The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel was a book that I had been highly anticipating since late 2016. I didn’t even know much about it, I just knew that it had Roanoke in the title and I had just completed that season of American Horror Story. I didn’t necessarily feel they were related, but my interest was certainly piqued.
I picked up The Roanoke Girls last night so I could read a chapter before bed, the entire book later, I was sitting there with my mouth open and thinking to myself “what did I just read?”
Dark, disturbing and electrifying, this one moved under my skin and settled there. I felt uneasy. I felt anxious. I couldn’t put it down. From the troubling family “birthright” to the incredibly messed up characters, I was sucked in.
The novel opens with Lane Roanoke, after time spent away from her family home, returning to help out after the disappearance of her cousin. Gran and Grandad welcome her back with open arms and she must confront bits of her past she had fled from years earlier. The Roanoke’s have a secret; a secret that is known but not spoke of; a secret that Lane has worked hard to avoid. Now, all of those secrets are coming back to haunt her.
Narrated in alternating sections between then and now. Then being when Lane first arrived at the farm for her grandparent’s care and now being the return to help find her cousin. Although the novel is narrated mostly through the eyes of Lane, we get a chapter thrown in every so often that gives a perspective from a dead or lost Roanoke girl. It was such an incredibly unique narrative style and I was completely gripped.
I know that people have been giving this one some mixed reviews and I could potentially understand why. The subject matter is dark. It will not be for everyone. It is not a “thriller” per say, more of a contemporary mystery surrounding one family’s dysfunction. However, for entertainment value? This one cannot be beaten.
And we also give a shoutout to Engel for her ability to throw on a new hat? From a YA novel to this. Wow.
I gave this one a 5/5 stars. AND it’s out today! So add this to your TBR lists. It is absolutely worth the read.