Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring. This tour is being hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club. I’ll be sharing my review and there will also be a giveaway.
The Tenth Girl
by Sara Faring
Release Date: September 24th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.
At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.
Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.
One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.
What a strange book. Not what I expected, but still really good.
First I’ll start with warnings. This is a mature ya/na book. It’s dark. It’s crude at times (which doesn’t bother me). There are a lot of dark topics at least mentioned including suicide, child abuse (all types), minor/adult relationship (rape), drinking, a lot of swearing, crude sex comments, a mention of a naked man, gore, death, missing girls, miscarriage, and more. This is not a book for everyone.
The Tenth Girl is told in alternating (not always) chapters. Mavi in the 1970’s and Angel in 2020. But the stories overlap. A school with a dark history reopens after a mysterious illness killed most of the people there. The school was said to be cursed. The local Zapuche tribe cursed it to keep other people away. The legend mentioned that people would have to sacrifice a girl to keep the curse away for so long. So, weird place to reopen a school, right? But there are a couple people left from the original owners and Carmela De Vaccaro wants to start a new program there. She chose some middle school aged girls and a handful of teachers. The school is almost impossible to arrive and leave. The only way is by boat when the weather is ok.
Mavi is only 18, but she lied about her age and history. She is running. Her mother was taken by the military government and Mavi was afraid they would take her, too. So she goes to this isolated school, hoping for a new life as an English teacher. When Mavi arrives, she finds that the school has very strict rules. Including one that says that they cannot leave their rooms at night. It’s not safe at night.
“You would be well-advised to lock the door behind you, if you wish to survive this place,” she sends back, her morbid warning echoing down the hall.
Mavi doesn’t listen though. She is curious and wants to explore. Especially when she has 10 places in her class, but only 9 girls. When she asks about this, she is told the Tenth Girl is sick, but will be around. But no one sees her. Mavi starts feeling odd things. Can there be dangerous ghosts haunting the school? Some of the girls start getting sick and another disappears. Mavi decides she needs to figure out the secrets to the school and help save these girls.
The softest scrape of my shoe’s soles on stone echoes here: The house can feel me in its belly.
Angel is an Other. Time is circular to the Zapuche, so Angel from 2020 shows up at the school in 1978. The Others have no real form. They can come and go and must feed off the people at the school. They eat their dreams while draining them of energy. Angel finds a way to possess Carmela’s son, Domenico. Angel is dealing with the grief of losing family. Angel has a kind of mentor that sort of helps. But mostly is just really rude and gross. Angel, in Domenico’s body, starts to interact with Mavi. To the point of truly caring for her.
As more and more people end up sick, the house also seems to get sick. The weather is bad, they are almost out of food, and the house is rotting inside. Mavi and Angel work together to find this Tenth Girl that came to warn Mavi to get everyone out of the school. A warning no one else listens to. They don’t believe Mavi. There is a thought that the Tenth Girl is the daughter of Carmela’s that recently died.
Souls aren’t like steam, I realize. They’re like viruses, spreading to the surrounding organisms, infecting them with their unfulfilled dreams and inescapable worries.
The pacing of the book is very slow, but it has such a dark atmosphere that kept me reading. I also thought the writing was really good. Overall, I liked the book and there are some major twists that I can’t talk about. I feel a little silly at some of the clues I missed. I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.
Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City.
Her first novel, The Tenth Girl, will be released by Macmillan/Imprint on September 24, 2019. Sara is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency.
Prize: Win a copy of THE TENTH GIRL by Sara Faring (US Only)
Starts: 18th September 2019
Ends: 2nd October 2019
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