Sawkill Girls

Whoa, what a ride. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand was well worth the rough day I had after staying up late into the wee hours of the morning to finish this excellent book.


Goodreads Synopsis: 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. “

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I don’t think that synopsis does this book justice. Sawkill Girls was so good I’m gonna swear on the Internet!

Holy hell, if you’re looking for something smart, snarky, scary, and fun this is it.

When I read anything YA, I want it complex and confident about its audience’s intelligence and this book…whew… hits the nail on the head.

There are diverse characters, LGTBQIA relationships, nontraditional/non hetero-normative gender roles, consent is presented well AND let me just drop my favorite quote:

“Girls hunger. And we’re taught, from the moment our brains can take it, that there isn’t enough food for us all.”

Somebody help me up the truth just knocked me down! Claire Legrand in two sentences explained my experience as a woman, an actress, and female identifying working professional.

This book doesn’t shy away from gore which, I’ve noticed some YA books with girls as the leading characters often do, or worse they use flowery prose to cover up blood and gore. We’re women not hothouse flowers, y’all.

Romantic relationships in the book were also well done, with a deft hand, no love triangles (thank god).

I did have a moment mid-book where I thought things were taking a derpy turn, and this great book was going downhill with the appearance of male “heroes” coming in to save the day but instead this book is fiercely fucking feminist (excuse my French and love for alliterations but truth is truth). Another gem I love:

“Screw that book,” said Val. “It was written by men.” She held out her free hand to Marion. “We are rewriting it.”

Clearly I loved reading this book.

Somewhere after 2am I knew I needed to call it, and take my ass to bed, but I couldn’t. I was so deep in this book about these special girls I couldn’t put it down. I had to finish it.

The only thing I hated but came around to was the weird man-cult (Legrand’s words not mine), yeah we needed them to represent the patriarchy/mansplainy pseudo villains, but I cared less about them and more about the Collector.

If you’re looking for a dark, atmospheric, creepy read with kick ass heroines and monsters this is it.

I give this book a solid 5/6 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Grab it, read it, and let me know what you think:

The Black Witch


The Black Witch by Laurie Forest, was supposed to be my hot date on a Friday night but it ended up being a blind date gone awry. One thing that gets me going is a long ass book, and I was so excited to dive into this one (hello check out the endorsement from Tamora Pierce on the cover) but very quickly it became apparent that The Black Witch was not going to be anything like what I anticipated.

Goodreads Synopsis: "Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear."


Let's start with the good. Laurie Forest is a fantastic writer when it comes to style. She built a world so compelling I did not like 90% of its inhabitants. 

Now for the bad, this book is slow going which would be fine if the payoff at the end was worth it and sadly that's not the case in The Black Witch. Elloren aka Ren our protagonist is seemingly on what would be a redemption arc but its so poorly executed I found myself wishing she would be killed off or knocked upside her head once or twice more by the other kitchen workers at Verpax University. 

At one point, Ren allows her pseudo boyfriend/stalker/boss/companion dude to intervene in a dispute and he does so by threatening to send a child off to labor camp to meet almost certain death. CLASSY. 

I get it the author's goal was to present a world so blinded by their religion and prejudice that they could not see the truth of the world around them BUT Ren was so unlikable for so long it didn't matter that she eventually (sort of) came around. Her favorite class for most of the book is the class with only Gardnerian students and a full tea service, essentially a revisionist history class, and she feels little to no remorse for murdering her roommates pet chicken, and tells her **SPOILER ALERT** gay brother to keep his sexuality secret because its "too dangerous". All of this would work out to be a great redemptive arc for her if she turned the corner quicker but by the time she'd grown even a little bit as a character I had her firmly in my dislike column. 

I'm curious to see if things change in then next book in this series but would want to wait till I can snag it at the library. 

Would I recommend this book? ...maybe... 2.5/6 stars ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Snag a copy on Amazon today and let me know what you think!