Nicole | 2/5/2014
" I really wanted to like this book, and I was so disappointed. I felt like there was just so much missing, it was predictable, and the ending left a lot of unanswered questions. The author, I think, writes short stories, maybe she should have stuck with keeping it a short story... "
Kerri | 1/31/2014
" This wasn't marked young adult but that's what it is, something you would see on the CW right after Gossip Girl. Not my cup of tea. "
Natalie | 1/27/2014
" I really, really wanted to like this book. A "magical realism" book about girl power set in Appalachia and blurbed by Karen Russell? Yes, please. Unfortunately, this book fell short in just about every way I can think of and I'm wondering if I need to re-think my trust in Russell. I think that all the components were there to make this an awesome book, but the writing just didn't come through. Most of the main events happened so quickly and were so easily brushed by that it didn't even appear as though they were important (for example, Mason's suicide happened so quickly and garnered so little attention, that I kept expecting him to pop back up). Another example, Kate's hair cut, which I guess should have been a big deal, but didn't play any real role in the actual story. And then there were all the things that happened that didn't really seem to matter at all. Why did Kate lose her virginity to Mason? (I mean, I know why the person Kate would have, but why was that relevant to the story?)
A few more issues:
I never could get a good grip on where this was meant to be set. Swan River, yes, yes, but where? Not Tennessee, but south of Tennessee, so maybe North Carolina? Georgia? I don't know. There were deltas, but also mountains (and also a fancy private school inexplicably in the middle of this dying town).
The fact that the town was dying was repeated, over and over, but there was no real answer other than that there was some bad juju going on there. This is such a missed opportunity, and actually a little insulting to those of us who do live in Appalachia, witness the poverty everyday, and know that there are very real and important reasons why towns like this are in trouble. I thought, for a moment, there was maybe a glimmer of hope when Maggie talked about becoming mayor to help Swan River, but then at the end, she'd given up on that dream and they'd all just left (as did the narrator, who apparently never wanted to return, even though Clancy was apparently pining for her).
Also, the very real environmental issues mentioned in the book were so glossed over that I don't think most readers would even give them a second look.
Again, I think that this could have been a great book; unfortunately, it wasn't even a very good one. "
Stephanie | 1/24/2014
" Meh. This one could have been better. An interesting idea, but kind of all over the place. Plus, it had an epilogue, which I am not really into. "
Seanna | 1/17/2014
" I absolutely loved this book. The writing gripped me from page one. "
Dee at EditorialEyes | 1/9/2014
" Review to come at EditorialEyes Book Blog "
Nora | 12/22/2013
" Interesting read. Not a true page turner but it kept my interest. I would recommend. "
Leila Cohan-Miccio | 12/21/2013
" Comes in just below So Much Pretty in the Overplaying Your Hand Awards of 2012. I saw the end coming about 20 pages in, so. "
LB | 11/19/2013
" Angry teen girls in an Appalachian boarding school who can fly and start fires by touch? Count me in! "
Sarah | 11/2/2013
" I think a 3.5 rating is probably more appropriate, but I didn't really love the ending. A quick, fun, ya read though... "
Kerry Cullen | 10/31/2013
" Marvelous concept, unsteady telling. "
Nicole | 10/21/2013
" I am not sure what to think of this book. I am left with mixed feelings. All I can say for sure is that the cover does NOT fit the atmosphere and tone of the novel at all. It's way darker and could probably be classified as adult rather than YA fiction even though the protagonists are teenage girls. "
Stacey | 7/6/2013
" Ok book, hard to follow at times. "
Japorter2 | 4/9/2013
" Very uneven, with an unsatisfying ending. "
Patricia Geller | 4/9/2013
" A very odd book about a small town and small girl's school in Appalachia. Full of magic, myth, emotion, and well written. A fun read. "
Doug Burris | 3/25/2013
" Loved it from the first page. Certainly related to the characters being from Southwestern Virginia. Leaves you with that 'wow' feeling. Great reading for men or women. "
Lauren | 3/24/2013
" The girls of Swan River aren't just wild - they're murderous! Mary Stewart Atwell's debut novel is more than your average coming-of-age story: it's dark and creepy and fantastic - I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this author! "
Debbie Carmichael | 3/16/2013
" An interesting read. The storyline was unique and the tension kept building throughout. The ending was disappointing, however. I'm not a fan of the main character. A little too melodramatic for me. "
Tan | 10/13/2012
" good.. kept me reading for hours, but could have been a bit better. reminded of Fallen. Definitely should be YA, not adult "