Goodreads summary: Fourteen-year-old Madeline lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Madeline is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Madeline as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong.
And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Madeline finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has a purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Madeline makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Madeline confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do—and fail to do—for the people they love.
I really loved reading this. It was enthralling. Like, not so much that I couldn’t put it down, because I actually read it rather slowly, but it completely consumes you when you read it. I liked that it was told retrospectively, so from the perspective of Linda as an adult, reflecting on her teenage experiences. It added a sort of unsettling, detached feeling which heightens the tension. It made me long for winter and snow and coldness which is frustrating in the midst of a heatwave. I wouldn’t say it’s slow-going, but it’s definitely not fast-paced, like not a great deal happens. It’s very character-driven but I like my books to be that way, so it was a real treat.
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Read for the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompt: a book with an animal in the title.