Book review – Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Caidyn's review (1)

Sawkill Girls


CW: aphobia, racism, and child abuse

I enjoyed this one because it was so different. Earlier this year, I tried to read an ARC of Furyborn and didn’t enjoy it. So, I was hesitant about this one. And I ended up really loving it because it had a great cast of female characters and it really spoke to me.

Marion is new in town, her mom having taken the job as a housekeeper and bringing her and her sister to town. Zoey is disliked by everyone in town. Not just because she’s black or asexual, but also because she’s alienated nearly everyone. Val is the one we’d all think of as the “popular bitch,” but she has more going on in her life than meets the eye.

This book is different for sure, but I had things that I enjoyed. For one, the way diversity is included by there’s never any real definition of the diversity of the characters. It reminded me of Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton in that way, where the diversity is just there but there’s no need to state it. Such as, Marion is never described as lesbian or bi or pan, but she’s into girls. Zoey wasn’t revealed to be black or ace until way into the book, plus it’s just mentioned off-handedly that she’s in to both men and women. Val is never described as bi or pan, but she’s had relationships both with men and women.

It was wonderful to read that. That it was just a part of the story and never a huge deal. I like it when things aren’t made into a big deal.

I also enjoyed the plot, but there is a double-edged sword with that one. While it was definitely good and interesting, the progression felt off. I loved it when it more female-centric, just this family “curse” (in a sense) that was carried on generationally and may or may not be stopped.

But the second it expanded into some universe — especially so late in the book — my nose wrinkled a bit. It felt too much. Especially when it was combined with this man-hating theme.

Now, as a guy, I’m not against man-hating. We fucking suck most of the time, especially the older, white, cishet generation. So, I am for that man-hating. Hell, I can be man-hating, too. But I get tired of generalizations that all (or nearly all in the case of this book) men are bad and evil and all that. It gets tiring because one thing is that women don’t want to be generalized, yet there’s a lot of generalization of men.

In other words, it kind of grated at me since I hate generalizations of all types. Everyone’s unique.

I get it because of the current political and social climate — and you have to view the book in context — but it still was a little annoying. And I also thought it felt a little thrown in, not like it was developed.

So, in short, I loved the characters and the inherent diversity in the book that lacked labels, then the plot was good but there were little things that grated at me. Either way, this makes me want to try Furyborn again.

Talk to me!
Is this on your TBR? If you’ve read it, what did you think?
Am I off-base and/or wrong about my man-hating interpretation?

8 thoughts on “Book review – Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

  1. I LOVED this book, totally get the man-hating criticism, like there could have been 1 redeemable male character in the book maybe. It reads so much like a parable to me though that it didn’t bother me so much while reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think maybe it annoyed me because I’m seeing it in so many YA books these days. Like, I am 100% for man-hating and calling men out on their shit. But it’s kinda annoying. And I have a feeling that’s how women have felt for centuries. But the book was definitely good! Totally on my wishlist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah, totally understand that. So many YA trends come in waves like this. We’re due for more stories where that gender divide isn’t a focal point I think. You might dig The Brilliant Death!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mermaids/anything nautical was earlier this year. Then we have the BA girl groups who are fighting something… mainly evil men. I actually have that one checked out from the library right now! I’m hoping to get to it soon.

        Liked by 1 person

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