I Am Margaret Moore
Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.
Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.
But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.
Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?
What I loved: This was a chilling and riveting read. The writing was absolutely lovely and poetic - but also fragmented and confusing, as both the reader and Margaret attempt to put together the whole timeline and the problems scattered throughout. Margaret is simultaneously a terrible narrator and the only one who can tell the reader what happened and why. Although the book begins as a story about friendship, bonding, and the ripples of terrible events, it evolves into something much darker and insidious - betrayal, misogyny, and the unequal burden of mistakes. Ultimately, there is also a strong current of sisterhood in friendship and the power of such connections. These themes are ones that resonate with readers and require some careful contemplation - they are harrowing to read and Margaret's own agony flows from the page.
Although the reader may figure out what is happening before Margaret, the book still manages to be quietly surprising, and the real power of the story is in how all the clues are everywhere. This was a book that, when I finished, I turned back to the earlier sections immediately and reread. It's a story that few will be satisfied with a single read. Key pieces of information are scattered like landmines or treasures throughout, and the reader is left to gather them and assemble the plot in a really riveting way. This is a book that pulls the reader in and keeps them on their toes, understanding and constructing the past and present. It is certainly a read that garners many emotions and is difficult to provide a rating - I have a feeling that this is a story that will stick with me for a long time.
Final verdict: Dark, raw, and fragmented, I AM MARGARET MOORE is an atmospheric read that is sure to leave the reader reeling. Highly recommend for fans of SADIE, SAWKILL GIRLS, and UNNATURAL DEEDS.
What worked: This is a paranormal thriller that is guaranteed to keep the reader guessing. Once I started reading this novel, I couldn't put it down!
Something sinister occured at Marshall Naval School. Those who attend only speak in whispers of the rumors. The protagonist of this story introduces us to her three best friends. Rose, the general's daughter. Nisreen and Flor who have their own secret.
I admit, the lyrical writing had me confused a few times. I had to go back and reread to make sure I understood what was going on with the friends. The protagonist isn't named at the beginning. The interactions between the friends are more shown in flashback scenes to a terrible time that involved a secret that the adults in charge of the Naval School are willing to cover up in order to protect someone.
The tension of the story slowly builds to the reveal of the protagonist that has a Macbeth feel going for it. Haunting and stirring the reader sees what finally did happen that one fateful day and how it tested the very fibers of a group of friends.
Atmospheric thriller with a supernatural feel that reminds one of those campfire ghost tales, only in this case the person is in fact real.