Book Reviews

{Review} SAWKILL GIRLS, by Claire Legrand

Genres: Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fantasy, Dark Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Girls & Women, Horror, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense, Women Sleuths, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover

From the New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn comes a breathtaking and spine-tingling novel about three teenage girls who face off against an insidious monster that preys upon young women. Perfect for fans of Victoria Schwab and Stranger Things.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: The newbie. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: The pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: The queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives; a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.

3.5 Stars.

Buy on Amazon: eBook | Paperback | Hardcover

Horror After Dark Review

SAWKILL GIRLS is the first novel I have read by author Claire Legrand. Although it is listed as YA, I would say that some of the scenes were for a more mature audience.

Marion, her older sister Charlotte, and their mother, are moving to the Island of Sawkill following the tragic death of their Father. The Island is like a land all of its own, complete with its own police department, and the obligatory “rich family” who have been there for generations.

It’s also a town that has an unusual number of missing girls.

“Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home and won’t let you sleep.”

Legrand quickly establishes the key players in this story. The “mystery” is also shown right away–at least the what part of it is. The why is the half that this novel concerns itself with.

“. . . if there’s a place in the world where crazy shit could and would happen, it’s in the Sawkill Woods.” 

I really enjoyed the first half of the novel. Getting to know our main characters, the interactions between the people on the island, and the escalating disappearances made me more eager to find out what was really behind everything. The scenes of the forest were especially well detailed, and made me feel the wrongness that presided there.

The one part of the book that just didn’t feel “realistic” to me was the relationship between a few of the characters. Two, in particular, just didn’t make any sense at all to me, and unfortunately, made the last half of the story feel as though it lacked the intensity of the first. This was only my personal reaction, as I love escaping into the reality of another world in a book, and when part of that credibility didn’t fit, my illusion–and enthusiasm–was diminished considerably.

Aside from that, Legrand did a good job in revealing the heart of the matter in small increments. Some of the scenes were still able to pull me in and allow me to feel like an observer watching things unfold.

“. . . Can I just say that I’m really disturbed by the number of secret rooms on this island?” 

Overall, there was a lot I enjoyed in this novel. The location, folklore, and origins given were well done and felt like something “new”. Even though I didn’t find a couple of the characters believable in the context of this story, the central idea kept me interested until the end. I would certainly read more of this author’s work in the future.

About The Author

About Claire Legrand

Claire Legrand is the New York Times-bestselling author of FURYBORN, the first book in the Empirium Trilogy, as well as the YA horror novel SAWKILL GIRLS and the Edgar Award finalist SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS. Her other novels include THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, WINTERSPELL, and FOXHEART. She is one of the four authors behind THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, an anthology of dark middle grade fiction. She lives in New Jersey, where she works as a librarian. Visit her at and on Twitter @clairelegrand.


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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