Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl.
But you won't when you know the truth.
Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family's rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls.
But what she doesn't know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice...
I'd been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it on Goodreads. So I was very excited when I received a review copy last week.
Thank you so much, Hachette Australia! :)
When Lane gets a call from her grandfather because her cousin is missing, she rushes back to the small town of Osage Flats in Kansas. Heads back to Roanoke, the lopsided house where she spent a summer after her mother died. The same place she thought she'd found a real family. Where she discovered the ups and downs of true friendship with Allegra, the bittersweet highs and lows of her first coupling with Cooper, and a real sense of belonging.
It's also where she uncovered some awful family secrets. Secrets that turned her mother into an uncaring wreck and shaped her young life into a twisted existence. Years later, she's still running away from everything that happened.
Going back means facing the grandparents she can't stand, the boy she walked away from, and the harsh truth she's avoided for so long. But she has to do this, she owes it to the Roanoke girl she left behind...
This book is horrifying.
I love reading stories set in small towns as much as I enjoy a good family secret mystery, but this was totally messed up. And I mean it in every sense of the word. What happens within the walls of this eerie, weirdly-built house is bad. Really bad.
But I couldn't look away. Didn't want to look away because it was SO GOOD.
Of course, it helps that the book is so well written. And that the alternating Then and Now POVs complement each other perfectly as the story unravels and all the secrets start pouring out. Even the brief surprise POVs add another layer to this creepy family saga.
The characters are often unlikeable, but so raw and well developed that they get under your skin. Even the narrator Lane got on my nerves many times because of just how cold and mean she could be. How much easier she found it to hurt others instead of accepting her emotions. Because the characterisation is so darn good, everything fit together in a sad and demented way. Right to the very shocking end.
The Roanoke Girls is an intriguing, yet heartbreaking book that hooked me in with its haunting narrative from the very beginning. It's a page-turner that sinks its horrific claws in quickly, and doesn't let go. Even when the very disturbing secrets spill freely and I was totally disgusted by what's clearly going on, I just couldn't turn away. I had to keep reading, hoping for a satisfying end to conclude such a bleak story. And it didn't disappoint.
I have to admit that it's a bit hard to review this book without including the shocking spoilers, but it's better this way.
I enjoyed this book so much. It's really something!The Roanoke Girls, March 2017, ISBN 9781473648395, Hodder & Stoughton