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.
I enjoyed this the Mayqueen Murders, in spite of some of its shortcomings.
I really liked that it was set in such an isolated community called Rowan’s Glen. It made me want to find some little place in the middle of nowhere to run away to and just read. Maybe go wandering around in the woods and pretend that there are fairies there.
Anyway, the main character, Ivy, did bug me a bit. Actually, tbh, all of the characters bothered me a bit for the most part. Ivy was too reserved and scared all the time, for no real reason (at least not one that I could ever see/understand), and Heather was too the opposite. It’s like Sarah Jude wanted so desperately to show that the girls were different that she made them nothing alike, then sold them as bffs.
And really seriously they weren’t.
I’m pretty sure Heather started the book as sick of Ivy as I got real quick. She never seemed to like Ivy at all, maybe because Ivy was way clingy. Like, I wanted Heather to leave so much just because I wanted her to get away from Ivy as badly as she did on her own.
I really wanted more of Mamie’s stories to be in the book because really there’s nothing that I like better than a good folk tale, especially from somewhere as superstitious as this place was. Like, those would be good y’all. But we don’t get that many of them, and that made me sad. Also, there’s just not enough Mamie in general (nothing is better than a superstitious grandmother, let’s be real).
So anyway, the whole story really starts when animals start being brutally killed.Like, they’re in pieces and not all of them are there, and everything is in a bloody soup when they find the bodies killed. Which really is intriguing because hello, that’s how serial killers start their careers.
Like, they’re in pieces and not all of them are there, and everything is in a bloody soup when they find the bodies killed. Which really is intriguing because hello, that’s how serial killers start their careers.
It doesn’t capture me from there. There’s a story about a man who lives in the woods, Birch Markle, who killed a May Queen years before. And, surprise surprise, the animals begin to be found right around the May Day festival because of course.
Now everyone’s afraid for the girl who will be crowned the May Queen, and superstitions are at an all time high.
With the community as isolated as it was added to the creep factor, and that was a big plus. You also got to see the kids that grew up in Rowan’s Glen interact with the kids at the high school that lived in the city/town nearest. That’s always a fascinating thing for me. It shows, too, that the kids of Rowan’s Glen are kind of stuck there. The other kids won’t accept them, and really kind of shun them. So they’re stuck banding together and really are stuck in the glen without any real option to get out.
And that’s not even mentioning the family pressure that keeps kids from leaving. There’s just so much about tiny communities like this that fascinate me.
There’s a lot that could have been better, but really I think it just needed more.
More time to breathe, to grow, more time spent on really building and maintaining the suspense.
I wish there’d been more time for the story to grow, especially near the end, when everything just was kind of thrown together. It was almost like the end was rushed, like everything needed to come together right now whether or not it was ready to, and it was a little disorienting.
But overall, it was good, and I enjoyed it. I tore through it, and it kept my interest pretty well, and that’s never a bad thing.