Emery and August were always destined to be together. That is until Emery’s best friend Lily is found dead and the town’s Orchard and main income caught on fire. With August as the main suspect in the murder, his mother and him leave their small island town. 14 years later and August has returned to bury his mother’s ashes on the island. But as August tries to lay his mother to rest, old secrets and feelings are starting to emerge causing not only August, but also Emery and the rest of the Saiorse community to rethink what they thought happened all those years ago.
While I have two of Adrienne Young’s books on my shelves, this was actually the book I’ve read from her. whoops. I believe she normally writes YA books and while this one isn’t a YA book, I’d say the story falls under New Adult. It’s definitely for an older audience but still had a slight feel of YA to it.
When I first started reading this book, I was completely drawn in by the vivid imaginary and totally bought into the idea that the island is magic. Young did an amazing job setting the scenes and this is 100% an atmospheric read.
The story is told through various POVs and while August and Emery are our main views (which there love story was beautiful), we also jump around to quite a few of the other characters, and one small chapter from the Islands perspective (which I actually wish we would have gotten more of). Even though there are multiple view points, I found them easy to navigate and they all flowed so naturally together. It really helped me, as a reader, to get more invested in the murder mystery but also just created side characters with tons of depth. Definitely liked the way Young structured the book.
I felt completely immersed into the story and for 75% of it, I thought this was for sure going to be a 5 star read. However, I needed just a little bit more from the story by the conclusion. I would have liked to understand the magic elements better and though the Island as a whole is referred to constantly as being this living thing, we only get a glimpse into what that entails. I also found the pacing of the last 25% of the book be a bit slow with an anticlimactic ending.
Young gives us a perfect balance of mystery, second chance romance, and a vivid atmosphere; making this the perfect book to read during the fall, when you need some witchy vibes, or on a rainy day. It’s not as magical as I would have wanted which is why I rounded 4.5 stars down to 4 stars. Otherwise this makes me excited to pick up her previous books finally.
Death Valley comes out October 3, 2023. Huge thank you to Scribner for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof.books.