Thursday, September 14, 2023

Review: THE UNMAKING OF JUNE FARROW by Adrienne Young


Rating: 5/5 stars

After being pleasantly surprised by Adrienne Young’s Spells for Forgetting, I wanted to give The Unmaking of June Farrow, her newest adult novel, a try. And I’m so glad I did because I liked this one even more! It was incredible. 

June is the last of the Farrow woman, an ancestral line that has been cursed with madness. June’s mother went mad and left her alone as a baby, and June just witnessed her grandmother’s death after she fully succumbed to the madness. And now June is next. She knows what’s in store for her, but that doesn’t make her any more prepared when she starts seeing objects that aren’t real and hearing people talk who were never there. 

June’s slow descent into madness makes her quite the unreliable narrator—you can never be sure if what she’s experiencing is real or not. But I still loved her. I thought the characterization in this novel was done well. 

Magical realism doesn’t usually work for me: I want something either realistic or fantastical, not somewhere in between. Yet I have loved both of Adrienne Young’s magical realism novels that I’ve read. Her writing style is really suited to this subgenre, and the small town setting with a mysterious history and some soft magic makes her stories work rather well. It also probably helps that her stories lean more toward the magical side than the realism side, which I enjoy. 

I was really drawn into this narrative and had a hard time putting the book down. I found it easy to connect to the characters and fall in love with Jasper, North Carolina as I was drawn deeper and deeper into its history. I really can’t say any more about this novel, though, as I don’t want to spoil anything, and I feel like adding any other details about the setting or the characters or the madness would be a potential spoiler. I went into this book blind, having read only the words on the cover of the book before picking it up, and that’s what I would recommend. The more you know, the less exciting the reveals in the story will be, in my opinion. 

I’m a fan of Young’s adult novels and will read any she writes in the future. The Unmaking of June Farrow is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It’s an excellent read for a cozy autumn day, and if you enjoyed Spells for Forgetting then you will likely enjoy this one as well. 

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