Wow! Let me see if I can find the correct words to describe this book: enticing, captivating, startling, and remarkable. The more I read of this book, the more questions I had and the more I needed to know. The females who lived on this island fought for their own survival, barricaded behind a fence, they fought to live, yet somehow the Tox had made its way into their compound, so what is the fence keeping out?
They were all girls inside this huge house, originally labeled Raxter School for Girls, located on an island. What’s left of them, live in quarantine, staying alive by the rations supplied to them by boat and brought to the house by the Boat Girls and an adult, the only people allowed past the fence.
The authorities are still working on a cure and the girls were left in the dark about the Tox. Waiting and living with their conditions, each of them are growing older and watching each other, as each one of them receives their own form of the Tox and have their “first.” Individually, as one of the girls begins twitching and then shaking, I was eager for what was about to begin but nervous and scared for the actual event to occur.
The story is told by Hetty and compared to some of the other girls at Raxter, Hetty is down-to-Earth. Byatt sleeps next to Hetty on the bottom bunk and Reese sleeps on the top bunk, you really get to know these girls in the novel as they are very close to one another. One day, Byatt is missing. How can she be missing when no one goes outside the fence?
The novel felt creepy and mysterious, like there was a big secret that no one was telling you. What was beyond the fence was exciting and it felt like Little Red Riding Hood mother said, “stay on the path.” I really enjoyed the author’s writing, the imagery I had while reading was fantastic. I liked the storyline and how, there were times that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. This was one of those books that ran in a cycle for me, it was slow at times, then fast and this cycle continued as parts of the novel’s mystery was revealed throughout its pages. There were a few times that I had to go back and reread a few things, but other than that, I really enjoyed this novel. 4.5/5
Thank you, Penguin Random House, for providing a copy of this novel to me in exchange for an honest opinion.