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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel - Review

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Where did I get it? I got it from Hodder & Stoughton from Netgalley, so thank you very much to them 

What's it about? When Lane Roanoake is fifteen years old, her mum, who ran from the Roanoke house when she was sixteen and pregnant with Lane, kills herself in their apartment in New York, leaving Lane all alone. Theirs has not been an easy or happy relationship. Lane doesn't know why Camilla left her family and her small Kansas town, but that's where she finds herself over the summer she turns sixteen, when her grandparents agree to take her. 

Roanoke is a huge ranch miles out of town, with a strange house, inhabited by Allegra, Lane's cousin, daughter of Camilla's sister Eleanor, and Lane and Allegra's grandparents. There is a strange undercurrent in the house. As Allegra says, all the girls either die, or they run. Lane is uncomfortable, but doesn't, at first, know the ugly truth about the family.

Meanwhile, desperate to escape, the girls spend their evenings with Allegra's boyfriend Tommy and his friend Cooper, who Lane starts a relationship with. 

In a dual storyline, set in the present of 2015, Lane is back at Roanoke because Allegra is missing. It is ten years later and Lane has been in California for the past decade, ever since she left Roanoke. She meets Tommy, now married and the local cop, and Cooper, who she starts a relationship with again. She's determined to find out what has happened to Allegra and expose the secrets of Roanoke for good. 

What age range is it for? Adult, totally. This is a disturbing and uncomfortable novel. That isn't to sad it's bad, but it is terrifying in parts. There is rape, abuse, and lots of sex. Take care of yourself. This is a book for adults and discerning readers. 

What criticisms do I have? It was probably just because I was reading a proof copy but the switches between the two time periods were sometimes really confusing. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes, if this type of thriller is your thing. I feel like this fits nicely into the Gone Girl kind of genre. Those thrillers that are twisty and turny and which keep you turning the page. While I didn't feel like we got a good picture of Lane as a rounded person, I did like her. I liked Cooper a lot too, I think he was a bit of a dish and said all the right things. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I was just scrolling through my Kindle and started reading it, and then I got hooked and read it really quickly. 

What other books is it like? While it does fit with books like Gone Girl, I think it also has a feel of The Virgin Suicides about it. 

How many stars? Four out of five, Claustrophobic and atmospheric. I would definitely read something else by the same author. 

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