Hi everyone! I’m back with another blog tour hosted by Patricia over at The Fantastic Flying Book Club and its for one of the books I’ve been anticipating since earlier this year: “The Tenth Girl” by Sara Faring. In addition to checking out my review, I’ve also chosen some of my favorite interesting quotes, but with an added twist – commentary directly from Sara! I had a lot of fun highlighting quotes that really stuck out to me and even more fun reading Sara’s comments about them. Hope you enjoy, too! Lastly, don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway for the chance to win a copy of “The Tenth Girl”!
My Rating: ★★★☆½
Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.
At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.
Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.
One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.
I received an eARC from the publisher as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warnings: pedophilia, self-harm, mentions of suicide, gore
I actually hesitated a bit when I first heard about this book and read the synopsis because although it sounded so intriguing and definitely piqued my curiosity, I was worried it would be too scary for me. Haha But I figured, why not give it a shot because it’s nearly Halloween and I’m trying to add variety to the genres I typically gravitate towards. The fact that it’s an #ownvoices novel by a Latinx author and is set in an Argentinian finishing school in the 1970’s made it even more appealing! I always get excited when the book takes place outside of the U.S.
Things I Liked:
Sara’s prose is absolutely gorgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed how she described everything; it felt so atmospheric and rich, and really emphasized the chilling setting of the story. It might sound weird but I was so immersed in the environment and setting that I actually felt like I was stranded there on the island with Mavi. This definitely made the creepy parts even worse (in a good way, I think?) and I often found myself having to take a break to remind myself I was safe in my room and not in a scary haunted finishing school. Haha
The world building and development of the characters also blew my mind. I really liked the parts with the Patagonian myth because it felt unique and fascinated me. The story is told in dual point of views – Mavi’s and a mysterious character named Angel – and in the first few chapters I was left feeling so confused as to what in the world what was going on, but also a little creeped out. Then unsettling events and even creepier things happened. But, hey, that’s what I was looking for, right? Sometimes I questioned my decision to pick up this book because it just kept getting scarier and literally gave me goosebumps (note to self: why did I read this before bed?). But Sara’s lovely writing and world building mostly made up for it.
Things I Disliked:
So, the ending. I’m not exactly sure if I disliked it – more like have mixed feelings, not completely certain yet. It definitely captivated me because my eyes were glued to the pages and all I could think about was WTF!?? There were some parts where it felt a bit info-dumpy and I couldn’t help but feel restless and impatient because I just wanted the story to progress already. Lastly, there was one character in particular (whom I won’t reveal due to spoilers) that felt a bit stereotypical.
Definitely creepier than I initially thought it would be, but also written beautifully. Chilling, mind-boggling, and hauntingly atmospheric, I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking to get in the mood for Halloween early. Or read it during the Halloween season!
Favorite Quotes + Sara’s Commentary:
Do not be fooled: territorial spirits inhabit our earthly flesh as we move through this brightly painted world.
Sara: Yes! Keen eyes never skim an epigraph.
If I slipped down one of these crevasses, I think I would reappear on a different plane of existence. A Patagonian Alice, lost to Wonderland.
Sara: This line came to me at the very beginning and survived every single round of edits. To those readers who have finished the book: can you blame me for wanting to shout out Alice?
I wonder if I’ll be able to hide what I must in order to fit in.
Sara: This line could reappear toward the end of the book and mean something completely different to Mavi. Gosh, you’re making me want to cozy up and re-read my book for the umpteenth time.
And if you speak too loudly about the missing, if you venture to ask what has become of them, you risk becoming one of them yourself.
Sara: I hope this book encourages readers to learn more about los desaparecidos.
I’m glittery Casper, my new flesh made of crystal webbing. I’m fairy floss, spirited far, far away from the ol’ USA’s unfortunate present. I’m fucking free.
Sara: An ideal introduction to Angel’s spunk.
The softest scrape of my shoe’s soles on stone echoes here: The house can feel me in its belly.
Sara: I wrote about houses as characters recently (link here: https://www.hypable.com/the-tenth-girl-sara-faring-excerpt-friday-13th/). They might be my favorite feature of gothic fiction.
“The tenth girl isn’t a real girl.”
Sara: I adore how this both is–and isn’t–a spoiler, because of the many tightly bound layers of mystery around who she is.
These good memories I take for granted are threads that bind me together. Snip one and I might unravel.
Sara: As someone with a foggy memory myself, I often wonder if my personality is fundamentally different as a result. Is Mavi right, and would we unravel if we lost our most cherished memories? Are we better off letting bad memories fade to near-nothing, if our brains can manage it?
Our connection was rooted in something that would be light-years long if unraveled. Something stronger than diamond but intangible on this plane.
Sara: Describing a close-knit family bond is the ultimate challenge that could take up a lifetime: a joy and a terror.
Sustained terror doesn’t suit the house’s private fantasy for us yet.
Sara: I will never write a book without a house that comes alive in some small way.
There is so much falseness in this house.
Sara: I am LIVING for the fact that so many of these quotes have double-meanings.
It’s time to let the old rules fall away and fight, now. I cannot run forever.
Sara: A life lesson I’ve had to learn myself (in far less dramatic circumstances than those experienced by dear Mavi).
What to do when darkness overwhelms? That is one thing all of those I’ve loved would have agreed upon: We must gather up our strength and fight together toward the narrowing light.
Sara: I adore Mavi’s resilience: even when she is isolated and afraid, she’s able to imagine what her loved ones (with their myriad opinions) would agree on, so she can feel confident moving forward. A sure sign she has a soul… or a very human strategy?
We’re so isolated here, I think. Trapped on this rock with the wretches around us, bleeding us dry and assuming control of us, one by one.
Sara: The gothic feel is strong in this one.
It’s the kind of blazing, destructive love that sends a shiver of fear and want through me.
Sara: Let me be melodramatic for a second: I wonder if we’ve even lived as human beings until we’ve felt this.
Wonder. The word bubbles up in me, from a place I’ve never felt. Wonder, until the very end.
Sara: YES. If there is one tiny thought in this book that I hope will burrow itself deep into readers’ minds after reading, it’s this one. Wonder, until the very end.
About the Author:
Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City.
Her first novel, The Tenth Girl, will be released by Macmillan/Imprint on September 24, 2019. Sara is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency.
Prize: Win a copy of THE TENTH GIRL by Sara Faring
Sept. 18, 2019 – Oct. 2, 2019