The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Published on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
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Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
Everybody knows if you go in those woods, there’s a chance you ain’t coming out.
I loved this book. I had a feeling I was going too, but it really did give me what I wanted. I was glued to the pages, and I just couldn’t get enough. This is a really great debut novel.
May Queen takes place in an incredibly small town, that does things in all of the oldest ways. There are no cell phones, or other modern conveniences. What the town of Rowans Glen does have is a dark history. Because of this, everyone knows to stay out of the woods, don’t travel alone at night. Keep to the main roads, and all that jazz. But there are plenty of horrors waiting for the towns people that will come right to their doorstep. The woods aren’t the only problem. Our protagonist, Ivy, gets caught up in everything and is the unfortunate one that uncovers so many secrets.
One of my favorite things about this book was that the town (ivy especially) heavily believes in old superstitions. I love it. There are so many throughout the book that I find so interesting. Not only that, but they have teas they brew for just about everything, from headaches to nightmares. Everything is passed down from generation to generation. This all helps to really provide that feeling of how old the town is and how close knit all of the families are.
“A bird in a house means death is flyin’ about.”
My absolute favorite thing about this book was how ominous it felt the entire time. Nothing ever felt light or good. It was sinister and Gothic. I was constantly anticipating the next bad thing that would happen. And there was blood. And I love when things get bloody. It actually reminded me of another book I read in the fall, and LOVED. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (click the link if you would like to see my review!). It was very different, but provided that same ominous feeling, everything being so eerie and bloody. So if you liked this book, check that out, and vice versa.
Something I would like to point out about this book is that is a tiny tiny bit sexual a couple of times. Like, not New Adult levels of sexual, but sexy on a young adult level in a way I didn’t expect. So this creepy, eerie book even has some mild sensual moments. Lol…. random, I know, and unexpected, but very well written. I wonder what Jude could do with a New Adult novel???
Anyway, I loved it. I definitely recommend checking this out!!