There are moments that I pray we never experience or witness in life but at the very least we have observed on TV or the movies. Those moments before a doctor walks up to a character and everything is suddenly moving frame-by-frame. Or when you know a car crash is about to happen. And the world seems to. Just. Stop. But of course, it doesn’t. It just moves so excruciatingly slow.
Thank You to Macmillan Kids/Imprint for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you FFBC for the opportunity to interview Sara Faring in conjunction with their tour from 9/18 to 9/24. My interview will run on Saturday, September 21st
Until the moment the news you know is coming, but those the doctor is approaching doesn’t, drops. Until the screeching of the cars stop and the cars collide. There is this split second when the world goes dead. Deafening silence. And then with a snap of the fingers? With an explosion of immeasurable cruelty, the world careens out of control at a cataclysmic speed.
This is the workings of The Tenth Girl By Sara Faring. Horrifyingly mesmerizing. Obscenely hypnotizing. It will grip you in the gut and it will not let go. But it is not full of action and it is not paced like a thriller. It is a slow-moving terror. It does not care about the breath you’ve been holding for two hours. It does not care that you hear the silence, see the dark and feel a presence.
It does not care that when you close your kindle you have to side-eye it as you walk away, because what if it is watching you. Ok. Maybe the last one is just me. I blame that on The Girl with All the Gifts. But I blame a lot of things on that book and M. R. Carey.
No. Faring doesn’t care. She just ratchets everything up, instead. Until The Tenth Girl is ready to reveal its shattering conclusion. The dark will consume you slowly and completely. Then you will be the one on the other end of the doctor’s news. In the cars that crash. In that shocked silence that is attached to a turbulent, abrupt and merciless bullet train.
Beyond the ability to maintain and terrorize readers for 400 pages, Faring’s spectrum of writing abilities is wielded appropriately and never forced. That adds unexpected depth and wonder.
Angel is a teenager that is often brought to life by a teenager’s typical humorous observations, with a true to tone teenage voice and literally laugh out loud wit.
*It is hard to pick these quotes. So please understand that these aren’t necessarily the epitome of examples. They are the best references I could find that, out of context, aren’t in the least bit spoilers. Because I don’t do spoilers.*
“…the size of a centaur with thick veins threading through the skin of his arms; they popped up when he was hot, or turned on (don’t ask, please don’t ask), or pissed off.”
Effortlessly she swings into more atmospheric writing…
“I can feel the brightly colored threads moving through consciousness, like the yarn on Circe’s loom; her skin warm to the touch… She’s running along a field, running, running, running. “
“I’ve absorbed an extension of myself, effortlessly. Like a concert pianist nailing a ridiculous chord during one practice as if by magic. I broadened my handspan on the cosmic keys, my footprint on the sand of the new world, in more ways than I can understand.”
And then, of course to the utterly disturbing…
“The edges of her lips look strained and vaguely wet, like she also just ripped the delicious head off a small and fluffy creature with her teeth and holds it back by the damp root of her tongue.”
Last, but certainly not the least of importance, but the least I’m qualified to talk about is the implications of colonization and genocide that Faring interweaves throughout the Tenth Girl. What has happened and since become of the indigenous Zapuche when the De Vaccaro family eradicated them from their land is a cornerstone to the setting and the story. It is Faring’s representation of cultural erasure at the hands of the entitled, colonizers and conquerors.
It is how the country I live in was created, when Europeans took the land From Native Americans. It is a shame that haunts America today and will as long as it exists, as it should. Because that is what was earned.
The Tenth Girl is a warning to heed. Yes, it is a brilliantly written horror story. But it also integrates the real- life horror of genocide that while might have started a millennia ago, continues today.