Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of a summertime thriller in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.
Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her. Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work. And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.
I’m not usually one for creepy books – I tend to scare easily – but with Halloween right around the corner I found myself craving a scary read (MAYBE even a scary flick! But baby steps…), so the request for this review was perfectly timed. Pus I figured that even if it proved to not be scary at all, the plot sounded good:
“Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Stella came back. Jeanie never did. Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush—until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.”
Yes, please. I’ll take it.
After the first couple of pages I was really worried that I wasn’t going to be able to drag myself through this (lengthy) novel. I don’t like to be told every minute detail about characters’ personality traits; I want to SEE their personalities. There’s a difference. Like a HUGE difference. I decided to “put my kid gloves on” and read this novel like the debut novel that it is.
And then… right around chapter 3 or so… I took my kid gloves off. Sirowy really hit her flow about this time. Everything came together and the story came alive. I cancelled all my appointments and called in sick. I couldn’t put it down. I was terrified. Horrified. Totally grossed out. I freaking LOVED it!
As it says above, Stella was the survivor of a kidnapping. Her and her best friend were playing in the front yard when they were taken. Stella returned hours later completely unharmed and having absolutely no memory of what had happened. Red haired Jeanie was never seen again. No one was ever charged with the crime.
Now, eleven years later, on the anniversary of Jeanie’s disappearance, a little girl’s body is found, bearing a striking resemblance to Jeanie. Stella begins to have (terrifying) flashes of memory from the day Jeanie disappeared. When the police finally arrest someone for both crimes, Stella feels they have the wrong guy and sets out to prove it. With some help, she uncovers an ancient cultic ritual tied to a long history of red headed little girls disappearing from the area.
That’s when it gets terrifying!
"If you hunt for monsters, you'll find them."
Oh and yeah – there’s an awkwardly timed love story side plot that I could have done without. It would have been much better had it been kind of implied at the end of the book rather than smattered throughout the story in really odd scenarios. However, it barely takes away from the main story and I’m really looking forward to more from Alexandra Sirowy.
Alexandra lives in a small town in Northern California. Although it's fringed by forests and foothills like the town of Savage in THE CREEPING, it doesn’t have as many secrets (she thinks) or as dark of a history (fingers crossed). In addition to writing fiction, she loves traveling (Istanbul is her favorite), trees, lighthouses, seven layer cakes (who doesn’t?), running at dusk, music (the kind that makes your chest swell), and risky adventures. THE CREEPING is her debut novel. To learn more, visit her at alexandrasirowy.com and follow @AlexandraSirowy.
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