Just recently, I finished reading Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls. My full review can be found online here. I gave this book 4.5 stars (see my rating scale) and finished it in a week. There will most definitely probably be spoilers from here on out, so if you don’t want the dish, scroll alllll the way to the bottom to read my closing remarks.
TW: Shooting, sexual content, forced sexual relationships, swearing
Okay, now that it’s just us, let’s talk trash and sass.
Honestly, this was an amazing book through and through. The only thing I would note is that some backstory about (a) Zoey & Val’s dynamic and (b) Zoey & Grayson’s relationship would have been nice.
(a) Zoey hates Val and immediately points the finger at her as soon as something bad happens…why? We know that Zoey has a friend (Thora) who was friends with Val and ended up missing. But is that the root of the issue?
(b) Zoey is asexual. Trumpets for little-known/discussed LGBTQ+ rep, and a character of color (I assume black or mixed, because she is described as having an Afro)! It is mentioned that she was previously dating Grayson and that they had tried to have sex once but Zoey didn’t like it and so she broke the relationship off. Perfectly fine. Not everyone likes the mattress mamba. However, asexuality isn’t really explained to the uneducated reader. Maybe just a scene of a heart-to-heart between Zoey and Marion would have been nice?
(a) Literally everything. We’ve got a POC representing in our main cast in Zoey. All three of our main characters are in the LGBTQ+ community: Valerie is bisexual, Marion is a lesbian, and Zoey is asexual. Trumpets for representation. Trumpets for characters who are comfortable in their sexuality and express themselves.
(b) The mythos of Sawkill Island was well done. Marion, being the newcomer, knew nothing of the Collector. In various times throughout the book, more and more about the mysterious murdering Collector is revealed.
(c) World building. I believed it. I could smell the forest, and feel the rain on my skin. I understood the layout of the island, I walked place to place with the characters. I aligned myself with each girl, in turn, at different times.
(d) Emotion was there. I cried a few times in the story: poor Mrs. Althouse. Poor Marion. Valerie was a bit of a witch-with-a-capital-“b” but she didn’t deserve how her mother treated her. I also laughed a great deal. Zoey is super sarcastic and that vibes super well with me because sarcasm is my second language, after English.
I’d highly recommend this to anyone who is in the mood for a paranormal, spooky read. Great for fans of The Adventures of Sabrina, Haunting of Hill House, and American Horror Story. Some highlights include: LGBTQ+ rep, POC rep, girls helping girls, strong independent women who are actively working to smash the patriarchy. There is plenty of teenage angst to satisfy the Petty LaBelle in all of us balanced by just enough Bob-Ross-good-feelings.
So. Today’s question: What’s your favorite book with underrepresented characters (LGBTQ+ rep, POC rep, etc.)?