Publisher's Note:  

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.  

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

The May Queen Murders

by Sarah Jude

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Overall Review:  

Do you crave a little bit of romance with your suspense? Are you looking for a teen book that feels a little more grown up? This book might be just the thing. Ivy Templeton has lived with her family in a community that is mostly cut off from the rest of society, where outsiders are frowned upon and the woods are off-limits. I've always been intrigued by cults, so these aspects of the book really pulled me in. Something else that is a little different about this book is the focus on May Day. Nowadays we don't pay much attention to it, but to the characters in this book, it is a holiday that holds much meaning and symbolism.

Betrayal, revenge, love, hate--this book has a little bit of everything. I predict that teens will race to get their hands on this novel; I know I was excited to get a copy. The characters were vivid, and I almost felt like I was reading a little bit of history with this book.

This book was dark, but in the very best way. I adored this book. It was so gothic and creepy, but with just enough hope involved that I didn't leave it feeling too depressed. Have you seen the movie "The Village"? If you haven't, I'd recommend it either before or after you read this book. You will see lots of similarities, as I did.

Review of an Advance Reader Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 10 religious exclamations; 30 mild obscenities; 3 religious profanities; 6 derogatory names; 10 scatological words; 4 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  An animal is found dead and it is obvious it has been tortured; a building is burnt with a violent person inside it, the person is implied to die; a character has a missing fingernail--it was bitten off in a fight and bloody; an animal is mentioned to have mauled someone years ago, claw marks mentioned; animals are mentioned to be sacrificed; a young character is attacked by people and scarred in a recollection of a scene; a bird crashes through a window and is injured, someone strangles it to put it out of its misery; a dead animal is found with its head missing; a character comes upon her best friend and the friend looks creepy and garish; a woman gives birth to a stillborn and is reported to have almost died from bleeding out, throws the baby on the fire to dispose of it; an animal is shot and tortured after being chased; a character is mentioned to die from an illness; a character is injured and has their joints popped back in place in one brief detailed scene, a bloody lip is also mentioned to be dripping; a dead character is mentioned to be found by a river; a dead character's body is found stuck in water  and briefly described; a dead character's state of being is mentioned, fingers are mangled like  something was eating them; a character's shirt is mentioned to be stained with blood; a young character suffocates and dies; a minor's best friend is reported to die of poisoned wine; a girl sees someone staring at her outside her window in one brief creepy scene; a minor falls off of a horse after he passes out; a young character spots what she thinks is a dead human body in a field; a descriptive scene of a dead body and bones are mentioned to be found in a sack; a girl tries to injure boy with a rake in self-defense; a minor attacks a boy with a weapon and cuts off his ear, lots of blood is described in the brief scene; a minor is severely injured and thought to be dead; a character talks about how he shot a character and killed him; a character witnesses someone murdering a man by hanging; a minor hits a man in self-defense, uses a stick to gouge at neck in an attempt to injure him.

Sex/Nudity:  A minor sees her best friend nude in a building, sexual activity between the nude girl and an unseen male is implied; minor girls talk about their sexual desires and a minor admits she had sex; minors talk about kissing; a minor boy and girl make out, begin to undress in one brief scene; a woman is mentioned to have been pregnant before marriage; a minor boy undresses a girl and kisses her several times; minors have sex in one brief scene with no detail.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, murder, superstitions, animal cruelty.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults drink; minors drink wine with supervision; pot dealing among minors is mentioned; poisoned wine is served to a minor; minors smoke cigarettes.

Reviewed By Lydia
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