Read: 14th December 2018 – 20th December 2018
Spoilers in review: No
I finished reading this book over a week ago, and it’s taken me this long to be able to try and write a review of it. I’d given myself that time so that hopefully I could feel more confident discussing it, but I’ve had to accept that that’s probably not going to happen. This is a difficult one to to talk about.
Anna is a teenage girl who grew up in Birmingham. However, when she and her mother suddenly move to Scotland, she cuts contact with everyone she used to know. She’s deleted and deactivated all her social media accounts, she’s ditched her phone entirely, and she’s changed her surname. Something happened to her in Birmingham that she doesn’t want following her to Scotland. Unfortunately, it fairly quickly becomes apparent that she isn’t going to be that lucky. While this is happening, Anna develops an interest in a girl who was accused of witchcraft in the local area a few hundred years prior.
Like I’ve already said, this was a difficult read. Bates’ author’s note states that everything that happens to Anna, and some of the other girls, were taken from the real stories that have been told to her by real girls across the country. The thought that situations exactly like Anna’s are taking place every day is horrifying. This book could definitely be overwhelming at times, and reading it while already feeling emotionally fragile isn’t the greatest idea. I learnt that one the hard way.
The way that the pieces about the girl who was accused of witchcraft, Maggie, were written was really cool !! I love how Bates played with the pov in these sections. They were also really well written in their own right, and the last few were heartbreaking.
There were a couple of things in this novel that didn’t feel like they’d been followed through to their proper conclusions. Going through them all would look like I was being really nitpicky, but I can come up with quite a few fairly easily. I recognise that this is actually representative of real life. In reality, many things don’t get investigated until it’s all sorted and/or links together in a nice little bow, but in fiction it’s nice when it does.
I’ll be honest, going into this, the title, cover, and description had all had me convinced that Anna had been framed for arson. The truth was a lot less exciting, but I got over it quickly.
This is an important book, and I think that it’s a good idea for most people to read it.
I received an e-arc through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Review originally written in 2018