Sawkill Girls (Legrand)

The Sawkill Girls 
Claire Legrand, 2018
464 pp.

A breathtaking and spine-tingling novel about three teenage girls who face off against an insidious monster that preys upon young women.

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. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—May 2, 1986
Where—Irving, Texas, USA
Education—B.A., M.L.S, North Texas University
Currently—lives in Princeton, New Jersey

Claire Legrand is a librarian and the author of fantasy novels, as well as short stories, for young readers. She was raised in Texas, received her B.A. in English Literature followed by a Master's in Library Science, both from North Texas University. She now lives in Princeton, N.J., where she both writes and works as a librarian. (Adapted from various sources online.)

Book Reviews
(Starred review) An idyllic island hides a deadly secret in this atmospheric, Gothic-flavored chiller, which mingles elements of dark fairy tales and outright horror.…  [I]ncludes an asexual character and a beautifully wrought queer romance, focuses on the power of female friendship (Ages 14-up).
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) Girls have gone missing on Sawkill Island for so long that the wealthy residents have learned to carry on with a stiff upper lip when it happens.… Rich and earthy horror (Grade 9-up). —Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI
Library Journal

(Starred review) Through this dank, atmospheric, and genuinely frightening narrative, Legrand weaves powerful threads about the dangerous journey of growing up female.… [A]n intensely character-driven story about girls who support… betray… [and] love each other…. [U]nforgettable.

[A] fast-paced… and creepy feel… part spine-chilling horror story and part coming-of-age lesbian romance. There is a feminist message in the way the girls refuse to be manipulated by those with ulterior motives, banding together to fight the monster (Age14-adult).
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for THE SAWKILL GIRLS … then take off on your own:

1. How would you describe the island of Sawkill Rock? How well does the author do in terms of creating an immersive atmosphere? Does the island seem to change during the course of the novel?

2. What are your thoughts about giving the Rock, an inanimate object, its own perspective? Why might the author have done so? What does the following passage mean? "It did not relish tying an innocent to the burden of its ancient might. But the Rock required an infantry"

3. Talk about your experience reading The Sawkill Girls. How did you get through it: did you read with bated breath, with relish … or did you just want it to be over? Reviewers use descriptions like creepy, gory, genuinely frightening, spine-tingling, horrifying. Care to add an adjective or two of your own?

4. Each of the three girls, Zoey, Marion, and Val, is dealing with her own set of problems. Discuss those the girls and the way their separate stories intertwine.

5. How would you describe each of the girls. Is there one whose story you find more sympathetic than the others? Or does one of the girls appeal to you more than the others?

6. One of the concerns of the book is competition: the way society pits girls against one another, manipulating them into butting heads. Talk about how that operates in The Sawkill Girls and how Zoe, Marion, and Val manage to overcome this competitiveness.

7. What are your thoughts about the Collector when you finally meet him? Did he meet the expectations of mystery surrounding him at the beginning of the novel?

8. What is your take on the fact that the three girls each represented some aspect of LGBTQIA?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

top of page (summary)

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2020