By Amy Engel
Goodreads Rating: 3.75
Genre: Psycho Mystery & Adult Contemporary Mix
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Format Read: Hardcover
Goodreads Summary: Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
wow. just wow. This book took me on an absolute roller coaster of emotions and I’m not even sure what to say. First off, the synopsis gives literally nothing away so I’m going to have to keep this review super vague to avoid spoilers. Second, if you are worried about triggers then I would head straight down to the trigger section, which does contain spoilers, written in white so that you have to highlight over it to read it.
Back to the review. I LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!! It was so intriguing, I couldn’t put it down, and the whole weird relationship between the characters drew me in. Amy Engle normally writes YA and this CERTAINLY wasn’t that, but I think it still gave her a better perspective on the younger characters (there were flashback chapters and present time chapters) than most adult authors had, because everything felt so REAL. I had been reading this before bed for a few minutes each night, but I had to stop doing that and bring it out into the real world and binge it in 2 days because it was THAT. GOOD. Once you get into it you won’t want to put it down, I promise.
I know I normally do the characters section first, but I felt like with this book I literally couldn’t. What I loved about this book is that it was told from dual time frames, but with the same perspective in each– Lane Roanoke. In one perspective, Lane was just arriving at her grandparent’s house, known as Roanoke, for the first time as a 15 year old (I think) and in the other time frame, Lane was coming back to Roanoke as an adult. It was her first time back in 10 years, because she ran away from the place and hated its disgustingness. She only comes back because her cousin, Allegra, has gone missing.
This was fabulously done because the author managed to flip back and forth while giving away simultaneously nothing and everything, twisting their lives together, and making everything exceedingly confusing and yet simultaneously perfectly clear to the reader. And when it revealed everything in dual format like that, you suspected everyone of hurting Allegra, and guessed at (yet tried to ignore) the sick truth of the matter.
Also, it made everything feel like a time warp, because stuff repeated itself in the two time frames slightly, but not exactly, which kept the reader guessing but helped to promote Lane’s perspective that “everything was exactly as it was 10 years ago” and honestly I loved the whole story.
Everything moved at just the right speed. You grew attached to the characters and felt like you understood them, but yet there was always action and stuff happening and sick revelations and it made me fall in love.
Lane is the main character. As a child, she was naive and yet the opposite of, a wonderful mix for a 15 year old. As an adult, she was experienced and knowledgeable and yet had a hard time making decisions, and I think it was her strength and yet fallibility that made me fall for her (In the most non-romantic way possible).
Allegra was only there in the past, since she is missing in the present. She’s such a wild crazy teenager and yet she has secrets, dark secrets, and that’s her allure.
Granddad was portrayed in so many different ways it was honestly just crazy.
and Cooper is perfect and Cooper and Lane I ship them so much asdfghjkl I don’t know how else to explain it.
Engle did such a fabulous job of creating 3D characters who felt real, and that’s what made the book so so disturbing. The characters came alive on the page and you understood them, even the ones you would rather not understand.
The writing style was incredible. I don’t have the book with me right now, but Engle used so much beautiful descriptive language that everything was SO VIVID. I normally don’t picture things that well, but with this book I was forced to because it was painted there for me. It wasn’t a separate paragraph description type book either (which put me to sleep) it was word choice and subtle details that put this out above the rest.
The romance in this book was fucked, because everyone was so messed up and crazy, but the way the romance worked made it real and not cliche at all.
The whole idea was really unique and cool so I liked that. Other people I talked to didn’t, and although I’m not condoning* it, I still liked reading about it? idk I just did
*I promise I’m really really not, and if you read the book you know why. Also Mahriya told me how to do little font so now I wanted to try it and copy everyone who already does this hahaha
There was a LOT of sex happening so if you’re offended by that then this is not the book for you, at all. We had inappropriate sexual relations (see the trigger), friends with benefits situations, 15 year olds having sex, and just generally a lot of sex. So yeah.
I’m going to put as non-spoilery spoilers in the bullets, and then you can highlight over to get more detail
- Suicide– Lane’s mother commits suicide in the beginning of the novel, and it is talked about, although it’s not central to the plot. some people wondered if Allegra killed herself, although Lane never did.
- Depression– Lane’s mother was very, very depressed. She had many incidences of depression that Lane recalls, and it seems like Lane is pretty low down herself, although I don’t know if depression is actually the right word for Lane.
- Not “normal” sexual content– THIS IS THE BIGGEST SPOILER OF THEM ALL SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT PLEASE DON’T READ THIS… Grandad literally has sex with all of the “Roanoke Girls” including Allegra, who we actually “see” having sex with him. He loves them, or so he says, and it is consensual, but they start at 13 years old, it’s incest, and granddad is married to Gran. so it’s fucked up on all sorts of levels… THIS IS THE BIGGEST SPOILER OF THEM ALL SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT PLEASE DON’T READ THIS
- Miscarriage– Allegra miscarries all of her babies, and you hear about how she feels and what happens
- Cutting– I’m like 90% sure that this is the way Lane’s mother kills herself. Also, Allegra carves words into wood, which I know isn’t the same as cutting, persay, but it had that ring to it and sort of reminded me of cutting, so if I could be triggered by it I decided I’d better include it.
This was a wonderfully disturbing novel that I could not put down. I’m going to look at her other books now, because although I doubt they’re anything near as messed up, since they’re YA, Engle’s writing style was really really good. So… if you like sexy thrillers with messed up relationships and drama, this is for you!!!
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads
Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected the content of my review.
Have you read The Roanoke Girls? Or any other Amy Engle books? Do any books that you’ve read sound similar that you can recommend?
Check out my Social Media:
~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~