[REVIEW] The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel @HodderBooks

I was so excited when I got an email from NetGalley saying that The Roanoke Girls is READ NOW for a limited number of members and then with the speed of ten cheetahs I ran and clicked the button. I’ve read many reviews of this book and what intrigued me from the start was the darkness and strangeness of it. The Roanoke Girls is very interesting and very shocking.

After her mother’s suicide fifteen year old Lane Roanoke is taken in by her grandparents on their family estate somewhere in Kansas where things are not what they seem. Lane knows very little about her mother’s time on the estate but what she knows is that her mother ran away without ever speaking to her parents again. It is in this place that Lane meets Allegra, her wild cousin, who is being raised by Gran and Grandpa. Both Roanoke girls become close and go on many adventures in town but underneath Allegra’s presence lies something dark and twisted which soon Lane uncovers but the discovery becomes so shocking that it makes her flee the estate keeping very little contact with her cousin. She is called back to the estate many years later by her grandfather because of Allegra’s mysterious disappearance. Lane knows the dark secret this place holds and she isn’t quite sure that Allegra left willingly. Her appearance in town lights a fire on an old romance but also makes her have to deal with the darkness she tried  so hard to avoid. Will Lane be able to find the truth behind her cousin’s disappearance and will she be able to escape the darkness that has followed a generation of the Roanoke girls?

“Sometimes it’s a revelation, even to me, how much more comfortable I am with cruelty than with kindness.”

I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll keep my thoughts spoiler-free. The Roanoke Girls isn’t a book you’ll usually stumble upon as well as the themes in it. This book won’t be for everyone and I have seen a few DNFs of it because of the major theme in it. Having read Gather the Daughters and pretty much loving it I was very excited to start this one because I love reading stories that are twisted and unusual and that show us humans and our darkest sides. I think that we all love finding out more about how cruel and deviant people can be and these kinds of stories intrigue us but at the same time repulse us. This is the first time I’ve read a book that deals with this subject matter so openly and because it’s the main theme in the story I felt very uncomfortable reading it at times but couldn’t stop looking away because I wanted to find out more. I think it’s best if you go into this book blind but reading a few reviews would be OK as well as knowing that it deals with many themes that some people will find triggering. The Roanoke Girls is definitely not for everyone because if you don’t like dark tales you won’t be able to get past first fifty pages. I have had some discomfort reading this book but that’s solely because of the main theme and this book isn’t a five star material for me. The story could’ve been better fleshed out and the scenes ended abruptly at times. I like that it had an adequate resolution to it and we got the see Lane’s ‘somewhat’ character development towards the end.

“…sometimes you have to hurt people just to prove you’re alive.”

If you’re not squeamish and like reading books that show the worst in people then this is the one for you.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher (Hodder & Stoughton) for allowing me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

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Amy Engel is the author of THE BOOK OF IVY young adult series. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS (March 7, 2017), is her first novel for adults.