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…
Agghh, I’ve never done one of those “5 star predicted reads” posts, but this would have definitely been on that list, so I’m super disappointed that I’ve only ended up giving this a 3 star rating… I was so sure I was going to love it! This was an underwhelming read for me.
I want to start by saying that the shock subject matter of this book isn’t what had brought this book down in my eyes. I knew what the book was going to be about before I went into it, so it wouldn’t be fair to judge it based on that anyway, however the controversial themes in this novel is what drew me to it to begin with. My bookish interests lie with the macabre and disturbing.
I personally didn’t feel there was anything wrong with the writing or the characterisation in this novel. I really enjoyed Engel’s use of alternating chapters between past and present, and the occasional POV change too. I think it added to the menace and tension building throughout. As for characters, where other people felt they didn’t get to know Lane, Allegra, Cooper and Co. well enough, I think that was an intention by the author. The Roanoke Girls never really knew themselves, so how were we supposed to get to know them?
My issue with this book ended up lying with the story. I thought the idea of Allegra’s mysterious disappearance from a sick and troubled home would create and interesting fast-paced thriller read, but it didn’t feel like that in the end. In fact this story felt reasonably slow paced and focused on the progression of the character lives more than it did the actual disappearance.
There was also a lot of romance in this book that bored me. Not the icky romance that this book focuses its story around, but the genuine romance between Lane and Cooper. We couldn’t get away from their damaged relationship in either the past or present sections of the book.
At 60% I thought that maybe there was a big crescendo ending that made this book the 5 stars everyone gave it, so I was eagerly reading to find out what the twist could be… but… in the end there was no twist really. It ended with a resolution I fully expected which left me feeling really deflated.
After everything’s said and done, this book was very depressing, and I couldn’t ever really get over the sadness that seeped from the pages. I would definitely give Engel’s work another try, and I liked her writing style, however this one didn’t work for me the way I had hoped it would.