First off, apologies for this being over a week later than normal! To be honest, it’s probably only been me bothered by this but even so! In October we read Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand which is the first horror we’ve read at book club. It’s a YA horror with multiple LGBTQ+ representations and it felt quite different in many ways to anything we have read before, and anything I’ve read personally to be honest.
Sawkill Girls initially follows a girl named Marion who has just moved with her mum and sister to Sawkill Rock – an island which is as eerie as it sounds. We then also get chapters from the point of view of Zoey, who also moved there a few years back, and Val who pretty much runs the island with her family. Girls have been going missing in the woods for years and it begins happening more frequently. There are rumours of urban legends and we see all the girls actions and roles within this strange story.
We spoke a little about the asexual/aromantic representation as well as the queer f/f relationship depicted. Everyone loved how it was written with the story as it was well put together and flowed with the story. It clearly wasn’t just shoehorned in to tick a representation box. It was well thought out and the varied relationships – both romantic and platonic – were all very different and interesting.
Ratings for this book ranged between 3.5 and 5. It was mainly given 4/5 stars. A few in the group loved it a lot and others found it slow to get into and wished it would have gotten into the story a bit quicker than it did. The queer representation was loved pretty much across the board which is wonderful!
LGBTQ+/Queer themes and representation in Sawkill Girls
As I wrote above, everyone was really happy with the representation. We had a great chat about how the asexuality was well spoken about between characters and it was handled with maturity. A very different portrayal of ace/aro identity than we saw in Summer Bird Blue last month but both were brilliantly written and it seems everyone thought that too. It’s been fab reading two positive representations of asexuality consecutively as it really shows how it can be written well (even though it’s depicted so badly so often!)
“I thought it was great. The way the rep was handled was so low key and made to feel so normalised that I forgot it had queer representation until we discussed it at book club. The way the characters talk about it never makes it feel like its pointed. It just feels like its normal and part of their everyday lives.” – Gabby – Twitter
“I really liked how Zoey’s asexuality was dealt with and represented. I thought it was done in a very mature way which is honestly quite unusual to see and especially because the characters are 18/19 years old. It was never made to feel like a bad thing or like it was some big issue and the way its talked about is really nice. I also liked that Zoey and Grayson are shown to have a big chat about it all and it isn’t something that’s just mentioned once, you actually see the characters talking about it and discussing it. Also the wlw was really nice, it was a nice touch to the story and i think it was written really nicely between the 2 characters. (I don’t really have an opinion on that tbh it was just sort of there).” – Charlotte – Twitter | Instagram
“So great! The f/f relationship was very interesting because of the odd twist (I won’t spoil it) and I loved it. But the thing I especially loved was the asexual rep. It was one of the BEST books for ace rep because it summarised how I felt so perfectly.” – Charlotte – Twitter | Instagram
“Multiple LGBTQ+ themes were well represented in the book through a diverse range of characters.” – Amy – Twitter
We also ask for any other general opinions on the book, reasons for the star rating, etc. and this is something we always chat about at Book Club with everyone too. It’s always great for us to see what people generally think of the books each month.
“I fully enjoyed the horror aspect and was hooked from the start. The characters feel real and not two dimensional.” – Gabby – Twitter
“Definitely liked this more than I thought I would. My only issue was that it was super slow to get into and I had to force myself to keep going but once I got past the first 90 pages i was hooked and couldn’t wait to see where the story was going to go. it was super interesting and very different to anything i’ve read before and if we hadn’t have been reading it for book club i probably would have never picked it up!!” – Charlotte – Twitter | Instagram
“I loved this book!! I don’t tend to read horror but this was so mysterious and great. I want to reread it already so I can see how everything built up again from the start!” – Charlotte – Twitter | Instagram
“The story is slow to start with. However, it makes more sense as it progresses and all the loose threads are tied up.” – Amy – Twitter
Next month we are reading All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle! The date of the next meet up is Thursday 28 November at 7pm, Chapter One Books in Manchester! Let us know if we will see you there and as always, huge love to everyone who supports the book club both in person and online – it truly means a lot to us both.