Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

moth girlsHelplessly drawn like moths to the light, two girls go missing in an evocative and gripping tale . . . They called them the Moth Girls because they were attracted to the house. They were drawn to it. Or at least that is what is written in the newspapers that Mandy reads on the anniversary of when her two best friends went missing. Five years have passed since Petra and Tina were determined to explore the dilapidated house on Princess Street. But what started off as a dare ended with the two girls vanishing. As Mandy’s memories of the disappearance of her two friends are ignited once again, disturbing details will resurface in her mind.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting when I opened up Moth Girls, but it definitely wasn’t what I got! The book started on a mysterious note, with the demolition of the old house, which (as said in the blurb provided above) triggered new developments in events with Mandy, one of the protagonists.

Something I was not expecting was the change in perspective, which occurred periodically throughout the book. While the novel started from Mandy’s perspective, it shifted back five years to Tina’s perspective after a short while, and swapped between them over the course of the book. I’m not really a massive fan of this style, but it was necessary, as it was important to follow Mandy’s part of the story – being excluded when she was younger, the disappearance from her point of view, and her renewed efforts to track down Petra – as well as Petra’s. Petra wasn’t a very open character, and so it would have been unbelievable for her to tell Mandy the entire truth, but the reader did need to know the whole story, and not the fabricated, if close to the truth, version of events that Petra gave Mandy.

Another way in which the split perspective worked was that one of the main themes was the idea of exclusion, as Mandy was a new addition to Petra and Tina’s duo. Mandy’s perspective showed her feelings, primarily the raw hurt at being left out and feeling unwanted, but Petra provided another layer to the story, showing how she only really had Tina, and didn’t want to feel usurped as Tina’s best friend when her home life was difficult. This really gave the story depth, and in my opinion, enriched the plot.

For me, Petra’s half of the plot was more action-packed and mysterious, as it also provided the bulk of the answers, and so I found I preferred it to Mandy’s sections. However, there was value in Mandy’s parts, as it showed the impact the incident had on her, despite the five year gap. The book covered issues like domestic violence and guilt, which brings me back to what I said initially, that the book wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a simple mystery, but there was a lot more to it than that. Not a lot of solving went on, as Petra’s part revealed most of it, and instead there was more exploration of feelings.

Overall, Moth Girls wasn’t what I thought it would be, but that didn’t mean I enjoyed it any less! In fact, I liked that it went beyond being a mystery and dealt with emotion too. I would recommend this to anyone who likes books that are mysterious and intriguing but also discuss the way the characters feel.

Moth Girls was published on the 7th of January 2016 by Hot Key Books. You can find out more on Goodreads here, or purchase a copy on Amazon here.

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