Trigger warning – sexual assault
Gillian French looks a lot like Gillian Flynn, and the san serif font makes it look like a Gillian Flynn novel but it’s not. The heady, sparse and evocative setting where a reckless beautiful young woman finds herself both at home and an outcast in a small town is a lot like Gillian Flynn but this is not Gillian Flynn. Even if the soft focus on small town fears , female relationships and toxic masculinity is like Gillian Flynn this is NOT Gillian Flynn.
What I’m saying is this book thematically (and physically) reminded me a lot of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, while remaining firmly rooted in it’s own originality. French is writing a love letter to the slow downed pace of life in small town rural Maine. Her descriptions are so rich and specific I could easily visualize it.
While there is no payoff for the sliver of suspense running through the book (that feels an awful lot like it was put in there for marketing purposes) there is something so effortless about how French leads us through Darcy’s summer as she hangs with her family, rakes blueberries and avoids the boy who broke more than her heart.
Darcy is one of these so called “unlikable” female characters, she doesn’t always make what is precieved as the right choices and she stumbles a lot before picking herself up.
A low key YA that I feel slid under the radar and is worth a second look !
Narrator Caitlin Davies brings an irreverent and discretely sarcastic voice to Darcy Prentiss, a reckless teenager who plans to keep her secrets close in the summer ahead. After all, living in a rural Maine town can be as tough as the barrens where Darcy, other locals, and migrants spend the summer harvesting blueberries. Davies mixes an array of curious and darkly accusatory voices for the locals, who wonder what Darcy knows about her missing ex-best friend. In particular, Davies creates a unique set of nurturing female voices for Darcy’s close matriarchal family, including her cousin Nell, who might let Darcy’s biggest secret slip. Clean writing and realistic dialogue make this an ideal audio experience, although the answer to the mystery may reveal itself earlier than intended to the listener with a keen ear. J.E.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: AUGUST 2017]