The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Published May 3, 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Horror
The May Queen Murders is set around the main character of Ivy Templeton, who lives in a remote farming community, Rowan’s Glen, in the Missouri Ozarks. Ivy’s family has lived there for centuries and they live an old-fashioned, simple way of life. The kids from the local high school think everyone from Rowan’s Glen is a bit odd but it doesn’t bother Ivy because she has her best friend and cousin, Heather, by her side. But Heather has secrets of her own that even Ivy is unaware of. Rowan’s Glen however as a bit of a dark past and rules that go along with it; stay on the roads, don’t enter the woods, never go out at night and don’t go anywhere alone. When Heather goes missing after being crowned May Queen during the May Day celebration, Ivy begins to discover that both Heather and Rowan’s Glen are full of secrets and not everything is as it seems.
First I have to say that I loved this book. I have been looking forward to reading it since it was released in May and my husband bought me a copy for my birthday in June. I was slightly concerned that a few friends on Goodreads gave this book not the greatest reviews. The people who seem not to like this book, stated it’s because it is dark or leaned. Well the book was listed under thriller, mystery and horror as genres, so I expected it to be dark. Anyway, I really liked it. First, the story itself I really enjoyed and there are definitely more then a few plot twists along the way. I also absolutely loved the setting and how the author paints such a rich picture of not only the land in Rowan’s Glen, but the character’s lives as well. Even down to the way they talk and if you have ever been up in the hills, whether that’s Missouri, the Carolina’s or West Virginia, the dialogue is spot on, at least from my own experience. I felt like I had actually previously visited the area after reading all the descriptions of the land, barns, homes, woods, cemeteries and the surrounding areas.
I like to write spoiler free reviews if at all possible because I usually read reviews before purchasing a book. So there are things I am going to skip over reviewing to keep is spoiler free. I really liked Ivy, Rook and Ivy’s grandma Mamie’s characters. I loved how the story was laced with Mamie’s folklore and traditions. And I especially loved how all the families in this book are so close with each other and the other families in Rowan’s Glen. They all try to take care of each other and honestly, it sounds like a great community to me. Minus the missing girls and dark, horror like things in the story. I like dark, so I loved this book. There were definitely a few parts that creeped me out, so props to Jude on that one because I have been reading Stephen King for the last 15 years. Overall, if you enjoy mysteries or thrillers, I think you will enjoy this book. It is well written, it is a good story and the the author paints a great picture of a rural, slightly isolated farming community in the Missouri Ozarks. Oh and the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous! Happy reading!