the plot. The pacing cranks as the chapters progress until we’re left feeling like we’re charging through a supernatural thriller with horror hallmarks dropped for extra twists. The mythology behind the island and the monster mythos (both mortal and less so) took a different track than expected.

If you like creepy ambiance and stunning character arcs, Sawkill Girls will captivate you. The novel deserves some extra points for a romantic subplot with layers that balances the gasp-inducing chemistry of falling in love amid the shock of thrilling twists.

Sexual content: Sex

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