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.
Trigger / Content Warnings: animal death, (physical) assault, acephobia (challenged), blood, dismemberment/disembowelment (mentioned, seen briefly on page), emotionally and physically abusive parent (on-page violence), grief, mention of flaying, murder (sometimes described in graphic detail, bloody), shooting (shot in leg), spiders, sick
Sawkill Girls creeped me out so much that I had to fall asleep with the light on, too scared that I might conjure up images of The Collector in the dark. Yes, I am a giant wimp, but also the description was that vivid, the atmosphere so tangible, that it shook me (repeat, I am also just a giant wimp).
I really quite enjoyed Sawkill Girls, which says a lot, since I typically stay very far away from anything horror, since, as I mentioned once or twice already, I am a giant wimp… But Legrand was able to keep my eyes trained on the page, invested in the mythology of this monster, captivated by the narrative voice of the Rock, and just wondering what the heck is going on?!
I enjoyed that this had multiple POV’s, however Zoey’s felt the strongest to me – narrative voice, and personality. I feel like her character was more vivid, and her actions and motivations were much clearer than either Val’s or Marion’s. Which, to begin with, I understood that their pov’s might be more unreliable/unclear because they were. For example, Val – she is morally grey, and her pov often reflected that as it was not always clear where she stood. With Marion, her grief, and the supernatural, often confused her and her pov’s were filled with that chaos, with the reader having to sort through the noise with her. But this grew tiresome after the while, and it just begin to feel like it was poorer writing, as Legrand struggled to define who these characters exactly were and show their character ARC – it often just happened quite suddenly (despite the long page count!)
Additionally, I did find myself getting lost in the POV’s as I would lose track of whose chapter it was. I’d be like wait, this is Zoey’s perspective, no Val’s, and then the text would remind me who. It was only for a few seconds, but it was jarring and often took me out of the story, feeling frustrated.
But overall, I rate this novel four stars because it did create a fantastic atmosphere, having the Rock as a personified presence was interesting and well done, and I did genuinely enjoy the message about female empowerment, grief, forgiveness, and anger.