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The May Queen Murders

Review

The May Queen Murders

Reinstating a festival which ended in murder isn’t a good idea. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The isolated community of Rowan’s Glen has a history that couldn’t possibly repeat itself, could it? History does indeed repeat itself in Sarah Jude’s creepy tale, THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS.

“Though Sarah Jude takes readers on a journey of self-discovery with her main character, the author also has a beautiful, lyrical style filled with figurative language.”

The protagonist, Ivy Templeton, has lived a quiet life, the exact opposite of that of her best friend and cousin, Heather. The two girls have always been inseparable, but secrets are coming between them. Heather is becoming reckless and Ivy can’t do anything but watch. She watches even as Heather gets crowned May Queen and suffers the consequences. There is something lurking in the Glen --- something that kills dogs and mutilates corpses. Something was stalking Heather and now it is now stalking Ivy. While she forms a romance with a longtime crush, she finds the answers to things she shouldn’t and many of her friends are endangered for it.

There’s deeper meaning in this story than just friendship and mystery; there’s also the need to be your own person. Ivy always tries to be like Heather, never doing anything her way. When Heather goes missing, who is she? Ivy must find out who she is without Heather, her lifelong best friend. Is she shy or bold? Sweet or bitter? Caring or cold? She has no idea how to be herself without her cousin, and learns an important lesson in the story: always be yourself.

Though Sarah Jude takes readers on a journey of self-discovery with her main character, the author also has a beautiful, lyrical style filled with figurative language. For example, this bit of personification in the prologue introduces terrible imagery that creates the hook for the story: “Then a blue worm of flames emerged from the earth and devoured one blot of fuel before moving onto the next… the worm bloated into a dragon that blazed yellow and orange” (3). This passage is soon followed by a description of one of the secondary characters, which explains “Heather once said Rook’s voice was honey, but I thought he spoke with deeper tones, hickory roots burrowing earth and bitter moonshine” (12).

THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS is a rather gruesome book, with detailed descriptions and sexual content. Though written at a young teen reading level, the contents place it on a young adult spectrum. It’s well written and has a complex storyline that must be followed closely if you wish to understand the twists and turns this mystery has taken for many years.

Reviewed by Cat S., Teen Board Member on May 23, 2016

The May Queen Murders
by Sarah Jude