Title: The Roanoke Girls
Author: Amy Engel
Publication Date: March 9th, 2017
Page count: 276
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. – Goodreads
Warning: This book contains descriptions of sexual abuse, abuse and suicide.
Where do I start with this book? Oh my god, it’s messed up! I’m all for a messed up, twisted story but this was beyond that, this was disturbing. When I first read the synopsis I was so intrigued, I couldn’t wait to read it, but of all the things that I thought might have happened where wrong, the actual story to it all was so far from what I was thinking was going to happen. I really, really want to say one word that would sum it all up, but if I did then it would spoil the full book for those who haven’t read it yet and I don’t do spoiling books for people!
All I can say is everyone is so f*cked up in this book, near enough everybody has issues. The story left a really bad taste in my mouth once I finished with it and it’s not the type of story I’d like to read again. I enjoy messed up, I enjoy creepy but I don’t enjoy what this book made me feel, disturbed and just ICK.
The story begins with the main character, Lane, moving in with her grandparents after her mother committed suicide, along with her grandparent’s lives Lanes cousin, Allegra, it all seems to be the perfect place for Lane to be, she’s never had anybody who loved her or anyone who even noticed her for that matter so when she moves in with this side of her family who seems to have unconditional love for her, Lane is finally happy, she even ends up meeting her first love, Cooper.
Although life seems pretty good now, things are still all a bit strange, Allegra and Lane are going out with their boyfriends dressing inappropriately and wearing a lot of make-up for the attention, they smoke and drink while out and seem to be a little rebellious. Straight up I wanted to know where all the other Roanoke Girls where and why Allegra was also living with her grandparents, it’s all just a little odd. As the story goes on, more and more gets revealed and the pieces start coming together, by the end of the book all I could wonder was why people didn’t look into this family, why, from the start did they not question all the missing girls or the girls that didn’t go missing but died young. It’s all very unsettling, I didn’t enjoy reading about any of the characters, they were all very hard to like, the storyline is not one I would like to read about again and I think many people will decide not to read it when they find out what it’s all about.
I’m not sure I would put this book in the thriller genre, I think there should be a whole new category for these type of books, I expected one thing and got a totally different thing, if there was a genre more specific to what this book is (abuse), then I think I wouldn’t have given it a read.
That being said I would not put the author down for this, Amy Engel herself writes amazingly and I didn’t actually get bored of the book because of her writing. I enjoy her descriptions and she really knows how to create an image of all the characters in your head, the story just wasn’t for me. There weren’t any mistakes that I found so if there is any in the book they will be very minor, Amy is an interesting writer and I’d like to read more of her work.
Thank you, NetGalley & Crown publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.