Rating:

Reviewed by Leigh A.

Unlike most teenage girls, when Crystal Aldridge and Bonnie Faye Whiteheart AKA ‘Bone’ said they were best friends forever, they meant it. Even Bone’s recent death via UPS truck hasn’t kept them from hanging out during Crystal’s latest mind-numbing shift at the video store. But something is coming to Crystal and Bone’s small North Carolina town, and it has something to do with the portal to the Underworld that Crystal’s family has been guarding for centuries.

L. C. Glazebrook’s October Girls is a complicated work: a novel with great strength in its execution and character development that none-the-less can leave the reader with a feeling of literary deja vu.

The world of publishing loves its trends and will milk them til the cow has run dry, and its meat is sold off to the nearest fast food chain. (Reimagined Austin-verse Horror Novels anyone?) And October Girls seems poised to be the latest addition to the YA Coming-of-Age Supernatural Genre. But despite being solidly written, it’s hard not to think of October Girls as a marketing strategy. Undead in the South? Love triangles with humans and creatures of the night? A young high school girl forced to guard an other-worldly portal at the cost of her personal life? Haven’t we seen this movie before?

While the tongue-in-cheek references to its predecessors Buffy, True Blood, and Twilight are satisfyingly vicious, the rest of the references are too topical. Facebook, Old Navy, and Twitter all popped up with such consistent regularity that I wondered if the author had a product placement deal with the companies.

[amazonify]B00433TD0I[/amazonify]But in spite of this, Glazebrook’s writing style is an utter delight. Crystal’s description of life around her perfectly fits a precocious teen who knows how the world works better than some adults. But she still winces at every mispronounced word or awkward moment with a cute guy. Glazebrook’s word choices are almost lyrical with crisp, unique metaphors like ‘meat candy’ and ‘cool beans and ice rice.’

You can tell a tale that has been told a hundred times before, so long as the characters connect with the audience. Which Crystal and Bone do. They are unabashedly two best friends in high school, and all the in-fighting, back-stabbing, and devotion that comes with that title. They joke with each other about the horror of the situations around them, and find strength in each other that they can’t always find in the people who are supposed to be guarding and helping them.

October Girls is not without its problems, but it is still a satisfying read.

Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by L. C. Glazebrook. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.