This was a book that I found on a “books you may like” page from The Wicked Girls. The cover and summary were intriguing to me so I was excited to pick up this book and get started. I thought it would be a great spring break read.
The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown is about Sadie who grew up in New England. It takes place both when Sadie was an adult and when she was a child. As a child Sadie and her best friend Betty would look forward to their summers in their their small New England town. They would play dress up or put on plays for everyone and lead the Haunted Woods each summer. But one summer they started a harmless prank with another younger girl that ended with her disappearance. Years later, Sadie has grown up and still lives near her old town where she is haunted by the memories of what happened that last summer. But when someone from her past summer comes back she is forced to rethink everything she thought both about that last summer and her current life.
The setting of this was perfect for the story. It took place in a small town in Connecticut in the 1970s and late 2000s. I really liked the 1970s setting because it reminded me of some of my earlier summers. Where everyone stayed out until it was dark ignoring the heat. They played with everyone in the neighbor wandering around while the parents were busy at home or at work. Then in the part when Sadie was an adult with her own children she was able to recreate that for her own children. It was the perfect place for things to occur because there was nothing else for Sadie to do. There was just something about this sleepy small town that made it the perfect lazy read over Spring Break.
Sadie’s character experience two types of development because as a reader you got to see her character change from a child to a young woman and then see her character change again as an adult. As a child Sadie was struggling with wanting to still be a child and play dress up or play with her Barbies and becoming a teenager and learning about boys. Her role model as a child was her mother who was an actress and was flirtatious with everyone. As an adult Sadie was struggling with being a mother and becoming her mother. It was interesting to see how even though her mother was no longer in the picture she was still affecting how Sadie acted.
I did not really like the plot in general though. There was a lot of build up in this book and it felt like when it came time to reveal everything they just brushed over it to instead focus on Sadie’s life as an adult. The summary of the book mentions the girl going missing when Sadie was younger. This mystery is revisited as Sadie is an adult and there is all this build up to what happened but it doesn’t really focus after that. Instead it is more like a background event happening to everything else. I felt like I spent the entire book waiting for it to happen and waiting for that moment to come and I was left hanging when it finally did.
Overall it was a pretty slow moving read. It is perfect if you have a lot of time to read. If you are going to be hanging out in your backyard or by the pool over the summer this would be a good book to read for that.