Wren is a teenage girl living an isolated life with her parents in rural West Virginia, where her father works as a minister and snake tamer. A tragic accident involving her mother’s best friend leads Wren to learn more about her mother’s past and the community where they grew up. The story is often bleak, but it is balanced by the beautiful writing and characters. If you enjoy stories like Winter’s Bone or Educated, you may like this one.
“This gorgeously written, plot-rich novel examines the complex lives of these five beautifully realized characters . . . Being set in Appalachia, it is no surprise that the novel is also about story and its gradual morphing into legend . . . This memorable first novel is exceptional in its power and imagination. It’s clearly a must-read.”— Booklist (Starred Review)
“In spare yet lyrical prose, Amy Jo Burns brings to life a brutal landscape and its dangerous, alluring inhabitants. A haunting glimpse into a strange, mystical world with its own laws and customs, filled with fiercely independent people, this novel combines a memoir-like intimacy with the mythic power of a fable. Burns is a writer to be watched.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 NYT bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World
“Wren’s engaging, convincing voice leads the reader through her strange world. A teenage girl is the strong center of a fever-dream story of hidden pasts.” – Kirkus (Starred Review)