Author: Amy Ludavics
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Nightingale was the October pick for my young adult book club at the one of the libraries I go to, and I’m embarrassed to tell you all that I forgot about it until the day we were supposed to meet, and because I’d forgotten, I was halfway through an anthology I’d started a few days before! Luckily, I reminded my friend who gives me a ride and we were able to make it. However, I didn’t finish the book until later that week. It’s been two weeks, and I’m still absolutely stunned. This is the first book I’ve read by Amy Ludavics, and I can happily inform you all that it certainly won’t be my last! In fact, that very night one of my other friends demanded I take home her sophomore novel, The Women in the Walls. Nightingale was her third novel, and even after all of this time, I’m still not quite sure what to think of it. It was dark, gory, terrifying, and strange, but there were several loose ends that I wish had been elaborated on more. Nonetheless, this book was a great mashup of science fiction and horror, and I loved the feminist overtones! One of my favorite books I’ve read in 2019, hands down!
June Hardie has always known that she’s not normal. After all, she’s not drawn to improving her homemaking skills, despite her mother’s persistence. Nor does she long for a fiancé. Instead, she dreams of being a writer. In 1951, she is considered strange and even radical. When a strange and astonishing accident happens, harming one of June’s acquaintances, her parents, fed up with her behavior, commit her to Burrow Place Asylum. With awful, inhumane conditions, abusive staff members, and brutal torture disguised as medical treatments, June’s new home is more like a prison. She fears that the people who run the asylum are preying on her deepest fears and darkest secrets, and she isn’t alone. The other girls begin to show signs of mysterious, unexplained powers, and June begins to realize that some things are just better left alone…
This book was nothing less than a knockout, for me. Horror is one of my favorite genres, and I especially love to indulge in it when fall begins, all the way through Halloween and beyond. I feel bad for forgetting about this book, but I’m so happy I was able to attend Young Adult for Adults, and I loved Nightingale. The pacing was breakneck, the prose almost hypnotic; this was horror at its finest. I also loved the way the book made me feel: paranoid, claustrophobic and on edge. That’s how you know you’ve got it, folks. That unexplainable, explanation-defying feeling of having found a winner. (Shout out to the head of our book club for picking it! Absolutely fantastic!) I also adored June, who was years ahead of her time, and her ambition to become a writer. I felt a real kinship with her as the book went on. But I think the best part of the novel was the horror elements. Blood, gore, hallucinations, monsters and supernatural powers? Sign me up! It kind of reminded me of Stranger Things a little bit. I also loved the historical details, though I was grating at most of the other characters, the adults in particular. I loved the girls June formed friendships with, especially Eleanor. That ending knocked me flat, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it, exactly, and I wish there hadn’t been so many loose ends. Nonetheless, Amy Ludavics has proven herself to one a formidable and memorable author, and I can’t wait to dive deep into her other works! The bottom line: Terrifying, thought-provoking, feminist and perfect to get in the mood for Halloween, I loved Nightingale, despite some strange loose ends! Next on deck: His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allen Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined by Dahlia Adler!