I received this book for free from Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy
Published by Hot Key Books on January 7th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Law & Crime, Young Adult
Source: Hot Key Books
Helplessly drawn like moths to the light, two girls go missing in an evocative and gripping tale . . .
They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy's memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.
Review: I’ve read and enjoyed several of Anne Cassidy’s YA novels (for example her Murder Notebooks series I’ve previously reviewed) over the years so I was looking forward to Moth Girls. The concept, with two missing girls, Petra and Tina, and their friend, Mandy, who has been left behind was intriguing and I liked that it showed the aftermath of these very difficult situations. How do you grow up knowing your friends went missing and you didn’t and that no-one knows what’s happened to them?
I found Mandy the most interesting and vivid character in Moth Girls. I think this is probably because her arc is the most compelling to me personally. She has survivors guilt, wants to know what happened to her friends and she’s traumatised by her own potential culpability. As the book develops, we get to see Petra’s point of view from before she and Tina went missing. Petra’s story is very sad in places. Cassidy writes Petra with sensitivity and also allows to understand the character behind the face we’ve seen through Mandy, where Petra is often jealous of Mandy’s friendship with Tina and doesn’t want to include her in the group. The only drawback to Petra’s perspective is as her story takes place five years before Mandy’s point of the view, the two feel like they are the same age. This may be as Petra has to be more mature due to her home life and I’m not saying she needed to come across much younger, but the voices felt similarly matched in terms of the age I felt the voice was at times.
The present day timeline draws everything together and there some are twists within it; a couple I saw coming, however there were a couple of surprises in there. I don’t want to say too much in case I spoil it for readers.
Moth Girls deals with some difficult topics and while not many readers may be able to relate to Mandy’s survivors guilt, the strain in parental relationships and friendship circles are often universal.
Overall, Moth Girls is a well done YA thriller and the two timelines work really well and complement one another by presenting a more even and ‘truthful’ perspective to the reader. I particularly enjoyed this element of two sides to the same story and I think it worked very well. I also really liked that the focus of Moth Girls is on the characters rather than the crime and missing girls.
Fans of Anne Cassidy’s earlier YA thrillers should enjoy Cassidy’s latest offering and it will also appeal those who enjoy YA thrillers too.