Title: The Tenth Girl
Author: Sara Faring
Published: September 24, 2019 by Imprint
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery
Goodreads Rating: 3.20
“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 had not read many reviews or even seen this book around too much, especially for it being a newer release. It peaked my interest though and the synopsis is highly intriguing. Even though it was published in September, since it fell under the Horror category, I opted to save this for the month of Halloween! And since I was sick on Halloween night, this was the perfect book to curl up with.
I read 80% of this book in one night. I was completely captivated by the story of Mavi and the curse placed on the boarding school. It had everything I was looking for: suspense, a mystery, a legendary curse, all mixed in with some actual tribal fact. I also really enjoyed that the book took place in Argentina and not in the States. It’s nice to have a change of venue from England, the States, and more traditional stories.
What put a damper on my rating for this book though was that promised twist, which in all honesty I did not see coming but I also kind of hated it. The whole story is an immersion game! The characters, including Mavi, the teachers, everyone living on this little island are video game characters! The ghosts are the real people and they’re mainly a bunch of perverts trying to live out their ugly fantasies. Want to try and cut off one of the girl’s hands, you can do it in this immersion game. The whole point of the game is to get the characters to sacrifice one of the girls. Angel is the real person in this story and the whole time you think he’s actually dead and in a limbo world between life and death. Like what?! To top it off, Angel is set on helping Mavi and the rest of the characters from the game escape into reality. Which actually works and ends up rewiring the brains of the immersion players. It basically leaves the players psyche in the game, and the character’s psyches are able to come out into the real world. It’s all very weird. It’s all very sci-fi but I would have preferred there to be some crazy ancient curse or a more horror related reason behind the ghosts and everyone getting sick. But no, instead we get a cop out that completely comes out of nowhere (it is flawlessly written) and turn this book from the 70’s into a modern story. Maybe I’m just feeling jipped out of a good horror story but that’s how I feel.
The other thing that didn’t necessarily detract from the book but which I feel should be mentioned is that it’s marketed as a Young Adult book and while 90% of the book could be deemed that way, the last few pages seem to be a little more adult. There are straight up comments about what the pervert immersion players do to some of the young girls, I’ll let you use your imagination, but that seems a little intense for a YA book. But maybe I’m just turning into an old bitty. Who knows.
★★★ because that ending knocked a whole star off for me. It’s available now and you can get it here!