Publishing Date: July 1
Genre: young adult
Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.
The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.
I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.
All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.
Maggie and her family move from Chicago to a small town in northern Michigan along the lake coast. She befriends her free-spirited, beautiful neighbor Pauline and Pauline’s long-time shadow Liam. The three are inseparable, until Pauline is sent away. There’s a murderer in town, and Maggie and Liam seek comfort in one another through the long winter, in hopes that their bond with Pauline will not shatter once she discovers them.
This is not a ghost story, although there seems to be a ghost in this story. The ghost does not do anything except observe. There are moments when the ghost’s existence and Maggie’s life collide, but they are forgettable and unimportant.
This is not a mystery, although there is a serial killer mystery in this story. Young women are found drowned in the lake, and despite curfews and police protection, the murders continue. Maggie, Pauline, and Liam don’t pay attention to any of this, and therefore it doesn’t matter who the murderer is because our characters are apathetic to the situation.
This is a love triangle, although it’s not a love triangle. Maggie loves Liam, Liam loves Pauline and falls for Maggie, and Pauline is the manic pixie dream girl who is part hippie, part socialite, and just as beautiful as she is strange. The triangle is the whole point of the story, the entire focus, and yet it isn’t annoying like triangles tend to be. In fact, it feels somewhat authentic to reality, even if the characters felt distant.
What does that mean? I felt no connection to any of the characters whatsoever, and yet I wanted to know what happened to them. I’ve seen this story played out too many times in my life, my friends’ lives, in school hallways — the complications of love in friend groups. Pauline describes Maggie in such a way that I was baffled (“How in the world do you see her as this, this, and this?”), Maggie witnesses something about Pauline in such a nonchalant manner that she’s unsurprised (yet everything about Pauline didn’t seem to make sense…like she was a mash-up of personalities and actions and emotions), and Liam is described as this wonderful boy and yet, by the end, he seems like a completely different character.
Despite all of this — not a ghost story, not a mystery, entirely plausible triangle with disconnected characters — the writing was phenomenal. Lyrical. Mesmerizing. Tiger Lily was like that, but Tiger Lily had plot, emotion, connection, and the added bonus of a retelling through another perspective. Anderson certainly has a talent for telling a story in such a way that you fall into it despite all of your protestations.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from HarperTeen for review.