Before I even begin a review, I want to say that this book is surrounded in controversy because of the main theme of the story. There are severe triggers for some people, so please be aware of those before reading this book! Even if the topic isn’t a trigger for you personally, please know that it may still invoke some extremely uncomfortable reactions. (Read the official synopsis here.)
It’s honestly pretty tough to give a good review of this book without spoilers. Basically, the Roanoke girls come from a complicated – disturbing – past that finally catches up to them. When Allegra goes missing, Lane returns to the haunted house she fled from so many years ago and confronts the truth once and for all.
“You can’t outrun what’s inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try and turn it into something better. I may not know exactly where I’m headed, but this time I’m choosing my own destiny.”
I understand why so many people are upset with the content of the story, but it didn’t deter me from wanting to read it. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but by the time I fully understood what was going on, I was already hooked. I had to know what happened! The author, Amy Engel, doesn’t sensationalize the misconduct; instead, she offers it as an explanation for the behavior of the Roanoke family members.
“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
The story is dark and twisted. While it is somewhat predictable, I found I couldn’t put this page turner down and read it just one sitting. As the familial patterns revealed themselves, I wanted Allegra and Lane to escape the horrendous lives they knew in rural Kansas and reinvent new lives for themselves. I found that I was rooting for these final two girls in hopes that the cycle would finally be broken and that they would finally know what true love and happiness means. While my wish was halfway granted, the journey to find out what happened with Allegra provided Lane the final push she needed to do better for herself and her life. I was filled with hope for her as the book came to a close.