I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
I feel like it is a big no-no when the letter from the editor in the beginning compares the book you’re about to read to Lord of the Flies by William Golding and then further states it is a more feminist take on the theme. That then not only sets up the expectation for the book to reach the standard of a staple, classic masterpiece, but then also has to make it into some sort of social movement piece.
And, while no one should really care about my opinion, I guess (or I’d be getting paid money to write these), but just because you have a 95% female cast of characters does not make it a feminist novel. Not every novel has to be contorted to fit into a social movement. And just because these characters are on an island and some of them die definitely does not make it anything close to Lord of the Flies.
I mean, the writing was spectacular. It is true that Power knows what she is doing and knows how to write strong, compelling sentences. But her writing style, in my opinion, does not fit in the YA genre. My girlfriend can attest to this next statement in that I fell asleep (yes, actually fell asleep in the middle of the day with this book in my hand) three times. The descriptions were extremely lengthy and repetitive throughout the novel, mimicking more of an adult fiction vibe. These descriptions, I feel, are going to have teens setting the book back on the shelf and moving on to something a little more action-packed.
That brings me to the next thing — there is no resolution, and basically, no point to this book. I just really felt that nothing happened in it. We had weird POV changes in the middle a few times that were promising, but, in the end, fell flat. Not to mention that you do not get any answers that you seem promised from the beginning. Having invested in a 350 page novel for no answers is beyond disappointing.
While I am still working towards my degree, I feel like I am more than adequately competent in reading deeper into literature, and I just couldn’t see this as having any feminist type themes minus the cast of characters being female (don’t even get me started on the editor comparing it to Lord of the Flies).
If somebody has the rest of this book and wants to send it to me, please email me.
tldr; this was a snooze fest with no payoff