Rating: 3 / 5
THE TENTH GIRL by Sara Faring was October’s YA book from Unplugged Book Box (full contents of the box pictured below). I had not read many reviews on this one, but had fallen in love with that cover, so was excited to read this one!
THE TENTH GIRL begins with Mavi in the 1970s. Mavi has arrived on an isolated island to teach English at a school for privileged girls. The school was previously shut down under somewhat mysterious circumstances and the family that owns it has decided to get it back up and running. The house is isolated both by the setting and by the weather, surrounding the house with snow and ice. Mavi isn’t exactly the English teach she is claiming to be, but neither is the house exactly what it seems at first either. There are elaborate over the top meals, but strict rules to stay in your room after dark “or else”. Interspersed with Mavi’s stories are chapters from another perspective. Angel lives an existence outside of Mavi’s reality, but it isn’t entirely known at first what this means.
This is another book that left me with very mixed feelings. The pace is slow. It gets categorized as a “psychological thriller with a haunting twist” according to the Goodreads blurb, but for me the thriller aspect fell a bit flat. I liked the gothic vibes and the haunting atmosphere, but the pace was a little too slow to be a true thriller. I thought the author developed the world well and had some beautiful descriptions. The twist isn’t one that I saw coming, though I think looking back there were some clues that kept it from coming completely out of nowhere. Still, it left me with questions and a bit of a struggle to buy into the reality of how things ended.
There was a lot to like in this story and it definitely kept me reading to see what was going on, but the novel felt long and I think that it could have been shortened and tightened up. I would definitely give this author another shot in the future though!