The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Mild Spoiler Alert:

The Roanoke Girls is a story of mystery, intrigue, and sadness. You will be pulled in to a struggle of mental illness, self discovery, and a disturbing tale quite like The Flowers in the Attic. This is one is a real page turner and, yet, will leave you conflicted and slightly confused. The Roanoke girls begins in the past after Lane’s mother commits suicide and she is taken to live with her grandparents Lillian and Yates (on her mother’s side). She stays for a summer with her cousin Allegra and becomes involved with a boy named Cooper. Years later she receives disturbing news that Allegra has gone missing and comes back home to confront her past and find Allegra. What she figures out on her path to self discovery and her search for Allegra is haunting and she has to come to terms with the devastating past of her family and the mistakes she has made with Cooper.

I have very conflicting feelings about this book. Amy Engel did an amazing job with making this story come to life within the pages. Her writing style is gripping and satisfying and yet, she felt the need to add in so much sex and crudeness to the story. I have never been a fan of detailed sex scenes in a book or the use of crude sexual terms in the description of these scenes and, though I see the necessity of the sexual interactions in the story, I feel like they could have been described more tastefully.

The story itself was both attention grabbing and disturbing at the same time. The content of the story is comparable to The Flower in the Attic and the depths of how far this situation goes is quite discomforting. I truly feel like every single person in the Roanoke family suffered from some form of mental illness or disturbance. Lane seemed to be the only character of the family that was not completely stricken with these mental issues, though she had plenty on her own.

It was mildly difficult to get past the content of the situation of what has been going on within the Roanoke family, but it is what kept me turning the pages at the same time. The story felt real and Lane’s character jumped from the pages. Allegra’s character seemed a smidgen unbelievable at times with her outward rebelliousness and her over sexualization of daily life. I had suspicions from the beginning about what it was that Grandpa Yates was involved in, but it took me a little while to figure out what happened to Allegra and who was involved.

Boy is it hard to write a detailed review about this one without giving away the main plot twists of the story. I enjoyed this book and felt mildly disturbed and disgusted at the same time. I would recommend it to mature audiences only.

Thank you to Blogging For Books for providing me with this free review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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