RELEASE DATE: August 07th, 2018
AUTHORS: Terry Bailey Black
GENRE: Young-Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction.
PUBLISHER: Tor Teen
Early Libba Bray meets Stalking Jack the Ripper and William Ritter’s Jackaby series in this richly atmospheric Gothic tale of murder and romance in 1850s New England
Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.
Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.
Debut author Terri Bailey Black unearths the long-buried secrets of a small New England town in this richly atmospheric Gothic tale of murder, guilt, redemption, and finding love where least expected.
Girl At The Girl is a stand-alone YA debut novel by Teri Bailey Black. Well, this book has a great potential but sadly it falls short of perfection. To be honest, I enjoyed the story-line, but it was disappointing that the plot focused more on the romance and less on the murder mystery. This would’ve make a good YA murder mystery novel if there isn’t an annoying triangle and some unnecessary school drama in the plot. When I first read the title and synopsis, I was actually expecting a dark and horror filled novel, but this one turns out to be a decent historical murder mystery novel. It was nothing spooky like Stalking Jack the Ripper.
The main character Valentine was a likable character. She’s smart, caring, and sweet. Her mother was hanged for murder when she was only six years old. Being a killer’s daughter sealed her fate forever in her town. Everyone treated her like an outsider. After her mother’s death she grew up in poverty and hardship. I really felt bad for her poor situation and how she was bullied in the school. I really liked Rowan Blackshaw, Valentine’s love interest and the son of the man her mother killed. He was pretty sweet and fun, and unlike others he never insulted her even though she deserved his hate. I enjoyed the sweet romance between Val and Rowan. Their love was forbidden but they can’t deny the attraction between them. Sam is Valentine’s childhood best friend and her second love interest. I enjoyed the friendship between Sam and Val but it was kinda ruined when he turned into a love interest. I think the triangle is unnecessary because it was pretty obvious who she’s going to choose in the end. As for the secondary characters, no one intrigued me. They were somewhat okay but not memorable enough.
The plot was interesting and suspenseful, but it lacked tension. The story moved in a medium pace. I wish the plot was focused more on the mystery and less on the love story. I was quite annoyed with how Valentine sidetracked from the murder mystery by involving herself in a romance drama. I liked the family drama aspect in the book. The surprising twists and turns in the plot are the only thing that kept me turning the pages and when the final big reveal came, I was left a little bit disappointed. It was like dropping a bomb with a very low impact. I think no one would guess the suspect for the murders because the author didn’t leave any breadcrumbs that lead to that particular character. However, I’m glad it at-least had a satisfying ending. The writing style of the author was okay. The book was told in Valentine’s first person POV. The historical setting was nice. Although it was a gothic mystery novel, the story didn’t give strong gothic vibes.
Despite all the issues, this book still makes an enjoyable read. So overall, it was a decent debut and I’ll definitely look forward to what the author brings us next.
I recommend this book to all the readers who loves YA historical mystery. If you want to give this a shot you need to be prepared for a typical love triangle.
MY RATING:[3.5/5 Stars]