by Amanda Linsmeier
Indie Author: No
Kindle Unlimited: No
Publication Date: 6.27.23
Page Count: 331 Pages
A dark YA fantasy debut perfect for fans of House of Hollow and Small Favors. In the wake of her father’s death, a teen girl discovers a side of her family she didn’t know existed, and is pulled into a dark—and ancient—bargain she is next in line to fulfill.
Kit’s father always told her he had no family, but his sudden death revealed the truth. Now Kit has a grandmother she never knew she had—Agatha Starling—and an invitation to visit her father’s hometown, Rosemont.
And Rosemont is picture perfect: the famed eternal roses bloom all year, downtown is straight out of the 1950s . . . there’s even a cute guy to show Kit around.
The longer Kit’s there, though, the stranger it all feels. The Starling family is revered, but there’s something off about how the Starling women seem to be at the center of the all the town’s important history. And as welcoming as the locals are, Kit can’t shake the feeling that they’re hiding something from her.
Agatha is so happy to finally meet her only granddaughter, and the town is truly charming, but Kit can’t help wondering, if everything is so great in Rosemont, why did her father leave? And why does it seem like he never wanted her to find it?
This book is creepy in all the right ways.
The discovery of family secrets is often unsettling, especially when a parent goes to great lengths to attempt to keep them buried. But this book left me questioning what was free will, and what was the will of the spoiler alert. Look talking about this book is going to be hard.
From page one something is off about the town, the people and especially Kat’s grandmother. Knowing that a secret is going to be revealed from the beginning had me questioning the motives of every person Kat interacted with. While there were definitely chapters that I wish went deeper, over all the book is a frightening read into the town that could have been any small town.
You’re going to love this book if you enjoy magic hidden in plan sight, characters that make deals with the enemy to protect the ones they love, and strong female leads. While Kat is only in high school and still trying to find herself, she is written beautifully. With the fearless spirit of a young one that doesn’t know the word submission.
I was a little sad at the ending, (spoiler starts)I would have rather the town not suffer, but I guess they did spend decades sacrificing one family so they could live in luxury, so maybe they did deserve to lose the town in the end. Mostly I was sad Kat left her family home and heritage. That would have been marvelous to inherit. Just not in a monstery town with haters.(spoiler ends)
The YA characters are well written, without any of the yucky stereotype traits. The themes and use of roses and Starlings were well laid out as well. So much symbolism and deeper meanings.
Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book.