I would like to say thank you to Kabriya and Titan for sending me a physical copy of Girls of Little Hope by Sam Beckbessinger and Dale Halvorsen for free in exchange for an honest review.
I am so happy I waited to be out of reaction episodes to read this book. I fell in love with this book from the blurb and jumped at the chance to review it. “Three girls went into the woods. Only two came back, covered in blood and with no memory of what happened.” How could you not want to know.
Girls of Little Hope follows the disappearance of Donna, Rae, and Kat. Three days after their disappearance Donna and Rae return naked with no memory of what happened or any idea where Kat is. This book is set in 1996 and is full on 90s nostalgia, both the good and the bad. It’s not really a spoiler as its mention on the blurb but three girls have gone missing, and it mentions the real case of The West Memphis Three (1993) and the fear that this case had left in its wake at the tail end of Satanic panic.
I assumed the plot would revolve just around the missing girls and I was slightly wrong. The unknown element in this book is beyond compelling and we were promised horror and we got it. Up until about two hundred pages I thought I knew exactly where this book was going and was along for the ride.
In my opinion this book is split into two different parts. The first part is a beautiful mix of thriller and coming of age drama then morphs into something far more menacing in the second half. The second half of the book is where the horror aspect really takes over and the story becomes gore-spattered with graphic descriptions of violence and death. I didn’t see the sharp turn down a winding road and I was a little surprised but the turn fits the story.
I loved the mixed media aspect and thought it helped with the changing to a different character’s perspective and I felt added a real gritty and realistic element to the story. Not only do we get dual perspectives from Donna and Rae, but also from Kat’s diary entries. We get to explore Kat’s mum Marybeth’s point of view. Along side the changing the different point of view we have newspaper articles and zine pages that help the narrative along.