This book is, in essence, a bit of well-written fan fiction of a literary character that most people don’t give more than a passing thought to. It isn’t high literature. It isn’t meant to teach us things about the human experience. But, sapphic love is great and needs as much representation as possible, so cheers to that.
This book feels like a bit of a throwback to the more male-centered Thriller/Adventure novel and includes several familiar cliches and tropes, but it also can sit comfortably in the realm of Contemporary Fiction because while violence might be the beginning and end of the action, there is a lot of introspection and relationship building as well.
And no, it isn’t entertaining because of the plot. We all know what is going to happen and when and pretty much how. It is very close to a story via paint-by-numbers. So, what saves it? The characters.
It is an important book. Not just for broadening one’s horizons, but also as a historical document. This book was (and still is) very important to the canon of queer and trans literature. For that reason alone, it should be read by anyone who wants a decent working knowledge of queer/trans history.
As is common in the genre of romance (and in YA) there is not a lot of character development but there is a fair bit of personal drama and angst. And while the characters are interesting and their fashion senses are extremely on point, I will say that I wanted more.
I would recommend it to anyone who wants a ghost story fairy tale about magical woods and literary levels of how society treats outsiders. It isn’t overly spooky, but the prose is beautiful, the magic was folkloreesque, the ending satisfying, and bonus… a lesbian couple!
For the beach, for a plane, for something to read while sitting in the hammock sipping a diet coke… yes. This book isn’t going to change your life or be on any best-of lists. But it does exactly what a short summer read should do: tell a simple engaging story quickly and with very little fuss or muss
An easy light read tailor-made for the beach with the obvious happy ending, but it took too long to get to the resolutions, relied too much on clunky dialogue, and did more telling than showing. Still, enjoyable for what it is: an easy light read tailor-made for the beach.
This beautifully written novel is about what is wild and what we should fear. In the hands of a less skilled author, the connective tissue between the multiple plot lines would have been stretched too thin or been too tenuous to hold together. McConaghy, however, does a wonderful job of bringing her themes through all the various plot points and builds connections around them. What is wild vs civilized? How does the struggle between the two inform and reflect in our sense of family, community, fear of the unknown, and the question of how far we will go to protect what we hold dear?
I found it disjointed, long, confusing, and a bit cringe. The story is interesting but it gets really lost in the weeds. The devices of the double past and the withholding of information from the protagonist/audience wear really thin. The resolution is not quite worthy of the build-up.