ARC Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude


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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.

review
3/5 Stars
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & HMH Books for Young Readers
+++Some scenes are MATURE
           I was dying to read this book. It been on my TBR forever. So when I got the ARC, well… to say I was excited would be a major understatement. Unfortunately, the more I read, the less intrigued I felt. This is one of those sad perfect premise, poor execution stories for me. 
          The May Queen Murders has several awesome things going for it. The captivating and insanely interesting subcultures and interactions between the people who live in the trailer parks and the Glen people. There is so much detail that you feel the tensions and embrace the wonder that happens in the Ozarks. There’s a deep layer of superstition and prejudice. A dark foreboding and wonderful sense of deep-seeded belief. The stories of what brings bad luck, the herbs needs to bless the house, tying strings around the wrist for protection, it’s fascinating and draws you in. You’ll want to know more and engage in this magical world. Ivy is made of the Glen and these beliefs are a part of what makes her whole. Her convictions are so strong, it kind of pushes her further away from everyone. The history is pervasive and hypnotizing. 
          Ivy’s relationship with Heather is complex, but full of unwavering devotion and love. Ivy is on the threshold of maturity and Heather has hurdled forward without her. Ivy is childish, young, inexperienced, and their relationship shows that crippling fear and loss that best friends feel when one is moving at a faster pace, separating them, and they might just leave the other behind. Sometimes there’s no hope of catching up. Ivy is heartbroken and Heather is over Ivy’s clingy behavior. She follows her around like a duck. This was real and honest and a diverse depiction of friendship.
          The romance was weird and awkward. Parts were fairly graphic and mature. There’s not much development, it suddenly is. I honestly didn’t feel an ounce of chemistry between them. I felt more of flare up towards Milo and August than Rook. 
          Secondary characters were barely a blip in the story. There were MANY I wanted to know more about. Milo, and Violet’s sister. Her horrific bullying situation. That’s a story I would have liked to hear more about to get a full picture of the animosity within the area. 
          The pacing was slow. Like turtle’s pace slow. For the majority of the book, apart from the mini stories about the former May Queen murderer, NOTHING happened but angst and drama. It was hard to push through. About 75% of the way through, things got a little more interesting. After the first murder, it escalated to the creepy and sadistic in a blink. 
          Plot twist. I did not see that coming. It was convoluted and epic. You’ll have NO CLUE. It was like being splashed in the face with cold water, jolting. Parts near the end, the climax are gory and terrifying. The blood and sadism. Well, let’s just say nightmares are in your immediate future. 
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Creepy reading, 

Jordan

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5 thoughts on “ARC Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

  1. Great review Jordan! I had mixed feelings about this too, mainly for the same reasons you did. I even gave it the same amount of stars. I liked the world building and I think she really captured the essence of the Ozarks, but I thought the character development was really lacking. And that plot hole involving Violet’s sister drove me nuts! And I thought there were just too many twists at the end.

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