The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Published March 7, 2017 by Crown Publishing
Genres Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
After her mother commits suicide, 15 year old Lane Roanoke goes to live with her grandparents and cousin, Allegra on their estate rural Kansas. Lane’s mother never really spoke about her family, so although Lane doesn’t know what to expect, she quickly settles into a life on the Roanoke estate. By the end of the summer, she has discovered a dark secret about the family and runs away, never looking back. 11 years late, living in L.A. Lane receives a phone call from her grandfather that Allegra is missing and no one seems to know where to look. Lane reluctantly returns to Roanoke, guilty about leaving Allegra behind all those years ago and determined to figure out what happened to her. Her return also brings her back to her boyfriend, Cooper, who was devastated when she just up and left when she was 16 without saying goodbye. Returning to Roanoke requires Lane to face not only Cooper, but the devastating secret that caused her to run so many years ago.
So this book is completely screwed up, but I absolutely loved it. The chapters flip back and forth between the past and present and are told from Lane’s perspective. In the beginning of the book, there is a family tree with all of the Roanoke girls, which was helpful throughout the book, as I sometimes needed to reference a name. In between Lane’s chapters, there are also brief chapters from all of the other Roanoke girls, including Lane and Allegra’s mothers, that fill in some details about the past and their lives. Although the author drops hints along the way, it’s about 40-50% into the book when you find out about the family dark secret and more towards the end where Lane actually voices it out loud.
I don’t want to go too far into the plot and give anything away, but I will say I really liked the author’s writing style. I enjoyed equally hearing about the past and the present. I really liked Lane’s character, as well as Cooper’s. The book moves along at a steady pace and although the book is marked as a thriller, I would categorize it more as a mystery, as I only found a few parts to be very suspenseful. When Lane is speaking of the past it focuses on what happened with the girls that summer, from boyfriends and parties, to what went on inside the Roanoke estate. The present focuses on the search for Allegra and any clues she might have left behind, as well as Lane being reunited with Cooper. Overall, I loved this book and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. Thank you to Crown Publishing for sending me an advanced review copy of this book.