I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: ALL THE STARS FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER
I love Hannah Capin.
She completely blew me away with The Dead Queens Club, which might be the most accurate portrayal of the women shackled by marriage to Henry VIII. She captured their personalities so perfectly, especially naive, young Katie (I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for Catherine Howard. Leave the child alone and let her rest in peace).
THEN she topped DQC with Foul is Fair, a retelling of Macbeth that I devoured in mere hours. It was brutal and beautiful and violent and I don't think she can ever top it.
But I am Margaret Moore comes close. So very, very close.
Capin has a unique writing style that will be jarring for some if this is your first time reading any of her work, but I promise it will be worth it. There is a lot of stream-of-consciousness here a lot of the time, as there was in Foul is Fair. It is beautiful and lyrical and haunting. Just like with Foul, this book is in me now, in my bones and in my soul. I love Margaret the way I love Courtney Summers' Sadie, and neither will ever let me go.
I am okay with that.
So in my eagerness to get the book, I either forgot or never really saw that this is marketed (rightfully) as a paranormal thriller. All I saw was Hannah Capin's name and my fingers were just itching to get ahold of this one.
The story focuses on four friends: Margaret, Rose, Flor, and Nisreen. Four girls who return summer after summer to their elite summer camp, Marshall Naval School. They are girls from wealthy families who have their summer homes on the lake Marshall also calls home. The boys and girls sail, march, and compete for honors in the Victory and the Valor Races. It is where they belong. They are Marshall and Marshall is them.
This summer is different though. In a place where they're normally safe from the world, where they are free of everything else but bound to one another forever, something has changed.
This summer a boy is dead.
Girls are missing.
Everyone is whispering, it is all Margaret's fault. Rose and Nisreen and Flor will not stand for that. They have to tell. Margaret has to tell.
What happened that night in the storm? The night everything changed. Girls were sent home. Races were cancelled. All Margaret's fault, they keep whispering.
The place where they once felt safe and protected, the place they felt most at home, has changed. Things will never be the same.
There are plenty of clues along the way but I was so involved, so focused, I missed many. A little naggling here and there when my brain paused long enough to tie something I just read back to something a few pages ago, but otherwise I am happy to say I did not see what was coming until I was within a few pages of it. This doesn't usually happen with YA thrillers, and I am happy to say Capin had me going for a long time before it hit me over the head like a ton of bricks.
The story is haunting, and it is beautiful. Capin will make you feel for Margaret, feel the story all the way down in your bones too, if you let her.
The murkiness of what is going on is intentional. Things are not clear for Margaret as it slowly unravels, so we only know what Margaret knows. The fogginess that envelops her slips around the reader early, weaving a tight little cocoon that you want to escape but can't because you have to know what happened that night.
Margaret has to come to terms with it, to remember what happened. And when she does, when she claws her way into the deep recesses of her mind, she has to tell. They all have to tell.
The tension is almost unbearable as things begin to unravel, faster and faster. I could not skip ahead because I did not want to miss anything, but I wanted so badly to KNOW. To know what Margaret finally remembered, to know what happened that night in the storm.
There is a constant dreamlike quality to the writing and it is rather poetic, something else that readers new to Capin might have trouble with. But once you are in the flow of the writing, it gets easier to follow. As Margaret jumps back and forth between this summer and last, and summers before, we get a beautiful pictures of the girls, their sisterhood, how they are bound together forever.
Nisreen, Flor, and Rose do what any sisters would, and fight to clear Margaret's name so to speak, to stop the lies that what happened is Mar's fault. They protect her when she can't do that for herself.
"When they are unpacked they will come out to me, and we will be together again, and it will be our summer: this is what I hope with all my life.
I sit in the crook of our sycamore tree and I wait for them.
I need them back. We need us back.
Everything depends on it." (1%)
I will be rereading this one again to see what I missed on the first read-through, and I can't wait to get started.
HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.