The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Published by Penguin
Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley
From the publisher:
On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?
I chose to read this book because the premise was one that I just couldn’t pass up. I was hoping for a creepy story but one that also focused on the characters and really got inside their heads – I wanted Marwood to humanize these women, make them come to life for me. Happily, that’s exactly what I got with the novel.
Even though both Kristy and Amber did a horrible thing when they were children, Marwood made me like them both and want each of them to be able to move on with their lives and start fresh, which up until the carnival killings, they both had. When they are thrust back together again is when things in their lives go sort of crazy and I felt bad for them both as soon as it became clear that there weren’t likely to be any happy endings for them.
The Wicked Girls definitely has that creepy, ominous feeling throughout the entire book that makes it completely clear to the reader that stuff is going to get a lot worse before it gets better for these two women. Also, the story of what happened when they were charged with killing that girl unfolds in flashbacks, slowly over the course of the novel, so by the time it’s revealed what really happened, the reader is totally involved with Kristy and Amber and willing to forgive them of any wrongdoing (at least, I was). It’s clear that they made horrible, stupid mistakes, but they were children, and this thing has followed them all of their lives and basically ruined both of them. It was just sad, to be honest.
One thing I didn’t love about this one was the ending. I can’t really blame Marwood for it, in fact it makes perfect sense given everything else about the book, but I guess I just wanted better for these women. I think a lot of readers will appreciate the ending, though, even love it perhaps. It just wasn’t the way I wanted things to work out.
Anyway, definitely recommended! I liked it a lot.