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The Furies

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This page-turning, harrowing debut is the story of a girl trying to fit in, whose obsessive new friends and desperation to belong leads her to places she'd never imagined...dark, dangerous, and possibly even violent. In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead. She's posed on a swing on her boarding school's property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death. This page-turning, harrowing debut is the story of a girl trying to fit in, whose obsessive new friends and desperation to belong leads her to places she'd never imagined...dark, dangerous, and possibly even violent. In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead. She's posed on a swing on her boarding school's property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death. Whispers and rumors swirl, with no answers. But there are a few who know what happened; there is one girl who will never forget. One year earlier: a new student, Violet, steps on the campus of Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl's boarding school on the outskirts of a sleepy coastal town. This is her fresh start, her chance to begin again in the wake of tragedy, leave her demons behind. Bright but a little strange, uncertain and desperate to fit in, she soon finds herself invited to an advanced study group, led by her alluring and mysterious art teacher, Annabel. There, with three other girls--Alex, Grace, and Robin--the five of them delve into the school's long-buried grim history: of Greek and Celtic legends; of the school founder's "academic" interest in the occult; of gruesome 17th century witch trials. Annabel does her best to convince the girls that her classes aren't related to ancient rites and rituals, and that they are just history and mythology. But the more she tries to warn the girls off the topic, the more they drawn to it, and the possibility that they can harness magic for themselves. Violet quickly finds herself wrapped up in this heady new world of lawless power--except she is needled by the disappearance of a former member of the group, one with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance. As her friends' actions take a turn for the darker and spiral out of control, she begins to wonder who she can trust, all the while becoming more deeply entangled. How far will these young girls go to protect one another...or to destroy one another?


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This page-turning, harrowing debut is the story of a girl trying to fit in, whose obsessive new friends and desperation to belong leads her to places she'd never imagined...dark, dangerous, and possibly even violent. In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead. She's posed on a swing on her boarding school's property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death. This page-turning, harrowing debut is the story of a girl trying to fit in, whose obsessive new friends and desperation to belong leads her to places she'd never imagined...dark, dangerous, and possibly even violent. In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead. She's posed on a swing on her boarding school's property, dressed all in white, with no known cause of death. Whispers and rumors swirl, with no answers. But there are a few who know what happened; there is one girl who will never forget. One year earlier: a new student, Violet, steps on the campus of Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl's boarding school on the outskirts of a sleepy coastal town. This is her fresh start, her chance to begin again in the wake of tragedy, leave her demons behind. Bright but a little strange, uncertain and desperate to fit in, she soon finds herself invited to an advanced study group, led by her alluring and mysterious art teacher, Annabel. There, with three other girls--Alex, Grace, and Robin--the five of them delve into the school's long-buried grim history: of Greek and Celtic legends; of the school founder's "academic" interest in the occult; of gruesome 17th century witch trials. Annabel does her best to convince the girls that her classes aren't related to ancient rites and rituals, and that they are just history and mythology. But the more she tries to warn the girls off the topic, the more they drawn to it, and the possibility that they can harness magic for themselves. Violet quickly finds herself wrapped up in this heady new world of lawless power--except she is needled by the disappearance of a former member of the group, one with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance. As her friends' actions take a turn for the darker and spiral out of control, she begins to wonder who she can trust, all the while becoming more deeply entangled. How far will these young girls go to protect one another...or to destroy one another?

30 review for The Furies

  1. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **2.5-stars rounded up** A teenage girl found dead, her body posed on a swing set, on the grounds of a prestigious private school. So, the mystery begins. As a reader, you do not know the identity of the girl. Fun, right? Then begins our protagonist, Violet, telling of her days at the school and the events leading up to the mysterious death. You grab your popcorn and settle in for what is sure to be an intense murder mystery and then it's just not. There was so much about this book that should have **2.5-stars rounded up** A teenage girl found dead, her body posed on a swing set, on the grounds of a prestigious private school. So, the mystery begins. As a reader, you do not know the identity of the girl. Fun, right? Then begins our protagonist, Violet, telling of her days at the school and the events leading up to the mysterious death. You grab your popcorn and settle in for what is sure to be an intense murder mystery and then it's just not. There was so much about this book that should have worked for me. It was described as being set at a private school in a sleepy, coastal town. YES! Give me that. I love that type of atmosphere and literally seek it out in books. I live on an island out in the middle of the ocean for goodness sake! My life is a sleepy, coastal town. I never really felt that sense of place though while reading this. The atmosphere just wasn't there for me. It could have been anywhere. Violet, the new girl at the school, is odd and unsure and desperate to fit in. When Robin befriends her, she is smitten right away. Robin seems dangerous and way more mature than Violet. Two other girls, Alex and Grace, ultimately make up their group of four. This set-up was very reminiscent of The Craft which also should have worked for me as that is one of my favorite movies, EVER. Again, it just fell flat for me. The relationships were never intriguing or captivating enough. I didn't believe it. The girls are in sort of a secret group that is headed up by one of their teachers. She teaches them about the classics and the history of the school itself, which was once the setting for witch trials and executions. Okay, great. That all sounds interesting as well but the school stuff was just so boring to me. Perhaps if I was a bigger fan of the classics in question, of myths and legends, such as 'the furies', I would have been more into that aspect. Sadly, I am just not so fear it went heinously over my head. Then the girls beginning dabbling in occult practices trying to harness magic for themselves. As expected they push it way too far with dire consequences. This was the one aspect of the book that kept me reading but even this, used in their eyes for revenge, I ended up feeling lost amidst all the details. I'm not sure if it was the format that put me off or the fact that the writing, although using intelligent topics, words, structure, etc., it just felt so technical. It lacked heart. I am not sure if I am expressing this correctly or not, I just felt the entire story lacked emotion. I never, ever connected with it. Technically, fine. Emotionally, lacking. I know a lot of people are going to enjoy this as all the basic elements are in place for a solid story. Just personally, it wasn't for me. Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin's Press, for providing me with an opportunity to read and review this book. I know this is a debut for this author and I would be interested in reading whatever she releases next.

  2. 4 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!! The Secret History via Megan Abbott for a YA audience, The Furies is about teengirl rage and the revenge it engenders; a story of "…the brutal power of female friendship, of those secrets women share between themselves, in those moments men are too blind to see.” female rage novels are, if you will permit me, all the rage right now, and, being a fan of ‘girls gone wild’ stories, i could not be happier. this one is dark and damaged and gritty and sharp, and it’s what i had hoped NOW AVAILABLE!! The Secret History via Megan Abbott for a YA audience, The Furies is about teengirl rage and the revenge it engenders; a story of "…the brutal power of female friendship, of those secrets women share between themselves, in those moments men are too blind to see.” female rage novels are, if you will permit me, all the rage right now, and, being a fan of ‘girls gone wild’ stories, i could not be happier. this one is dark and damaged and gritty and sharp, and it’s what i had hoped the other book i read with the same title would be (incidentally, i have also read two books called fury [one and two], so you can see i have a type.) violet is a sixteen-year-old girl from a shabby seaside town who has miraculously survived a car accident that killed her father and her younger sister. although she grew up far from wealthy, with the insurance money from the accident, violet is able to attend an elite girls’ school nearby, and reluctantly takes the opportunity to start over where no one knows anything about her. her mother has been reduced to a shadow in her grief, leaving violet completely unmoored, and she soon finds herself unexpectedly absorbed into a tight-knit foursome, whose previous fourth member mysteriously vanished several months earlier, a girl who, eerily enough, very strongly resembled violet. it starts off predictably enough for this kind of dark coming-of-age story; demonstrating the transformative power of adolescent female friendships as violet alters herself to the tone of the group. under the particular influence of robin, the missing girl’s former bestie, she starts smoking, drinking, taking pills, and going to college parties with college boys. robin even renames her, calling her “vivi,” which violet takes as a sign of an especial favor she strives to live up to. I stumbled along beside her, speechless and blind, as she chattered on about classes, homework she refused to do (“on principle,” she said, not explaining what, exactly, the principle was) and girls she hated, their crimes seeming to me like instructions, things I would no longer say or do. and then it goes into The Secret History territory, when violet is invited to attend the exclusive lessons the clique have been studying, held in the clock tower under the guidance of annabel, their charismatic art teacher, where they learn about the school’s less-publicized history of secret societies led by powerful women with occult leanings, some of whom were burned as witches; lessons of sisterhood and empowerment, examining the latent fear of women permeating classical literature and art. "…unsupervised, private female friendships? Oh no. Women, alone together, without the supervision of men, almost always caused disaster in their households, and the wider community, these freedoms resulting in madness, anger, sexual desire, or jealousy resulting in death. Women are not to be left alone, together, or tragedy will surely follow.” and then things start to get dangerous. it’s an excellent debut and a strong contribution to the recent batch of rage-lit (Sadie, The Female of the Species, Ninth House, etc) the prose is occasionally a little overdressed, but there are moments of such anthemic potency, it is easily forgiven. I suppose there are moments, best (or at least most commonly) experienced in the heady years of adolescence, when a girl decides who—or what—she is going to be. Girls who chase boys, who twirl their hair and walk through clouds of chain-store perfume, learning their allure. Girls who like books, who revel in their solitude, and lonely girls who don’t; girls who eat, and girls who don’t. Girls with piercings, tattoos, scars. Angry girls, who bare their teeth and scratch at their arms. Unironic boy-band pink-clad girls, who scream and wail and live in every breath. Girls who read Vogue and spend their Saturdays with jealous hands on clothes their allowances won’t afford. Girls who long to be mothers, and their own mothers who long for their youth. Art girls. Science girls. Girls who’ll make it out alive. Girls who won’t. And then, there are the invisible girls: the ones nobody thinks to be afraid of. The girls who hide in plain sight, flirting and giggling; girls for whom sugar and spice is a mask. Girls who spark matches and spill battery acid on skin. Girls for whom the rules do not apply. go on, girls—go wild. ******************************** Congratulations karen! You are a Giveaways Winner! my very first GR win of 2019!! i am so excited!! thank you, gods of the GR giveaways! come to my blog!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    “Some things simply cannot be believed. Even when you know they’re true.” The Furies is a slow-burn psychological thriller about four teenage girls who long for power. Through the study of art, mythology, and ancient witchcraft, they believe they found their voices. However, rather than uses these elements as a guide, they use them to seek vengeance. When Violet, a teenage outcast, starts attending an elite school, she isn’t looking to make friends. Having suffered the shock of losing her “Some things simply cannot be believed. Even when you know they’re true.” The Furies is a slow-burn psychological thriller about four teenage girls who long for power. Through the study of art, mythology, and ancient witchcraft, they believe they found their voices. However, rather than uses these elements as a guide, they use them to seek vengeance. When Violet, a teenage outcast, starts attending an elite school, she isn’t looking to make friends. Having suffered the shock of losing her father and baby sister in a car crash, she is merely existing. That is until she meets Robin, a charismatic bad girl who introduces Violet to a world filled with death, destruction, obsession, and chaos. Violet falls quickly under Robin’s spell and, in doing so, discovers her dark side. The Furies is a slow-burn character study told through Violet’s eyes. The narrative focuses on the relationship mainly between Violet and Robin. Through Violet's character, Lowe does a good job of bringing teenage insecurities to light, especially in how they might lead one down a dark path. However, I felt like a good chunk of the time I was only hearing about what was happening to Violet vs. being able to see her go through the horrors that she suffers. The ending was fitting but at the same time choppy and a bit lackluster. There were parts that I loved and others where I had trouble experiencing what was happening to Violet. Some events are detailed and fully explained, whereas other major events just happen. It took me a long time to read this book. I would pick it up, read a few chapters, put it down and then come back to it a few days later. The characters felt distant and I struggled with the pacing of the narrative. However, I was compelled to see what happens to these four girls. While I didn’t love The Furies, I did find certain aspects interesting and enjoyed Lowe’s take on vengeance. I won an ARC of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    This book is an okay read for me. I don't particularly like it much where Violet seems to be smart but do dumb things. She doesn't question why but follows blindly after Robin in her desperate need to have friends. The story for the most part, follows a 16 years old Violet but occasionally the story change it up to "as I look back" as if indicating that Violet is older and looking back to her first weeks of high school. There was no indication that the story was going to be told as a look back This book is an okay read for me. I don't particularly like it much where Violet seems to be smart but do dumb things. She doesn't question why but follows blindly after Robin in her desperate need to have friends. The story for the most part, follows a 16 years old Violet but occasionally the story change it up to "as I look back" as if indicating that Violet is older and looking back to her first weeks of high school. There was no indication that the story was going to be told as a look back through memory lane. I don't really enjoy all that underage intentionally drinking, smoking, and drugs. 
This book started out with what appears to be a prologue, told in the first person point of view following a teacher and murderer of a 16 years old high school girl from long ago. Then the story begins with Violet, 16, smart and friendless, who survived a deadly car crash where her dad and sister died. With the accident settlement, it gives her the opportunity to attend an all girls school. At the school, she got invited to join a group of girls who are interested in witchcrafts and a study group with her art teacher Annabelle. This book is divided into 4 seasons starting with autumn. 
The Furies is well written, just not for me. I don't enjoy reading good girl deliberately gone bad without thinking. Violet is not clever at all. She basically let Tom have his way with her and then mad about it. She could have made better decisions, like not follow him and just leave when she said she's about to go. The friendship is not that great. The four of them seems to split to two and threes and often Violet is just following along. The murder doesn't make much sense since they were the one that were intruding the victim's premise. I can't help but skip through and then just couldn't finish it and don't care for the ending one way or another. The prologue however, sounds interesting. Pro: prologue
Con: slow paced, smart girl intentionally do dumb things
I rate it 3 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.
xoxo,
Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

  5. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... Although I’m not big into witches or witchcraft etc., I was still really intrigued by this books description. In 1998 a sixteen-year-old girl was found dead on the grounds of Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girls boarding school. She was dressed in white and posed sitting upright on a swing. No one knows exactly what caused her death. Not a single clue was left. It was as if her heart just stopped. Violet’s father and younger My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr... Although I’m not big into witches or witchcraft etc., I was still really intrigued by this books description. In 1998 a sixteen-year-old girl was found dead on the grounds of Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girls boarding school. She was dressed in white and posed sitting upright on a swing. No one knows exactly what caused her death. Not a single clue was left. It was as if her heart just stopped. Violet’s father and younger sister were recently killed in a horrific car accident….an accident that Violet miraculously survived. Violet’s mother is grieving and isn’t able to be there for Violet. It is eventually decided that Violet will attend Elm Hollow Academy. It isn’t long before Violet is invited to be a part of a study group led by the school’s art teacher, Annabel. Violet will learn more about art and mythology, and the history of Elm Hollow Academy. Another member of Annabel's study group, Emily Frost has gone missing. Violet is told that she resembles the missing girl. The other members of the group are Robin, Grace, and Alex. Robin takes a special interest in Violet and soon the two are close friends. Violet is so thankful for Robin’s friendship that she tolerates her frequent mood swings. She is kind to Violet one moment and vicious the next. Violet is changing. She is skipping school and experimenting with things like drugs, alcohol, older boys, and more. Suddenly things are spiraling out of control and Violet isn’t sure who she can trust. What other secrets are her new friends keeping? The prologue of this novel was really intriguing but soon after I found it just wasn’t holding my attention. Most of the characters were very difficult to like. The girls were so cruel to each other. I just couldn’t seem to connect with the characters or the storyline. I felt that some of the descriptions were unnecessary and had to skip a few parts entirely. However, I stuck with it because I wanted to see how it ended. Overall, this novel wasn’t what I expected. Of course, this is just my opinion. Many readers loved the novel, it just wasn’t for me. A young adult novel about toxic friendships, love, secrets, lies, dark magic, death, and revenge. I'd like to thank St. Martin's Press for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    A sixteen-year-old-girl is found dead in a swing at her boarding school. It’s 1998. No one knows how she died. Rumors light up and spread like wildfire. Well, actually, a few know what happened, but they aren’t talking. One student is particularly distraught. Violet is a new student at the boarding school, Elm Hollow Academy, just one year earlier. Violet needs a new start, and this will be it; leaving her past behind. Like any other teen, she desperately wants to fit in though she’s a bit A sixteen-year-old-girl is found dead in a swing at her boarding school. It’s 1998. No one knows how she died. Rumors light up and spread like wildfire. Well, actually, a few know what happened, but they aren’t talking. One student is particularly distraught. Violet is a new student at the boarding school, Elm Hollow Academy, just one year earlier. Violet needs a new start, and this will be it; leaving her past behind. Like any other teen, she desperately wants to fit in though she’s a bit awkward. Brilliant but eccentric at times. Violet is invited to a study group led by her art teacher, Annabel. Alex, Grace, and Robin are also in the group, and they are studying the history of the school. It’s rather dark. The school founder was interested in the occult, and the witch trials played a part. A former member of the group has disappeared, and she looks much like Violet. While her friends take part in more and more darkness, Violet doesn’t know what to do. She’s not sure how far this will go and will it go up in flames? I loved the art and mythology. This was such a unique read. I love the female slant here. It was clever and edgy. The Furies is a well-written engaging story about toxic friends with a dark backdrop of witches, spells, murder, and magic. I found it engrossing and thought-churning. Katie Lowe definitely kept me on my toes! Highly recommended for fans of darkly themed young adult novels! I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    The Secret History meets Girls on Fire meets The Graces. "It seems that women are doomed to two fates. It is our lot to either be seen as unpredictable and irrational mortals, maligned and repressed by the actions of men; or sacred beings, goddesses of higher realm, among the Fates and Furies." The Furies is yet another YA novel that focuses on the potential toxicity of female friendships. Quite honestly, those are all my buzzwords and I will devour anything on the topic, no matter how many The Secret History meets Girls on Fire meets The Graces. "It seems that women are doomed to two fates. It is our lot to either be seen as unpredictable and irrational mortals, maligned and repressed by the actions of men; or sacred beings, goddesses of higher realm, among the Fates and Furies." The Furies is yet another YA novel that focuses on the potential toxicity of female friendships. Quite honestly, those are all my buzzwords and I will devour anything on the topic, no matter how many seemingly similar novels appear on the shelves. This book, however, also had something far more sinister to offer the reader, that appeared in the prologue and framed the narrative with its horrifying imagery. And right from this initial scene of terror I was hooked! Asides from the interplay involved in teen girl friendships, academic settings are another of my bookish buzzwords. An elite school is erected for these fictional creations that could draw its source from many real-world alternatives. The abundance and the pretension lured me into this world and when this veneer became scratched Lowe exposed the sinister history it tremulously resided upon. The historic abuse of women and the rumoured witchcraft of those females deemed unsavoury is not a new discovery, and yet what Lowe does with this most certainly is. She brings home the image of the witch and lets it rest and grow, unknown and yet right in the heart of the patriarchal regime that once condemned it to the outskirts. This is a novel ripe with sensual and sexual undertones that tainted every scene with an atmospheric foreboding that disallowed any facet to be taken at face value. The suspense mounts incrementally and ensures the reader is hooked to every word, as myth and history begin to collide with reality. Nothing can be trusted. All will be revealed. And in the wake of this discovery the reader will be left reeling. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, Thank you to th author, Katie Lowe, and the publisher, Harper Collins, for this opportunity.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    Yes, there is a dead student. Yes, there are four girls attending a private school. Yes, the loner is brought into the fold. Yes, they are misfits and chosen by their teacher for private instruction about the witchy history surrounding their school and the accompanying mythology. Yes, they attempt rituals, spells or what have you. Look a little closer and what this book is really about is feminine rage, unrealized female potential (and aggression when violated or wronged). I thoroughly enjoyed Yes, there is a dead student. Yes, there are four girls attending a private school. Yes, the loner is brought into the fold. Yes, they are misfits and chosen by their teacher for private instruction about the witchy history surrounding their school and the accompanying mythology. Yes, they attempt rituals, spells or what have you. Look a little closer and what this book is really about is feminine rage, unrealized female potential (and aggression when violated or wronged). I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s erudite take on feminine anger and revenge contained within particular works of art and classic myths. Does the students’ hocus pocus yield results? That’s left for the reader to decide.

  9. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    sometimes you just need a book to show up whispering dark academia and murder and The Furies is here for that. The tagline was a bit of: obsession, witchcraft, murder. And holy shit thank you so much for this gift? It's set in an all-girls school and its maddeningly twisted and introspective, full of complex and possessive friendships (i stand by the fact that all four girls were queer), and deliciously dark twists. It has a lot of classics analysation though, which did leave me face down on the sometimes you just need a book to show up whispering dark academia and murder and The Furies is here for that. The tagline was a bit of: obsession, witchcraft, murder. And holy shit thank you so much for this gift? It's set in an all-girls school and its maddeningly twisted and introspective, full of complex and possessive friendships (i stand by the fact that all four girls were queer), and deliciously dark twists. It has a lot of classics analysation though, which did leave me face down on the carpet going: what. The fact that people can memorise philosophy quotes and give lectures and not lose their train of thought or break off to say, "lol where was I going with this," is INCREDIBLE and I applaud humankind. Sometimes I go into a room and forget why. And yes, the characters are 16, but this is adult lit. It really crawls inside the skin of darker topics: how people treat women, how women have been categorically reduced to being "witches" for centuries when they want an education, how predators work, how rape is still rape even if a girl is too frozen to say no, how girls can hurt and manipulate and play mind games to impress each other -- but also to stay afloat in a life that's whittling them down to nothing. But the plain fact is this: in the face of murder, all life seems thrilling, all chaos and potential. It's a high, a buzz, a decadent light -- and for a little while, it didn't matter what anyone said, or thought. Only the electric sense of life, and the power we had to take it. The power we had to kill. It feels a little bit like The Secret History, so if you liked that and want more in that strain -- try this! It's not quite as long or convoluted, and the characters are obviously younger, and this does analyse a lot of "teen girl vapidness" but actually talking about the complexities of being a teen. It was super interesting and well done. ALSO. They gay. Alex and Grace at least committed. I am so sure Violet was in love with Robin. Also they were horrible? And I sort of still love them all? Violet did resemble damp bread (channelling Richard from TSH apparently) but god she was so complex. And traumatised. I am now traumatised. Perfect, thank you. It's dark and mind twisty, about girls who have been belittled or pushed or wronged...and they hit back, vicious and innocent all at once. It's about girls who seem invisible -- until they're not. And there's blood and rumours and a corpse frozen in death on a swing. So so messed up yessss. And then, there were the invisible girls: the ones nobody thinks to be afraid of. The girls who hide in plain sight, flirting and giggling; girls for whom sugar and spice is a mask. Girls who spark matches and spill battery acid on skin. Girls for whom the rules do not apply.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    (4.5) In a run-down seaside town somewhere in England lives Violet, an unhappy and isolated 16-year-old. She is the only survivor of a car crash that killed her father and little sister; in the aftermath, her mother withdraws into a numb state of grief, barely able to function. Violet's only desire is to escape. But a huge insurance settlement opens a different kind of door: Violet is to study for her A Levels at a private girls' school, Elm Hollow Academy. There, she meets the girls who will (4.5) In a run-down seaside town somewhere in England lives Violet, an unhappy and isolated 16-year-old. She is the only survivor of a car crash that killed her father and little sister; in the aftermath, her mother withdraws into a numb state of grief, barely able to function. Violet's only desire is to escape. But a huge insurance settlement opens a different kind of door: Violet is to study for her A Levels at a private girls' school, Elm Hollow Academy. There, she meets the girls who will become her clique. There's aloof Alex, quiet Grace, and the grungily glamorous scholarship girl, Robin, who introduces Violet to cigarettes, drugs, older boys and... witchcraft. For Elm Hollow has a dark past, from the burning of an accused witch on the premises in the 17th century, to the disappearance of student Emily Frost – Robin’s best friend – the previous year. Though Violet is warned away from them by others, her status as one of the clique is secured when she's invited to be part of an exclusive study group by Annabel, a charismatic art teacher. On the surface, it might seem like there's nothing particularly new here. (Indeed, as I've mentioned before, I feel the world has more than enough 'girls behaving badly' stories.) Yet something about this snared me immediately. Part of its genius is the unlovely setting. Another part is leading with that: the first three paragraphs of the first chapter are devoted to sketching a bleak portrait of the crumbling, neglected town, 'the kind of place people came to die', complete with grey beaches, shabby arcades and 'pavilions caked in bird shit and graffiti'. We immediately understand that, even for the relatively privileged students of Elm Hollow, there is precious little glamour to be found in such a place. Violet narrates from an adult perspective, trying to pick apart her memories of this formative year. As teenagers, the girls are convinced they have summoned mighty spirits of vengeance – the Greek Furies. This perceived power leads them to devise ever-more cruel methods of punishment for their 'enemies'. Two decades later, Violet can scarcely understand what was and wasn't real. Her adult perspective is crucial, especially in the second half of the book, when events spiral so far out of control they barely seem credible. Is our narrator remembering correctly, or simply reinforcing the wild imaginings of a traumatised 16-year-old? The Furies isn't subtle. The prose can get a little too purple; some of the metaphors and similes could do with being cut. But honestly, I kind of loved how overblown it all was. At one point, Violet uses the phrase ‘gorgeous, blooming immensity’, which is a perfect way to describe the story itself. The way everything starts coming apart at the end... there's a sex scene late in the book that’s completely disgusting, viscerally horrible, and it seems to make plain an undercurrent of decay that has been growing stronger since the beginning. This novel is alive with the vigour and liberty of adolescence. It’s also streaked with the grime and nastiness of the very same thing. Terror, obsession, feigned nonchalance, narcissism, the first pangs of nostalgia – heady ingredients combined into something addictive, awful and wonderful, a riveting story set in a fictional world that both repulsed and entranced me. I loved it. I loved getting lost in it. You might like The Furies if you enjoyed: The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly; the film The Craft; The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein; The Secret Place by Tana French; Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I received an advance review copy of The Furies from the publisher through NetGalley. TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  11. 5 out of 5

    jv poore

    Theoretically, it may be a bit easier to handle the aftermath of a tragedy if someone close suffers the same horror. Certainly, an adolescent girl could expect her mother to understand and to bear the burden with her. Vivian’s mom does know the shock, the overwhelming ache of emptiness. It’s almost as if she found a way to absorb it. Vivian no longer sees her mom, there is only a hollow shell where the warm, caring soul should still be. Perhaps Vivian, too, would have just faded away, if not for Theoretically, it may be a bit easier to handle the aftermath of a tragedy if someone close suffers the same horror. Certainly, an adolescent girl could expect her mother to understand and to bear the burden with her. Vivian’s mom does know the shock, the overwhelming ache of emptiness. It’s almost as if she found a way to absorb it. Vivian no longer sees her mom, there is only a hollow shell where the warm, caring soul should still be. Perhaps Vivian, too, would have just faded away, if not for the opportunity to attend the prestigious Elm Hollow. A curious campus—that, of course “has a history”—and the intriguing course-structures were appealing. But it was watching the girls making their way from class to class that truly began to stir something inside of Vivian. For the first time, in a long time, Vivian felt like learning again. Looking forward, making friends, maybe even dating: thoughts that had been gathering dust in the back of her brain tentatively slunk forward. Young ladies gathered in pairs, loose groups and a few had chosen solo spots and were sprinkled throughout. One thing seemed the same, though. All seemed…content. Ok, not “all”. There are three…or to be more accurate, there is trio standing out. Admittedly, the righteous red of Robin’s hair is impossible to miss, but Vivian is pretty sure there’s an undercurrent connecting the clearly-close friends. Inexplicably drawn to them, Vivian feels her heart beat again when she is welcomed into their fold. Ms. Lowe doesn’t allow the uplifting illusion to linger. As Vivian embraces all of Elm Hollow her mind happily gathers information, albeit by bits and pieces. She soon learns enough to put together a surprising, scary picture. Relationships are not new; backgrounds are tangled, gnarled roots and Vivian has been snagged. Entirely on her own, she will become eternally ensnared in Elm Hollow, or she will have to hack her way out. I cannot wait to take this suck-you-in-and-spin-you-story to “my” students next month! This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books, with huge thanks for the Advance Review Copy for my favorite classroom library.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This one was a bit half and half for me. There were things I enjoyed and things I did not but I still became totally engrossed in reading it especially when events speeded up in the later chapters. I found the main characters to be a mixed bunch. Violet desperately needed to learn the word 'no' and Robin was just awful. Grace and Alex appeared to be more mature but they also had hidden depths! Much of the book was about girls being mean to girls which was a bit obvious and unpleasant. I also This one was a bit half and half for me. There were things I enjoyed and things I did not but I still became totally engrossed in reading it especially when events speeded up in the later chapters. I found the main characters to be a mixed bunch. Violet desperately needed to learn the word 'no' and Robin was just awful. Grace and Alex appeared to be more mature but they also had hidden depths! Much of the book was about girls being mean to girls which was a bit obvious and unpleasant. I also thought the sex scenes were forced into the action and did not need to be there at all. On the other hand the story itself was great! It was tense, it was spooky and frequently very blood thirsty. Once we started to get down to who the murderer really was it became edge of the seat stuff and then we discovered what the prologue was all about! Very clever. The author leaves the ending open for readers to draw their own conclusions - was it magic or was it murder? I do not usually like open ended books but in this case I had a very definite opinion of my own and was comfortable with it:) My thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    I stepped a bit out of my reading comfort zone for this one and even though this wasn't a complete winner for me, I am glad I read it. Initially I had been concerned how much witchcraft was going to play in the story as that's not something I'm typically all that interested in. However, there really was a lot going on in the story besides that so I do believe this book has the potential to appeal to a wide variety of readers. So the book starts off with the narrator talking about how years ago a I stepped a bit out of my reading comfort zone for this one and even though this wasn't a complete winner for me, I am glad I read it. Initially I had been concerned how much witchcraft was going to play in the story as that's not something I'm typically all that interested in. However, there really was a lot going on in the story besides that so I do believe this book has the potential to appeal to a wide variety of readers. So the book starts off with the narrator talking about how years ago a 16 year old girl was found dead on school property. Super mysterious as to what exactly happened. We are then taken back in time to when Violet, the narrator, was growing up and had just recently lost both her father and sister due to a car accident. She has just enrolled as a new student at Hollow Academy, a private girl's school, where she can hopefully have a fresh start. The school has the unfortunate history of being the site for witch trials during the 17th century. Violet is a bit of an outsider for a variety of reasons but she is invited to join a private study group. And that's all your getting out of me as I think it's best to go in to this one without a lot of prior info. One of the strengths of the novel was there were quite a few things I didn't see coming and to me it was a good feeling not ever knowing just exactly what the author had in store. I think that also contributed to the whole creepy vibe of the story. This book has been compared to the movie, The Craft, and I definitely do not think that is a bad or off the wall comparison. However, I just don't think the group of four girls in this book had the same spark, charisma, or whatever you want to call it as the characters in the movie. Alex and Grace in particular just blended in together as I didn't find either one to be all that memorable. I also can't help but feel like there was almost too much that was added to the story in terms of different topics and themes the author wanted to explore and as a result it felt messy at times. I might not have been in love with the execution, but I have no regrets about reading this one and I do appreciate the effort to bring something different to the genre. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    The Furies was a solid 3 stars. The book centers around main character Violet-a teenager who attends Elm Hollow Academy (a private school for girls that was the site for the 17th century witch trials) soon after the death of her father and sister. While at the academy, Violet joins a study group with three other girls under the tutelage of Ms. Annabel-things definitely take off from there. The Furies is a well-written and unique book that involves murder, magic, toxic friendships, and rituals The Furies was a solid 3 stars. The book centers around main character Violet-a teenager who attends Elm Hollow Academy (a private school for girls that was the site for the 17th century witch trials) soon after the death of her father and sister. While at the academy, Violet joins a study group with three other girls under the tutelage of Ms. Annabel-things definitely take off from there. The Furies is a well-written and unique book that involves murder, magic, toxic friendships, and rituals among other things. Recommend to fans of darker theme books. Thank you NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    As an exploration of girls gone bad, this does a decent job, but it feels like an echo. It's been done before and better. Definitely more The Craft than The Secret History, the book struggled to hit the depth of character or theme necessary for it to be truly absorbing. The characters were light: Violet's voice held little attraction, overwhelmed by the darker threads of her new best friend, Robin, and the others are straight out of every teen drama you've ever seen/read. The problem is that As an exploration of girls gone bad, this does a decent job, but it feels like an echo. It's been done before and better. Definitely more The Craft than The Secret History, the book struggled to hit the depth of character or theme necessary for it to be truly absorbing. The characters were light: Violet's voice held little attraction, overwhelmed by the darker threads of her new best friend, Robin, and the others are straight out of every teen drama you've ever seen/read. The problem is that it's just not that engaging, nothing explored to the necessary extent to give it real feeling, with actions lacking genuine motivations, consequences, or validity. It nevertheless had some wonderfully pointed discussions about the danger of female power as told through mythic, literary, and artistic representation. As a huge fan of women in Greek tragedy, these parts spoke to me. Honestly, the secret society part was thrilling- if I had the opportunity to join, I wouldn't have been mucking around with witchcraft and murder, I would have been too busy reading. These moments are layered through the narrative, seemingly to explain or even incite the action, a whole history of female revenge with this as only the latest incarnation. It's not entirely convincing but my interest in the subject made me love these flashes regardless. There's so much potential in the writing here that I wanted to see more, and will read the author's next offering when it comes, but this just didn't hit the spot. ARC via Netgalley

  16. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    I LOVED this. Without doubt the best book I’ve read featuring toxic female friendship since “Girls on Fire” – The Furies is haunting, evocative and sits in your head, that underlying sense of menace and anticipation resonates throughout. Violet desperately wants friendship, even as she tells herself she doesn’t need it, so when she is befriended by the enigmatic and edgy Robin and drawn into a circle of secrets and lies, she will do anything to protect it. Darkness and obsession, fatal ties and I LOVED this. Without doubt the best book I’ve read featuring toxic female friendship since “Girls on Fire” – The Furies is haunting, evocative and sits in your head, that underlying sense of menace and anticipation resonates throughout. Violet desperately wants friendship, even as she tells herself she doesn’t need it, so when she is befriended by the enigmatic and edgy Robin and drawn into a circle of secrets and lies, she will do anything to protect it. Darkness and obsession, fatal ties and dangerous magic make for an utter page turner of a literary novel, with some beautiful writing and intelligent layered nuance. The Furies is both observational and insightful, as Violet tells the tale of this fascinating group, of both love and hate, random happiness and sudden horror. Katie Lowe uses cutting edge prose to draw the reader into Violet’s world then doesn’t allow you to look away, it is utterly gripping from the vivid opening to the melancholy finish. Absolutely excellent. Highly Recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    DNF... I never give up on a book! This one started out as a slow burn so I turned to reviewers I could trust. Upon hearing there was an an “incident” with a cat... I am out. Too many books, too little time for that. Thank you to the fantastic and generous St. Martin’s Press for this ARC. It just wasn’t for me DNF... I never give up on a book! This one started out as a slow burn so I turned to reviewers I could trust. Upon hearing there was an an “incident” with a cat... I am out. Too many books, too little time for that. Thank you to the fantastic and generous St. Martin’s Press for this ARC. It just wasn’t for me😕

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    There are lots of novel with similar themes to this. An elite school, strange cliques of girls, and, as we know from the beginning, a death. It has been done before, but I have a weakness for novels about schools, female friendships and so those words do pull me in, however hard I try to resist. It feels to Violet as though her life is put on hold after the death of her father, and sister, in an accident. Her mother seems unable to move beyond her grief and, taking advantage of her disinterest, There are lots of novel with similar themes to this. An elite school, strange cliques of girls, and, as we know from the beginning, a death. It has been done before, but I have a weakness for novels about schools, female friendships and so those words do pull me in, however hard I try to resist. It feels to Violet as though her life is put on hold after the death of her father, and sister, in an accident. Her mother seems unable to move beyond her grief and, taking advantage of her disinterest, she opts out of school. Take your time, everyone says, until, finally, her mother suggests that she use the money they received after the accident to attend Elm Hollow Academy – a prestigious, artistic school. Without really realising it, Violet is lonely and is soon attracted by the unconventional, carefree and confident Robin. She can hardly believe it when she is included in the small group – Robin, Grace and Alex, and – as there so often is in these novels – teacher, Annabel. There are warnings; word of a girl, previously included in Robin’s group, who mysteriously disappeared, but Violet doesn’t take it too seriously. This novel has interesting characters, a slightly creepy premise, and is well written. Yes, there are other books that cover similar ground, but if you do like crime novels with intense female friendships –especially those set in a school – then you will enjoy this. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ingstje

    If I don’t hit it off with a novel right away – if I’m not feeling ‘it’ – it’ll be difficult to turn that feeling around and, unfortunately, that’s what happened when I started reading The Furies. The fact is that for some reason I didn’t take in some of the narrative in certain paragraphs and I had to go back and reread parts of the story. I believe the reason for this could be because of the lyrical and descriptive writing style and the plot didn’t really capture my attention after the – I If I don’t hit it off with a novel right away – if I’m not feeling ‘it’ – it’ll be difficult to turn that feeling around and, unfortunately, that’s what happened when I started reading The Furies. The fact is that for some reason I didn’t take in some of the narrative in certain paragraphs and I had to go back and reread parts of the story. I believe the reason for this could be because of the lyrical and descriptive writing style and the plot didn’t really capture my attention after the – I must admit – wonderful first chapter. I loved the rich history of the school and how the author broached the Greek mythology in the story but the characters fell flat for me and weren’t all that interesting. The plotline involves four girls (Violet, Robin, Alex and Grace) but in reality there are only two stealing the show which are Robin and ‘Vivi’. These girls have quite a toxic relationship where one is being manipulated by the other and I should maybe have felt for Violet but she didn’t really say or do anything to make me care for her very much. There was even one disturbing scene where she was involved (I might say it merits a trigger warning) and it didn’t sit well with me at all, not her behaviour at the time but I was appalled by her reaction afterwards as well. Let’s just say that her way to deal with a situation was taking revenge with some witchcraft where she should have acted rationally. I do love young adult and have enjoyed many novels in this genre before but I feel this one must be for younger readers. I know I was looking too hard into their actions and struggling with the decision-making in the novel so much I wasn’t able to really enjoy it like I should have. The Furies contains storylines of peer pressure, revenge and assault so it does touch on some interesting and not so easy topics but the girls are naïve and the surface was only scratched for me, I was not able to feel the emotions that such tough subjects could provoke. The Furies reminded me of tv shows as Pretty Little Liars and The Craft, and it does show some similarities so if you really enjoy voodoo-doll and animal sacrifice rituals then you’ll find the storyline to your liking. I think this might work better for me as a tv show.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    In 1998 a sixteen year old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girls murder. After a accident involving her dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet In 1998 a sixteen year old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girls murder. After a accident involving her dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet becomes the fourth member of an advanced study group. Sixteen year old Violet was the only survivor of a car crash that killed her father and sister. She goes to Elm Hollow Academy, a private school for girls, to study for her A levels. She soon meets and becomes friends with Alex, Grace and Robin. The Academy has a history of witchcraft. The girls take extra classes with the art teacher, Annabel, who teaches a few students about art, literature and mythology. The history of Elm Hollow Academy is a place where witches were burnt at the stake. I did not like any of the main characters in this story. I would like to thank NetGalley, HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction and the author Katie Lowe for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    Typical YA novel, with a paranormal witchcraft undertones, The Furies will entertain those who enjoy Pretty Little Liars and Charmed. Katie Lowe's debut novel will have a strong following, but I didn't enjoy the story as much as I wanted to. The Furies centers around Violet, a teenage girl sent to prestigious Elm Hollow Academy, and her interactions with her classmates. She immediately befriends a group of girls and her art teacher Annabel. As Violet's involvement with this new group of Typical YA novel, with a paranormal witchcraft undertones, The Furies will entertain those who enjoy Pretty Little Liars and Charmed. Katie Lowe's debut novel will have a strong following, but I didn't enjoy the story as much as I wanted to. The Furies centers around Violet, a teenage girl sent to prestigious Elm Hollow Academy, and her interactions with her classmates. She immediately befriends a group of girls and her art teacher Annabel. As Violet's involvement with this new group of women grows, so does their devious teachings. The school is rumored to be on a burial ground for sorcery, and maybe, just maybe, Violet will get to see a glimpse of magic herself. She's had a near death experience in the past, so a little bit of magic won't unsettle her—or will it? I feel like the synopsis provides too much information for the reader, so honestly go in blind. The Furies was a little too YA for me to enjoy, and I honestly should just stay away from the genre at this point, but I do think that there's a strong base of readers who will enjoy this book. I wish the story was a little darker, and the dialogue was a little stronger between the characters, but overall the story's pacing was great. As you dive into Violet's adventures at Elm Hollow Academy, the darkness behind the school's peers grows and grows. There are multiple story arcs throughout the novel (murder, deception, sex—to name a few), and by the end of the book, you won't know who to actually root for. The way that The Furies wrapped up the narrative was awesome, and it's left for the reader to decide what will happen next. I can totally see this book be optioned for a television show on The CW.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    Unpopular opinion alert I really was looking forward to diving into this book. It took me way to long to finish this book because I struggled so much. I almost had to force myself certain times to keep reading :(. The characterization was extremely weak in my opinion and this story centers around that! Ugh... no thank you. The story borders on what am I reading to what the heck? I was expecting The Craft vibes with the witchcraft but this was NOTHING like that. I don't think I was the right Unpopular opinion alert I really was looking forward to diving into this book. It took me way to long to finish this book because I struggled so much. I almost had to force myself certain times to keep reading :(. The characterization was extremely weak in my opinion and this story centers around that! Ugh... no thank you. The story borders on what am I reading to what the heck? I was expecting The Craft vibes with the witchcraft but this was NOTHING like that. I don't think I was the right reader for this book at all and feel like there may be many that enjoy this but for me this was a no. 2 stars Thank you so much to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the arc in exchange for an honest review. Publication date: 10/8/19 Published to GR: 9/20/19

  23. 4 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you SO much to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! The Furies by Katie Lowe is an atmospheric read set in a small coastal town at the end of the line. All the lines. Literally. It seems like a very depressed area that has a history of witch hunts and unexplained deaths/murders. At the heart is a school for girls, where Violet is a new student and she ends up falling in with an odd group of girls that are part of a secret Thank you SO much to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! The Furies by Katie Lowe is an atmospheric read set in a small coastal town at the end of the line. All the lines. Literally. It seems like a very depressed area that has a history of witch hunts and unexplained deaths/murders. At the heart is a school for girls, where Violet is a new student and she ends up falling in with an odd group of girls that are part of a secret society. The past mixes with the present as Violet recalls the events of her first year at the school So the good first: I really did enjoy Lowe's writing style. Violet had a detached voice that kind of mirrored the..... ....hell, I'll say it, she's a bit of a sociopath. The whole book had a creepy, depressed, airy tone that her voice did a good job imparting. The other voice that we hear a lot of is the secret society/art teacher, Annabel. She gives us some interesting discourse on the history of the town and school, as well as a critical view of some mythological and literary classics through a feminist lens. The only parts that really lost me were these discourses - yes it is cool to have mini lessons on Chaucer, Dante's Inferno, and others, but it was a bit of a sidetrack. And extensive. Very occasionally it was hard in other places to understand what was happening, but the storyline would pick back up quickly enough. The girls might have good reason to but they took women's empowerment over men to a scary level, including attempting to summon the mythical furies as had their group's predecessors in earlier years. Violet was an at risk teen to start but she seemed way too eager to start smoking, drinking, doing drugs, losing weight, just to fit into this group. None of them were healthy. Otherwise I really loved how the witchcraft history and mythology all tied together in the book. I don't think anyone could have possibly seen that end coming. I would definitely recommend the book if atmospheric, spellcrafty, spooky and slightly psychopathic reads are up your alley!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    2 stars--it was OK. Warnings for sexual assault. The good: This book is set in a girls' school, which I love, and includes a small secret society of students that study women in Classic literature. Awesome! It has a touch of the supernatural, and the overall theme--unstable, witchy teenage girls getting revenge on the (mostly) men who wronged them--is fascinating. Also, this is a quick read. The bad: If you want to read about girls' toxic friendships, Megan Abbott does it better. If you're 2 stars--it was OK. Warnings for sexual assault. The good: This book is set in a girls' school, which I love, and includes a small secret society of students that study women in Classic literature. Awesome! It has a touch of the supernatural, and the overall theme--unstable, witchy teenage girls getting revenge on the (mostly) men who wronged them--is fascinating. Also, this is a quick read. The bad: If you want to read about girls' toxic friendships, Megan Abbott does it better. If you're interested in students doing creepy Greek rituals, nothing tops The Secret History. In other words, this felt derivative. Also, it bothered me that there were no consequences for any of the actions in this book--no one even feels particularly bad about some pretty awful things they do. (Being vague to avoid spoilers!) There's no real police or school investigation, despite multiple mysterious deaths. It was harder to suspend my disbelief over this than over the supernatural elements! And what happened to the (view spoiler)[Dean's cat (hide spoiler)] ? That also really bothers me. I received this review copy from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eve (Between The Bookends)

    This was another book I have been picking up and putting down for the past week. I finally finished it today, and it was just OK. The story was slow moving and on the wordy side, and none of the characters were at all likable. So ya, I really don't have much to say about it other than that... BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | BOOKBUB This was another book I have been picking up and putting down for the past week. I finally finished it today, and it was just OK. The story was slow moving and on the wordy side, and none of the characters were at all likable. So ya, I really don't have much to say about it other than that... BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | BOOKBUB

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Mullane

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY, Katie Lowe!! REVIEW I am teetering somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars with this one, for reasons I will explain, but I feel as bewitched (fitting) by this book now as I did by its premise when I first came across it. Everything about teenager Violet's world is tinged with grey. She lives in a run-down seaside town somewhere in England. Her father and younger sister were recently killed in a car crash, from which Violet emerged as the only survivor. In the accident's aftermath, HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY, Katie Lowe!! REVIEW I am teetering somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars with this one, for reasons I will explain, but I feel as bewitched (fitting) by this book now as I did by its premise when I first came across it. Everything about teenager Violet's world is tinged with grey. She lives in a run-down seaside town somewhere in England. Her father and younger sister were recently killed in a car crash, from which Violet emerged as the only survivor. In the accident's aftermath, Violet's mother has withdrawn into a state of grief and numbness, barely able to function, let alone look after Violet. The atmosphere in the house is melancholy and dark, filthy and silent. An insurance settlement provides Violet with the opportunity to attend a prestigious private girls' school, Elm Hollow Academy. The school is located on the historical site of witch trials where an accused witch was burned in the 17th century. Adding to the school's dark and mysterious allure, a current Elm Hollow student, Emily Frost, has disappeared and is still missing. The backdrop of the school's history and the descriptions of the physical campus set the scene for this eerie and intriguing story and I was immediately drawn into it. Despite her tendency to isolate herself and indulge in her feelings of loneliness, Violet makes the acquaintance of grungy, confident and carefree Robin, who introduces Violet to the rest of her clique: quiet Grace and aloof Alex. Our protagonist is led to experiment with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and older boys, and as her 'pledging' to the small girl-pack intensifies, she learns about witchcraft, going on to secure a spot in a secret and exclusive study group fronted by Annabel, a charismatic and alluring art teacher at Elm Hollow. After a series of events, with her friendships intensifying to the point where she feels trapped, Violet begins to doubt everyone around her as well as lose her own grasp on reality. You might be thinking you've read this story before, right? It feels like a combination of Donna Tartt's The Secret History and spooky thriller "The Craft", with a little hint of the highschool clique-culture of "Mean Girls" thrown in for good measure. This is initially why I was drawn to The Furies; I have a weakness for these kind of female-friendship-led thrillers. However, this novel surprised me with its differences and its uniqueness. The creepy premise is wonderful and if the witchcraft element and disappearance of Emily Frost wasn't enough, the book opens with an unforgettable image of a dead girl found on the grounds of Elm Hollow, dressed all in white and propped on a swing. Violet, now an adult, is looking back on this scene and the night it happened from the present day, before going back in time to relate the events leading up to the murder, beginning with her enrollment in her new school. The story itself is engrossing - in fact, it led me to do some research on witchcraft in the U.K., my assumption being that witch trials were rooted only in the history of Salem and the U.S. The concept is rich and dark, and is brought to life so well by the author. I particularly enjoyed the evocation of the unlovely setting: the sketch of a bleak, crumbling, dilapidated and neglected town, "caked in bird shit and graffiti", "the kind of place people came to die". The characters feel authentic, with Violet, especially, emerging as vivid and engaging. Despite her tendency to fall within the realm of unreliable narrator - is our narrator remembering correctly or merely presenting the traumatising imaginings of a teenage girl, present-day Violet serves as a crucial adult perspective to help us make sense of the past and put us back on track. This novel can be commended for its projection of teenage life and teenage insecurities, which doesn't come as a shock given Katie Lowe's background as an academic and the founder of the Fat Girl PhD blog, through which she writes about health, feminism and body image. The prose is alive with the energy and liberty of adolescence, while also being smeared with the uncertainty, nastiness and grime of it all. And, while the prose can come across as a little overdone at times, the elaborate word play and use of similes and imagery serve to emphasise the visceral and surreal nature of the story. With undercurrents of dread and decay, the atmosphere of this novel reminded me of that of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Despite the sometimes blown-out prose and a brief and fleeting moment in the middle where it seemed like the narrative was going to lull, The Furies is a riveting story of dark magic, obsessive friendship, teenage life and murder. It is dripping with atmosphere and intrigue. I got lost in it from the first page and felt both repulsed and consumed by it. I expect this will be received as a triumphant debut. Bravo, Ms Lowe. (Let's call it 4.5 stars, then.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    I received a free e-copy of The Furies by Katie Lowe from NetGalley for my honest review. Violet, her Dad and sister are in a car crash that only she survives. Violet enrolls in Elm Hollow Academy, which is a private girls school in the town where she lives. She quickly realized that Elm Hollow has a horrible history of 17th century witch trials. She gets involved with a group of girls that introduce her to drugs and alcohol. Violet is excited to have this group of friends because she didn't have I received a free e-copy of The Furies by Katie Lowe from NetGalley for my honest review. Violet, her Dad and sister are in a car crash that only she survives. Violet enrolls in Elm Hollow Academy, which is a private girls school in the town where she lives. She quickly realized that Elm Hollow has a horrible history of 17th century witch trials. She gets involved with a group of girls that introduce her to drugs and alcohol. Violet is excited to have this group of friends because she didn't have any in her previous school. Things start changing when she is invited to be a part of a study group by an art teacher named Annabel. The girls become interested in witchcraft and after a ritual they perform, they are convinced they have summoned The Furies. The furies are part Greek mythology. They were the female underworld deities of vengeance. As Violet gets more involved with the girls, suddenly a missing teenage girl turns up dead. Are these girls responsible? Does she really know who her friends are? I struggled getting into this book. It felt a bit cheesy and YA to me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 4.5 Stars The Furies was one of my most anticipated releases of the second half of the year. I had a review copy of this book for about six months before I finally got to read it and it has been calling to me from my shelf the entire time. After having been disappointed by several of my most anticipated releases recently I was pretty nervous starting this one, but it wound up being absolutely incredible. The Furies You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 4.5 Stars The Furies was one of my most anticipated releases of the second half of the year. I had a review copy of this book for about six months before I finally got to read it and it has been calling to me from my shelf the entire time. After having been disappointed by several of my most anticipated releases recently I was pretty nervous starting this one, but it wound up being absolutely incredible. The Furies is a dark and eerie read that is a perfect choice for the month of October. Since this book was compared to The Craft I had expected Violet to join a coven of witches who did dark spells, while this was similar I don’t know if I would call the girls witches. They studied demonology and things like that and did try out some rituals, but I wouldn’t say the main focus of this book is purely witchcraft. This is a very dark book, with themes of desperation, a lot of drug use and murder. The Furies is a cross between a thriller and a paranormal read that felt entirely real. The characters are what truly brought this book to life. When Violet started at the local private school she was so desperate to have friends that she would do anything to not only have them, but to keep and to fit in with them. She became obsessed with her new friends Robin, Alex and Grace. Robin was my favorite character, probably because she was so flawed and morally grey. All of these characters just felt so real and so relatable regardless of the situations that they were in. I really loved the writing. While the pacing is slower than I typically like I found that I didn’t mind because I didn’t want the story to end. It was character driven rather than plot driven and the characters were so strong that I wish that I could have kept reading about them. My only issue is that there were certain moments in the book, including the climax, that I felt like should have packed more of an emotional punch. While I do understand the author’s choice in having Violet be detached from these events because it made her character feel a little more unhinged, as a reader I felt like it lessened the impact of these huge moments. I still can’t stop thinking about this book. The Furies really made an impact on me and I think a large part of that is because the characters felt so real, but I also think it’s because parts of this book were so dark and chilling. This was the perfect read to start off the spooky season and I can’t wait for others to read and experience this book as well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    *Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I thought this was a well-written YA thriller, aimed at older teens because of the mature themes of drinking, drugs, sex and murder. Violet Taylor starts attending Elm Hollow as a scholarship student after the death of her father and younger sister. She finds it difficult to make friends at first but is thrilled when 'the cool girl' Robin and her two friends, Grace and Alex, take her under their wings. The four of them are invited to join a special class held by *Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I thought this was a well-written YA thriller, aimed at older teens because of the mature themes of drinking, drugs, sex and murder. Violet Taylor starts attending Elm Hollow as a scholarship student after the death of her father and younger sister. She finds it difficult to make friends at first but is thrilled when 'the cool girl' Robin and her two friends, Grace and Alex, take her under their wings. The four of them are invited to join a special class held by their art teacher Annabelle who begins telling them about the early origins of the school, which includes some dabbling in witchcraft. '...women are doomed to two fates. It is our lot to be seen as either unpredictable and irrational mortals, maligned and repressed by the actions of men, or sacred beings, goddesses of a higher realm, among the Fates and the Furies.' When they find a book of spells among Alex's mother's collection, the girls decide to do some experimenting on their own. According to a page in Annabelle's required reading: "'Once summoned, the Furies cannot be sent back, only leave of their own accord. To summon them without due reason, therefore, is to risk a life of torture, the deepest suffering of the human soul.'" The story is told from Violet's first person perspective, looking back on those days now that she is an adult and a dean of students herself. It is almost painful how easily she was led into doing things because of her love for her friend Robin and wanting to be liked by the group. Violet seems unable to say no in many dangerous situations and is pushed to learn what she is capable of doing. Very uncomfortable reading! I received an arc of this Ya thriller from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    Violet joins Elm Hollow after the death of her little sister and father. It's a private girls school that has a history of magic and witchcraft thanks to an association with the 17th century witch trials. Violet finds herself drawn to three girls--Robin, Grace, and Alex. She becomes close with them, particularly Robin, and finds herself invited to an advanced study group led by their art teacher, Annabel, which goes into more depth about the witchcraft practiced at the school so long ago. The Violet joins Elm Hollow after the death of her little sister and father. It's a private girls school that has a history of magic and witchcraft thanks to an association with the 17th century witch trials. Violet finds herself drawn to three girls--Robin, Grace, and Alex. She becomes close with them, particularly Robin, and finds herself invited to an advanced study group led by their art teacher, Annabel, which goes into more depth about the witchcraft practiced at the school so long ago. The girls seem to think the magic is real, and that they can harness it. Always lurking in the background is Emily Frost--Robin's former best friend--who died before Violet came to Elm Hollow. She and Violet look very similar. As time passes, Violet starts to wonder if the witchcraft is real. And what really happened to Emily? The girl is found dead on a swing on a playground on Elm Hollow Academy property--no known cause of death. That's how this novel opens, and then we have Violet, who tells us the story looking back, recounting her time at Elm Hollow. So the story opens dramatically and we know something has terrible happened. And that Violet makes it out okay. "Inconclusive, they said, as though that changed the fact of it, which was this: a sixteen-year-old girl, dead on school property, without a single clue to suggest why or how." This book should be been really good--I'm a sucker for private school tales (I thought it was a boarding school one, as well, but it wasn't)--but it just didn't work for me. I thought about putting it aside several times, but I just couldn't. I need to work on my DNF skills. There is a lot here: two dead girls; witchcraft and the occult; mythology; friendship and coming of age--and none of it feels fully explored. A lot of the book focuses on mythology as Annabel teaches some of it to the girls (I felt myself skimming over that, and I like mythology). There's the focus on witchcraft, but it never seems fully embraced. There's a lot of violence (won't go too far for spoilers) but there are never really any consequences. It's very strange, and honestly, not the sort of YA book I'd encourage for teens. And, then, I just didn't care for these characters. Robin is hateful, and I couldn't form a bond with Violet, our narrator. That would be all well and good if the action was enough to keep my interest, but it wasn't. The book just felt jumbled, and I wasn't interested in picking it up. Even a few late twists didn't really redeem things for me. Lots of others have found the story powerful, however, so if you like mean girls with a side of possible witchcraft, you may enjoy this more. 2 stars. I received a copy of this novel from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for a honest review. It is available 10/08/2019.

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