The Stars of Locust Ridge
by Craig Moody
Vivid Imagery Publishing

"I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of Kenneth’s mouth. He was abandoning me. He was through. Our loss was now only his."

Genevieve Delany lives a quiet life in the rural hills of Tennessee. She lives mostly on her own, as her mother spends most of her days out of town managing a motel. She has never known her father, but her Uncle John lives in the nearby cabin and acts as her guardian. As her life starts to take a turn for the positive with football star Kenneth Reynolds taking an interest in her, the rest of her life starts to spiral. Her childhood nemesis, Emily Watson, attends the same school and insists on making her life hell. Genevieve begins having night terrors and sleepwalking in the forest, screaming at the top of her lungs. These episodes coincide with an unspeakable violation of her body, and she must try to handle the aftermath of that—physically, emotionally, and socially.

Though the circumstances of Genevieve’s life are more than most young women will have to contend with, the threat of danger that the protagonist endures is very real. This results in a coming-of-age story that reads at the extremes. On the one hand, it feels like Genevieve’s life is so tragic that it must be a work of fiction, yet as the reader progresses, one realizes the constant threat of assault from figures of authority or power that women in general must constantly face. The author is a master at misdirecting his readers, opting never to take the obvious route in his narrative, yet giving them enough evidence as to eliminate any shred of doubt in their mind. With strong pacing, crisp dialogue, and repeated surprises, this book reads with snaps and punches of breathtaking imagery and heart-wrenching tragedy.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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