Author: Eleanor Wasserberg
Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
A chilling, compulsive debut about group mentality, superstition and betrayal – and a utopian commune gone badly wrong
We were the Family, and Foxlowe was our home. There was me – my name is Green – and my little sister, Blue. There was October, who we called Toby, and Ellensia, Dylan, Liberty, Pet and Egg. There was Richard, of course, who was one of the Founders. And there was Freya.
We were the Family, but we weren’t just an ordinary family. We were a new, better kind of family.
We didn’t need to go to school, because we had a new, better kind of education. We shared everything. We were close to the ancient way of living and the ancient landscape. We knew the moors, and the standing stones. We celebrated the solstice in the correct way, with honey and fruit and garlands of fresh flowers. We knew the Bad and we knew how to keep it away.
And we had Foxlowe, our home. Where we were free.
There really was no reason for anyone to want to leave.
I think that the perfect word to describe this book is “haunting”. Not only will it haunt your thoughts as you read it, but it will also linger with you after you’ve put it down. It’s the type of book that makes you rethink subjects such as family, love, devotion, and beliefs. It’s a gripping book that you need to read slowly to comprehend. It’s hard to read long sections because of its intensity, while at the same time it is difficult to walk away because it’s so interesting.
It left such an impression on me that I rounded up my 4.5 stars to 5 despite the book’s main flaw: it leaves much to the reader’s imagination. When writers don’t supply us readers with all (or at least most of) the answers, the book generally loses a bit of its magic for me. Although I was disappointed by the book’s inability to fill in those gaps, I had a pretty good general idea of what happened, and for once, it didn’t affect how I enjoyed the story.
I have read other reviews that have compared this book to “Room” by Emma Donoghue, although with a darker spin. I’ve never read “Room”, but I know that both stories are mainly told through the eyes of a child. The narrator is Green, a young child at the beginning of the book who grows into a troubled young woman deeply affected by her past. To Green, elements of her narrative don’t require an explanation: the Spike Walk, the Bad, the Solstices… these were all part of her life, her core experience, and thus she didn’t always go into details when explaining these types of things. As I mentioned above, for once, it didn’t remove anything from my reading experience.
If the blurb above interests you, I would highly recommend this book. It’s not for the faint of heart — there are rather graphic descriptions of injuries and such — but it’s an intense book that has left a wonderful impression on me.
I received this book from a giveaway through Goodreads. Thank you, HarperCollins Canada!