First Lines: Out here, something can turn to nothing real fast. The buildings fade out as you drive from town, paved roads turn to gravel, and then to dirt. Cell phone towers start to disappear, electric lines begin to sag, and soon, you’re nowhere.
We interrupt Romance Month because I recently got my hands on this ARC–and it releases tomorrow. I wanted to talk about this before its release date.
Tress Montor’s family name used to mean something in Amontillado, Ohio–until Tress’s family ceased to exist. Her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, and in that moment Tress lost everything. The town shuns her and her grandfather, who live at what the locals call the “White Trash Zoo”–an attraction of wild animals they run together. Felicity Turnado has it all–the money, the looks, the luck…and the secrets she can’t tell anyone. She’s worked hard to make people forget she was with the Montors when they disappeared. Even Felicity doesn’t actually remember what happened that night, only that she now can’t look Tress in the eye. Tress has a plan to extract the truth, though: a Halloween party where she’ll interrogate Felicity, one brick at a time, slowly sealing her former best friend into a coal chute if necessary. Tress will have her answers…or she’ll have her revenge.
I’ve been a McGinnis fan for a few years now. I think she’s a wonderful storyteller and she crafts unusual/unlikely heroines, which is a nice change of pace.
This story wasn’t any different in that respect. This retelling of I think 3 different Edgar Allan Poe stories rolled into one has a lot of dark, conflicted characters. Tress and Felicity used to be friends, but after Tress’s parents disappeared and Felicity was the only one who was there–and she doesn’t remember what happened–their friendship falls apart. Part of that is the class differences now that Tress lives in a trailer with her grandfather while Felicity lives in a nice big house, but part of it comes also from Tress’s negative feelings toward the one person she feels isn’t telling the truth.
Both girls are fascinating in their own ways. Neither of these girls are paragons of good behavior and morals. They’ve been bruised and broken by circumstances out of their control. They’ve made horrible decisions and hurt the people around them. They both have dark secrets.
The story itself is told alternating not just between Tress and Felicity, but between the present and the past. If there was one thing that bothered me, it was telling so much of the story through flashbacks. I understand why the story did it. It had to to show how we’d gotten to this point. However, there were times it felt like we were doing more flashbacks than moving the present forward and I almost groaned every time I saw we were jumping back. Some of the flashbacks were such dumb little things that Tress is fixated on. Maybe that was the point? To show she was being petty? I’m not sure but I would have liked instead to see more in the present.
I really like how things unfolded in the present, though. True, there are some really dark moments in this (some of them having absolutely nothing to do with Tress or Felicity, but another character who seriously needs to be put in a glass box to protect him from himself). It’s supposed to be dark. Poe’s works are dark, as are McGinnis’s. It doesn’t shy away from the realities of their situations. I respect that, even if it makes me uncomfortable at times.
This was good. I’m really curious to see where the story goes from here.