“Sometimes you gotta face danger to find what you’re looking for.” ― Sarah Jude, The May Queen Murders
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.
Eden: I read this book in a few hours. It was a good debut novel for Jude and I think overall I liked it. However, I would have liked The May Queen Murders more had the pacing been a bit faster. I was bored for about the first 150 pages and was quite literally rooting for one or the main supporting characters death the entire time. Overall I gave the book 3/5 stars. I may not have been a massive fan of the book but I am excited to see what else Jude does.
Caitlynn: This book was pretty entertaining once you got into the thick of things, but there was a lot of lead-up to it that I didn’t care for too much. I enjoyed the relationships that everyone had, but besides that the story just felt long and too dragged out for my tastes. I’m excited to see what else Jude has to offer with this being her debut novel. I gave it 3/5 stars.
Jenn: This book was not what I expected. It had a much darker story line than expected as well. All together this book was ok. I feel as though Jude really got into her style and flow towards the end of the book. The pace was really kicked up and I enjoyed it a lot more towards the end. I’m excited to read more by Sarah Jude. 3.5 stars overall.
Eden: I don’t have a whole lot of thoughts on the book… I thought it was kind of boring, if I’m being totally honest.
Caitlynn: Me too…
Jenn: I had a hard time getting into it, but towards the end, I started to enjoy it more because more things were happening. Like after the murders happened, it picked up the pace.
C: I agree, but then it was like all of this is happening in like 40 pages out of the 228 that is in the book. There was so much lead-up for everything to finish so quickly.
E: Yeah, I got tired of reading it. I read 200 pages in one sitting and decided to go to bed because nothing was happening. I finished it this morning and more happened after she died and everything but it was still not something I was super pumped about.
C: It could have been worse definitely. This book reminded me a lot of Kara Thomas’ The Darkest Corners but I think I liked that one a little more.
E: Yeah, that one was definitely better.
C: Ivy felt so boring to me…
E: Yes, Heather was interesting but I wanted her to die the entire time.
C: Exactly! Why you gotta be such a bitch?!
E: Right? “S-s-s-top s-s-s-s-stuttering!”
C: Ugh, such a bitch move!
E: I didn’t understand how Heather didn’t think Ivy would understand what was going on with her. Ivy described their relationship as so supportive and knowing each other for their entire lives… I don’t accept that.
C: Yes, Ivy’s version of the relationship was so much different than how they acted towards each other.
E: Jenn and I were talking about Ivy and how she was the embodiment of what that community is meant to be… love, acceptance, and all the good things, but beneath it all is a simmering anger. Everyone in the community felt angry about something…
C: The “town’s folk” coming in…
E: Yeah, or somebody in the community doing them wrong.
C: This was just a very meh book for me.
E: I pushed through it really fast to try and get it over and done with. I think that’s a good way to describe how the book reads, you just don’t care.
E, cont.: Also, did you have a hunch about August at all?
C: No way! I thought at the most maybe he would do something bad to Ivy or Rook because I thought he liked Ivy after the acorn necklace incident.
E: When they found out about August there was no surprise there for me!
C: Of course I was surprised, you know I don’t notice anything.
C, cont.: I was really sad about Violet dying.
E: I wasn’t, I thought Violet was crazy. When they went chasing after Milo and she was intent on making him pay, I really thought she was crazy.
C: That was the only thing that I felt like “aww, this sucks…”
E: Then you find out about all the crazy stuff that August and Violet planned and I was like yup, she’s definitely crazy.
C: At that point in the book, I was just like ok… too many twists and turns.
E: I was definitely over the twists and turns. You get to a point where there’s too many!
C: Wasn’t expecting Marsh, kinda was, kinda wasn’t… but then the Sheriff totally threw me through a loop.
E: Jenn and I were talking about Rook and we were really hoping he would have been a part of it in some way.
J: I was hoping her dad was the murderer.
C: Really? I felt like she already had enough going on… that poor Ivy.
E: I was hoping that when she was blacking out, she was going and doing crazy shit like skinning animals.
E, cont.: I will say, I really liked the part where Ivy saw Heather and she had her mouth cut open… For some reason I really liked that… after that not so much.
C: I was expecting the second half of the book after the May Day to be just looking for Heather the whole time, so I’m glad they found her pretty quickly.
E: Overall rating?
J: 3 stars.
E: 3 for me as well.
C: I was thinking the same thing.
J: I liked it once Jude got into the prime of the story, so I’ll definitely read what she writes next but it just wasn’t my favorite.
E: This is a pretty good debut novel which impressed me. I’m excited to see what else she comes out with.
C: Someone asked her if there would be a May Queen 2 and she was kind of like… mmm, no.
E: What’s that one about? Rook’s taken up after his father.
C: Rook has killed everyone in Rowan’s Glen and he’s living their alone now.
E: I don’t understand how she wanted to stay there so adamantly!